Painting composite decks: 6 Useful Question, Seattle, WA

Painting Composite Decks: 6 Common Questions Deck Seattle

Painting composite decks are considered wasteful. People think that wood deck is another material that is better on their own. Let Decking Pros NW – Deck Builder in Seattle help you answer some of the most common questions about painting composite decks.

I. What is Composite Decking – Seattle Deck Contractor

Composite decks are wonderful because they need so little upkeep. While painting composite decks is not necessary, it can be done if you want to make a change and are prepared to keep up with the required maintenance.

>>> Read more: 6 Types of Common Natural Wood

painting composite decks

Be aware that composite decking is not the same as plastic decking. Because it contains no organic ingredients, plastic decking (also known as PVC decking or PVC lumber) cannot be classified as composite decking. The use of plastic decking is outside the scope of this discussion.

The use of real wood is one of the primary components in painting composite decks. The timber utilized is a byproduct of the woodworking industry and is either wood fibers or sawdust. An organic and inorganic composite is created when these fibers are combined with various resins and polymers.

>>> Read more: What is Composite Decking

II. Should You Painting Composite Decks – Deck Builders Seattle WA

The surface of certain modern painting composite decks options is finished differently than older composites, not all composite decking requires painting. Most composite decks can receive paint, but not those with certain finishes.

Cleaning the deck and treating any spots where mildew has grown is essential. Don’t try to get done cleaning in a hurry. It lays the groundwork for a long-lasting paint job.

Dry the deck off after cleaning it with water and composite-deck-safe soap. Then, use sandpaper with a grit size of 240 on it. When you’re done sanding, give the deck another good washing to get rid of the dust. Wait until it’s dry, then prime it with a product made for use on decks. Once everything is dried, you may apply your deck’s outside paint.

Painting composite decks are wonderful because they need so little upkeep. While painting a composite deck is not necessary, it can be done if you want to make a change and are prepared to keep up with the required maintenance.

III. Should You Stain Composite Decking – Deck Contractor Seattle

>>> Read more: How to Stain Your Deck Surface

Staining composite decking is another option, and it is frequently preferable to painting the surface. The decking material must not be capped in order for the composite deck stain to be effective. If there is a layer of PVC or another plastic substance that acts as a cap over the wood fibers, the stain will not be able to enter the wood.

For example, older Trex decking that has not been capped is susceptible to staining. You can stain a non-capped composite deck with the same kind of stain that you would use on a typical wood deck. To properly apply the stain, you must first prepare the surface, and then, if required, prime it. The instructions should be followed as if you had a wood deck.

Stains made with oil are the best option for non-capped decking made of wood or composite material. They are more effective at penetrating the board, protecting against damage caused by rain and ultraviolet light, and lasting longer than water- or acrylic-based stains. They are more toxic to work with, but considering that you will be staining outside, this is less of a concern.

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IV. Should You Either Paint or Stain Deck Boards – Deck Repair Seattle

As opposed to painting composite decks, staining gives you more flexibility in terms of color and finish. Premium acrylic latex paint is the best option. However, it’s not a paint made for composite decking. Contrarily, composites can be stained with certain products. Since this is the case, staining is favored.

If your decking is made to seem like wood but is actually made of synthetic material, covering it with paint will make the wood grain invisible. And it’s the only way to make adjustments to capped composite decking. Capped decking can’t be stained, so painting it with exterior latex acrylic paint is your only option for sprucing it up.

Most paints include more solids than other finishes because they rely on tiny pigment particles to impart color and reflect light. In general, more solids mean longer-lasting paint. The durability of paint, however, can be affected by factors such as exposure to the elements, ultraviolet light, and foot activity.

Keep in mind that just because paint is “thicker,” meaning it contains more solids, that doesn’t mean it won’t react differently to things like weather, ultraviolet light, and foot traffic. Composites have a superficial coat of paint, but stains eat right through it. Despite its apparent lack of thickness, a penetrating stain offers superior protection to the wood in harsh outside conditions.

Painting capped composite decking requires careful surface preparation and consideration of the final paint color. Very high solids content paints or textured paints are both viable options for use in harsh outdoor conditions.

