It’s a question we come across a lot. Maybe you have a beautiful deck with a stunning natural wood finish that consistently reminds you of the good old days. You even once swore that there’s nothing you’d change about it.

However, lately, the deck looks a little pale. It’s not as striking as before, and you can easily tell that it’s the result of age. Or, perhaps you recently redid the house, and now the deck sticks out like a sore thumb. So now you’re wondering whether you can change the color of the composite decking.

Can You Change the Color of Composite Decking

Yes, but the biggest challenge to painting composite decking is that paint doesn’t stick on composite decking very well. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about that aging deck. With a bit of caution, you can paint or stain the deck to protect the underlying wood and breathe new life into the surface.

Read on to find out how to change the color of your composite decking through painting or staining.

Before You Begin…

There are a few things to consider before you begin. The following three considerations are particularly vital;

  • The age of the composite decking: Ideally, you should only paint or stain older, worn decks or what industry pros call first-generation composite decking. Newer decks, like the ones made by Heartland Decks the best composite deck builders in Kansas City, are complicated to paint/stain.
  • Choose your paint/stain carefully: We often paint or stain composite decks to match the reigning theme. So, choose a color or stain that best fits into the application. A test application on a small section of the composite decking can help you determine whether you have the right paint/stain.
  • Consider the weather: Moisture and rain are two of the worst enemies of composite decking. For this reason, it’s best to wait until you’re sure that there won’t be rain or excessive moisture for the next few days.

What You’ll Need

  • Outdoor paint or stain
  • Primer
  • Paint roller/sprayer
  • Pressure washer
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Vinegar and baking powder

How to Paint Composite Decking

Painting is the better solution when solely concerned with changing the color of your composite decking. Fortunately, painting a composite decking is a straightforward process. The following is a step-by-step guide to get the job done.

1. Protect the plants

You don’t want to damage your plants because of a 30-minute update job. Florists of global flower service advise to put them aside or cover them with canvas to protect them from the paint. Alternatively, use a plastic drop cloth.

2. Clean the deck

This is where real work begins. Use soapy water and a low-pressure power washer to flush debris and dirt off the deck’s surface. You can also use a soft-bristled brush. However, if the surface has mildew or mold signs, use a two-part vinegar and one-part water solution. Once you’re done cleaning, rinse the entire surface with clean water, wipe it with a dry cloth, and allow it to dry.

3. Sand the surface

After cleaning, the next step is to sand the decking surface, so that paint or stain sticks on it properly. We recommend 22-240 grit sandpapers. Hold the sandpaper tightly within your palm and sand along the grain to de-gloss the surface and smooth the planks. Then wipe the surface with a broom and wash it with clean water again.

4. Prime it for painting

We recommend acrylic latex-based exterior primers such as Valspar Multi-Purpose Water-Based Primer for this process. Pour the primer into your roller tray and apply gently along the length of the planks. Then wait at least two hours for the primer to dry.

5. Paint the deck

Now, you can pour the composite deck paint into the roller tray and get to work. Apply gently, working from one end to the other. Then, let the first coat dry (it can take up to an hour) before applying the second coat. Then, again, wait about an hour for the paint to dry.

How to Stain your Composite Decking

The staining process is pretty much the same as painting, except you don’t need to sand or apply primer when preparing the surface. Proceed as follows once you have the required tools and materials;

1. Cover nearby plants/furniture

You can cover the plants and furniture using a canvas. However, it would be even better if you could temporarily relocate them.

2. Clean the surface

Cleaning the deck before staining helps remove dirt, debris, mildew, and other elements to enhance adhesion and ensure a smooth finish. You can use a homemade cleaning solution or get a specialty composite deck cleaner such as BEHR Premium All-in-One Wood Cleaner from the store. After cleaning, wipe the surface and allow it to dry.

3. Apply the stain

Begin by stirring the stain solution thoroughly to ensure that it’s evenly mixed from top to bottom. Then use either a pad applicator, roller, or soft-bristled brush to apply it evenly throughout the decking.

Once done, wait about half an hour, then apply a second coat of stain or composite deck finish. You can also apply both. Just remember that the composite deck finish comes last. Then, again, wait at least half an hour for the surface to dry.


Now you know that you can change the color of your composite decking through painting or staining. You also know how to paint or stain your composite deck. However, as usual, we must stress the professional advantage. Never hesitate to hire a professional if you’re not very confident in your DIY skills.

Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones, a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Landscape Architecture, has been an authority on decking design and materials for over 9 years. He joined our team as a freelancer in 2019, sharing his expertise in sustainable decking solutions, outdoor aesthetics, and functional design. He has provided insights into deck construction, material longevity, and safety standards. Matthew's prior roles include working with architectural firms on residential outdoor projects. He is an avid birdwatcher and enjoys participating in local environmental conservation efforts.

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