You may have chosen composite decking for its perfect look and long-lasting life. But after years of use and exposure to the elements, your deck may develop some imperfections. So a common question homeowners ask is, can composite decking be painted?

The short answer is yes, but it depends on the situation. You can safely paint and stain old, uncapped composite decks. However, modern composite boards often have polymer caps, which make the decks less maintenance intensive and effectively prevent fading. Therefore you should not paint or stain them. Even on older decks, painting the deck may void the warranty. And it will greatly increase maintenance needs, as you will need to repaint the deck regularly.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at painting composite decking. And explore the do’s and don’ts and best practices of deck painting.

Considerations before painting composite decks

You won’t be able to paint every composite decking because modern boards often have polymer caps. the caps do a great job of protecting the decking from weathering and rotting. Older composite material, on the other hand, usually does not have caps and therefore may absorb paint well.

You need to inspect your deck before you are ready to paint it. Look at the product details or the cut end of the deck to see if it has a polymer cap. Capping is usually three or four sided and wraps completely around your deck. In operation check the deck for signs of damage. Check for swelling, cracking and splitting and repair as necessary. Make sure composite deck boards are in good overall structural shape.

Composite deck generally does not require painting to maintain its integrity and aesthetics. It is designed with low maintenance needs in mind, so painting the deck is strictly an aesthetic option. And over time, paint may fade or flake, increasing maintenance needs and costs.

Surface preparation

Proper surface preparation is key to a successful deck painting job. Make sure to thoroughly clean the deck surface to remove dirt, debris and any existing coatings.

Choosing the right paint

Choose a high-quality acrylic latex paint designed for outdoor decks that is compatible with composite material. Avoid oil-based paints, which may not adhere well to composite material surfaces.


Before painting the entire deck surface, it is recommended to test the paint in a small, inconspicuous area. Make sure the paint is compatible and adheres well. Additionally, using a primer before painting will help improve the adhesion and durability of the paint.


Keep in mind that painted composite wood decking requires more frequent maintenance and care. Regularly inspect painted surfaces for signs of wear, fading or flaking. Touch up the paint as it wears and fades to maintain its appearance and protection.

How to paint uncapped composite decking

There are a few items you’ll need to prepare before you start painting:

  • Composite decking paint (follow manufacturer’s guidelines)
  • Primer
  • Roller brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Cleaning brush

Cleaning the deck

Your first step is to deep clean your deck. Remove all furniture and decorations from your deck and remove debris from the surface. Use a cleaning tool to remove leaves and debris stuck in the cracks of your deck. Next check the manufacturer’s cleaning guide and follow its cleaning instructions. Use a deck brush, cleaner water to scrub the surface of the deck. Make sure the deck is completely dry after rinsing.

Sanding the deck (optional)

Once the deck is completely dry, use sandpaper to manually sand the surface of the deck. This will create a slightly rougher texture on the surface of the deck so that the paint will adhere better. It is important to note that sanding may affect the existing grain or non-slip coating. So please assess whether your deck surface is sandable before sanding. Use a broom and leaf blower to remove dust and debris from the surface after sanding.

Applying primer

Begin by using a brush to apply latex primer to all crevices in the deck surface. Then use a roller to apply a full coat to the deck for a smooth, even finish. Follow the primer manufacturer’s guidelines for application and allow the surface to dry completely.

Paint the deck

Ready to paint your composite decks to give them a new look? Use a roller to apply an even coat of paint to the surface of the deck, then cover the details with a brush. Apply a second coat as needed and allow the paint to dry completely. Add deck furniture and enjoy your outdoor deck after the paint is completely dry.

Sealing (optional)

You may choose to apply a sealer after the paint dries to improve the durability and performance of your deck. Consult your paint manufacturer for sealer recommendations.

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