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Can You Paint Composite Decking? All You Need to Know

4 April 2024

Older types of wooden decking can sometimes become tired and shabby over the years – and a fresh coat of paint is a good way to give it a new lease of life. Composite decking, on the other hand, is designed to be more durable, so it’ll retain its fresh look even with heavy use and exposure to the elements. But can you paint it?

 

In short, there is no need to paint modern and high-quality decking because it is manufactured with a PVC cap or shell which protects it against damage and gives it its long life. However, older and uncapped deck boards, which may have faded or changed colour over time, can normally be painted. Keep in mind that painting your composite decking may void your warranty.

 

This guide explains all you need to know if you’re thinking about painting your composite decking, including how to get the best finish.

 

What We'll Cover:

What is Composite Decking?

Composite decking is a superior-quality, eco-friendly and durable alternative to traditional wooden decking. One reason it’s a popular choice is because it doesn’t need staining, sealing or painting unlike timber decking.

 

It combines reclaimed wood fibres and plastic composites, creating strong, consistent and stable deck boards. Composite decking offers many benefits – it’s anti-slip, resistant to fading, scratches, chips, fading, rotting and mould.

Composite Decking Colours

Composite decking comes in a range of colours to suit your preferences and vision for your garden – and choosing one is an exciting step. Think about your planting scheme, outdoor furniture, and what will compliment the size of your garden – that way you’ll be less likely to want to paint it in the future.

Eurocell’s composite decking colour family includes grey, black, brown, and beige. With a mighty 14 shades to choose from, you will definitely find an option to suit your garden’s vibe.

Things To Consider Before Painting

Composite decking is visually stunning, and you don’t need to paint or stain it to maintain it. The polymer sleeve is a wonderful addition because it protects it from scratches, chipping or rotting which enhances its durability and gives it its long lifespan.

 

If you do decide to paint your decking, consider the following:

Capped or uncapped?

 

Composite decking is available in two forms – capped and uncapped.

 

The surface of capped decking is coated in PVC which makes it suitable for use outdoors regardless of the weather. It also protects it against rotting, stains and fading, so you don't need to paint it. What’s more, if you do paint it, it’s likely to flake off.

 

Uncapped decking, also known as first generation, doesn’t have a protective layer which means it is more prone to damage from the weather, sun, or general wear and tear. The colour can also fade faster. You can generally paint uncapped decking.

 

To find out if your decking is capped or uncapped, check the edge of the deck boards to see whether there is a thin layer on top. Another clue is it tends to be smoother, more vibrant and uniform in colour. If you’re unsure or have any doubts, check with your manufacturer or the product information booklet.

 

Warranty

If you paint your composite decking, you may be voiding the warranty. Eurocell composite decking comes with a 20-25 year guarantee depending on the product, and because it lasts so long, painting it can do more harm than good. If you do claim on the warranty, the manufacturer will inspect the decking beforehand.

Can you avoid painting it?

Taking care of your composite decking goes a long way to maintaining its colour. You only need to clean it once or twice a year, but regular sweeping can help prevent staining from leaves or debris, which can in turn prevent unsightly mould or mildew.

If you do see surface stains, clean it with a soft bristled brush and washing up liquid. Cleaning can keep it looking fresh and in some cases, return it to a brand new state.

 

Know that it won’t be a one-off

 

Painting your decking means committing to painting it every two to three years. You will also need to paint it meticulously to avoid it looking messy or uneven. Bear in mind that you will need suitable decking paint, which can be costly especially in the long run.

How to Paint your Composite Decking: Step by Step

You will need:

 

  • Soft bristled brush
  • Washing up liquid
  • Bucket of water or hose
  • 240 grit sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Exterior decking paint
  • Paintbrush, roller or sponge

 

Step 1: Prepare your Decking

Following our composite decking cleaning guide, create a mixture of soapy water and use a soft bristled brush to clean your decking. Make sure you get in all the nooks and crannies, and avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach.

 

Once your decking is completely dry, gently sand the boards. Be sure to do this evenly and with a soft touch so you don’t erase the grain pattern. Working in sections will make it easier.

 

Once your deck is sanded, use your cleaning equipment to get rid of the dust. Finally, wash the deck with water and wait for it to dry.

Step 2: Add a Coat of Primer

 

Priming your deck is important. Primer can make the paint last longer because it provides a sticky surface for it to adhere to. An acrylic-latex primer designed for decking is recommended because it dries quickly and is suitable for use outdoors.

 

Using a brush or roller, apply the primer to the surface of the decking following the length of the board. Make sure you apply it to any corners or hard to reach areas, and then leave it to dry.

 

Step 3: Get Painting

 

Once your deck is prepared, you can start painting it. It’s important that you do this in a clean and organised way so you get a nice and even finish.

 

You can use your roller or paintbrush and apply it the same way you did the primer – alongside the length of the board. You may have to apply two coats, so if this is the case make sure the first coat is fully dry.

 

Step 4: Accessorise

 

Once your paint is dry, it’s time to accessorise your space. When choosing furniture, it’s best to go for a material that’s weather resistant, comfortable and long lasting – that might mean avoiding white because any dirt or stains can be more obvious especially if you live in a wet climate.

 

Weigh up the benefits vs maintenance of your accessories, and how often you might have to replace them. You may choose to upcycle your existing furniture or you might have ordered a new rug or plant pot to match with the new shade of decking, whatever your situation – fashion it to your liking.

Find out more about Eurocell’s range of composite decking

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