How to Remove Paint From Composite Decking? (Cleaning Stain Easily)

remove paint composite decking

Composite decking is made from a mix of wood fibers and plastic and is popular for its durability and stain resistance. You, like many homeowners, choose composite decking due to the fact that it requires less maintenance than traditional wood decks. 

While composite decking is stain resistant, it is not immune to staining. The best way to prevent staining on your composite deck is to clean it regularly with soap and water. If you do not clean your composite deck, dirt and debris can build up over time and cause stains. 

So, how to remove stains from composite decking? There are several ways to remove them. The simplest thing is to use a power washer, scrub the stain with a brush or cleaning solution, or sand the stain away.

But how about removing paint? It’s not an easy task to remove it from the deck, like what we did with cleaning stains. They need special treatment using cleaning agents to remove the paint without causing damage to the composite deck’s surface or color.

So, continue reading to find simple and easy things to do to remove paint and stains from your composite decking. In addition to that, we will talk about popular paint removers like paint thinner or acetone. Are they safe and can they be used to remove paint from decking?

The Advantages of Composite Decking Compared to Wood Decking

Composite decking is a popular choice for many homeowners. There are several advantages to using composite decking compared to wood decking.

Some of the advantages of composite decking include: 

  • Low Maintenance: Composite decking is made of man-made materials that are resistant to rot, mold, and mildew. This implies you will not need to spend time and money on maintenance and repairs.
  • Durable: Composite decking is designed to last. It is a durable material that will not fade, splinter, or warp over time. 
  • Eco-friendly: Composite decking is made from recycled materials, making it an earth-friendly choice.
  • Versatile: Composite decking can be used in a variety of ways in your home.

Can Composite Decking Colors Fade?

decking colors fade
Decking color fading, mostly due to sunlight exposure

Composite decking can lose its luster over time as the color fades. This happened mostly due to exposure to direct sunlight.

With a little effort, you can have your composite deck looking like new again in no time.

You can paint composite decking, but it is not necessary. The material is already very durable and weather-resistant. If you do decide to paint your composite decking, be sure to use a high-quality exterior paint. 

If your composite deck is looking faded, you can repaint it to restore its original color. You’ll need to use a specialised composite decking paint and prepare the surface properly before painting. 

Paint or Repaint Composite Decking

If you’re considering composite decking for your home, one of the key questions you may be asking is whether or not it’s easy to paint. The answer is yes and no. 

For the earlier generations of composite decking, you can paint them, but not so for the newer generation.

One downside of composite decking is that it can be more difficult to paint than traditional wood. Composite decking is difficult to paint because it’s made of a combination of wood and plastic (PVC).

The wood fibers make the surface rough, and the plastic (PVC) cap or shell, which protects the outer layer, makes it difficult for paint to adhere

If you attempt to paint or stain capped composite decking, you will likely lose the guarantee.

You can still paint your early generation of composite decking. If you decide to paint your composite deck, be prepared for the project to take longer than expected and for the paint job to be less than perfect.

But with the right preparation and primer, you can achieve good results. Prime your decking planks using an acrylic latex exterior primer. For best results, be sure to use a high-quality exterior paint and apply paint by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

The Easiest Way To Clean A Deck

Composite decking is easy to care for and clean. To clean them, you will need a deck cleaner (or mild soap), hot water, and a soft bristle brush.

  • To start, mix your deck cleaner with hot water according to the instructions on the bottle. Substitute deck cleaner with liquid mild soap if you dont have any. 
  • Then, using your soft bristle brush, scrub the surface of your composite decking. Be sure to go with the grain of the wood and not against it. 
  • Rinse your composite decking with hot water after you have finished scrubbing it down.
  • Once you have rinsed away all of the soap suds, allow your composite decking to air dry or dry it off with a towel.

How to Remove Paint From Composite Decking

Composite decking is the easiest type of decking to clean and remove paint or stain from. This is because the material is non-porous and does not absorb liquids like other types of decking materials.

To clean your composite deck from deck paint, simply use a hose or pressure washer with soap and water. For tough stains, you may need to use a power washer with a detergent designed for composite decking.

Dirt or mud can be cleaned off with a pressure washer that has a fan attachment or adjustment and a soap dispenser.

The use of a pressure washer above 3100 psi has the potential to harm the boards and void the warranty.

Removing persistent stains and paint stains from its surface will require more steps. Follow these simple methods below to make sure your deck is clean.

  1. First, identify the type of paint that is on the composite decking. Water-based latex paint is easier to remove than oil-based paint. If you’re unsure of the type of paint, test a small area with denatured alcohol.
  2. If the paint is water-based, start by soaking a rag in white vinegar and water. Apply the soaked rag to the painted area of the composite decking and let it sit for 15 minutes. 
  3. After 15 minutes, use a putty knife to scrape off the loosened paint. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as necessary until all of the paint is removed from the composite decking.
  4. If the paint is oil-based,you’ll need to use a chemical stripper. Apply the stripper with a brush and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before scraping it off with a putty knife or power washer. 
  5. Once the paint stain is removed, you can touch up any bare spots with the appropriate paint color.
  6. If you want to make your composite deck look like new again, try using a stain and sealer kit.

Can You Use Paint Thinner and Acetone on Composite Decking?

Yes, you can use paint thinner and acetone to remove paint and stain from decking. Both are strong solvents that can remove paint, stains, varnish, and other finishes from composite decking. You should be cautious about using both. They can damage your deck if used incorrectly.

It is important to avoid using these solvents on areas that will be exposed to direct sunlight, as they can cause the decking to fade.

With the right tools and products, it can be a breeze to clean with paint thinner and acetone. 

  1. First, you will need to gather your supplies. You will need a hose, a bucket, soap, water, and paint thinner or acetone. 
  2. Next, you will want to mix the soap and water together in the bucket. 
  3. Once mixed, use the hose to wet down your composite decking. 
  4. After it is wet, apply the acetone or paint thinner to a small area of the deck and scrub with a brush. 
  5. To remove paint from a certain spot of composite decking, start by scrubbing the area with a stiff brush to loosen the paint. 
  6. Repeat this process until the entire deck is clean.

Before using either of these solvents on your composite deck, test them in an inconspicuous area to make sure they won’t damage the surface. 

When removing paint from composite decking, it is important to work in a well-ventilated area and to wear gloves and a respirator to protect yourself from fumes.

How to Repair Damaged Composite Decking

While composite decking is a durable material, it is not immune to damage. Over time, the surface of composite decking can become scratched or chipped, making it look worn down. 

When this happens, you’ll need to know how to repair the damage so your deck looks like new again.

To repair scratches or chips in your composite decking, you’ll need to sand down the damaged area until it’s smooth. You can then use a putty knife to fill in any gouges with epoxy resin. 

Once the epoxy has dried, you can sand it down so it’s level with the rest of the surface.

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