VI. How Long Can Your Deck Stain Last?

According to reviews left by customers, quality oil-based stains can last for three years before they need to be completely contained or retouched. It is common for stains based on oil to fade slightly more quickly than stains based on water; therefore, you shouldn’t expect them to last significantly longer.

It is reasonable to anticipate that the lifespan of a composite surface will be shorter in regions with higher levels of foot traffic or in climates that are more humid. When exposed to constant sunshine, composite surfaces, such as those found on cars, will degrade in a period of time shorter than three years.

Keep in mind that the surface of your deck is extremely inhospitable to stains and paints. Because of this, even though three years may seem like a little amount of time, you should still make appropriate preparations. Because it is a level surface that is located outside, it is exposed to a variety of elements, including the sun, wind, falling leaves, and snow, as well as foot traffic. There is no such thing as a deck stain that will last forever.

VII. Prepare for Staining or Painting Your Deck – Deck Builders Kent WA

>>> Read more: Deck Stain Brand We Recommended

Step 1: Clean Your Deck Surface Properly

Scrub the surface of the deck. For the most part, all that is required to clean your capped composite deck boards is some mild soap and water, along with a soft bristle brush. If you have non-capped composites, then you can use any kind of deck cleaning that is available for purchase in the market today.

Make an effort to clean with the substance that corresponds to the color of the stain or paint you intend to apply. To make sure you get the most out of any warranty the product has to offer, make sure to follow the recommendations in the letter.

Step 2: Use Power Washer

To clean the surface of the deck, a pressure washer should be used. If the pressure is applied with too much force, this step may be discouraged by the manufacturer of the stain or paint you are using since it has the potential to harm the wood fibers and cause them to become exposed. On the other hand, if you use a power washer with a low setting, you can remove tenacious dirt, mildew, and other stains that will prevent your preferred paint and stain from adhering properly.


Before attempting to cover up any dirt or stains, it is essential to remove them first. Dirt that is coated by stain will not offer the necessary adhesion to the stain product, which will result in peeling in that area. It is considerably more worthwhile to take the risk of power washing in order to remove dirt and stains than it is to forego power washing entirely.

Step 3: Smooth the Composite Decking Materials

Sand the surface with sandpaper that has a coarse grit rating. When sanding capped composites, it is still best to use sandpaper with a grain size of 220, as this is the recommendation. If you give the surface a light sanding, it will make it simpler for the paint to adhere and will also allow stains to penetrate more deeply.

When sanding, do not use a belt sander. When you do this, there is a possibility that the polymers included within the composite will melt, and there is also a possibility that the composite boards would deteriorate. To achieve a consistent feel across the entirety of your deck, use a slow-moving orbital sander on all of its surfaces. If you stay in one location for an extended amount of time, there is a chance that you will destroy your planks.

Step 4: Apply a Primer Coat

If necessary, begin by priming. The vast majority of stains do not require any kind of primer because they are self-priming. Oil-based stains, despite the fact that they require cleaning chemicals, do not require a primer since oil-based stains depend on penetration, which primers would impede.


Some water-based solid color stains may require a primer, however, even if this is the case, any kind of wood grain, even an imitation one, will be concealed by the stain. Priming your composite surface before painting may be necessary, but a good number of brands are considered “self-priming.” Investing in an exterior paint that does not require priming beforehand will save you time and money in the long run.

>>> Read more: How to Apply Primer to Your Deck

Step 5: Apply Your Deck Stain or Paint


After the composite deck has been thoroughly primed, you will need to apply a stain to the composite deck that is of a high grade. Before applying, you need to make sure the stain has been completely mixed. You also need to ensure that all of the stain contained in the product is uniformly distributed throughout the stain.

If you decide to utilize paint, you should make sure to use an exterior latex finish of the highest possible quality. In the event that you would want to apply an oil-based solution on top of the latex coating, you should exercise caution because doing so may cause the oil coating to develop cracks, which would detract from the overall aesthetic of the deck.

Following the instructions on the product label, you can next apply a coat of composite deck finish after you have completed the staining. After about half an hour has passed, take a brush or a roller and remove any pooling of excess stain or finish that has occurred on the surface of the Trex or composite deck. In the event that you do not remove the extra paint or stain, you will find patches on the surface of the deck that are sticky and shiny.

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