This post was updated on January 30, 2023
Staining Composite Decks in 2023
We here at DeckStainHelp.com thank you for your continued support as we continue to be the internet’s number one reference for all things wood deck restoration related. Composite decks have become popular over the last few years, so here we outline some tips for staining them. As always, we appreciate your input, so feel free to leave a comment below.
Composite material decks have become very popular among homeowners in the past few years. They come in many different designs and colors. Most people believe that a composite deck is maintenance free but that is not true. Like any surface exposed to Mother Nature, composite decking is prone to fading, graying, warping, and so on. To stop these negative effects a composite deck stain should be applied. Staining composite decks help block out color fading UV rays and damaging moisture.
To stain a composite deck the surface must first be completely cleaned. With the use of a pressure washer or scrub brush and a composite deck cleaner, all the dirt, mold, mildew, and graying should be washed away. Mildew is a common occurrence on composite materials. Because most composite decking consists of wood and plastic it is prone to mold and mildew. It is important to remove any mildew before staining the deck so mildew is not sealed in and trapped below the surface.
Once the surface is dirt free it will be ready to accept a new stain. Use a quality composite deck stain that penetrates well. Look for a stain that helps fight against UV fading and discoloring. Composite deck stains with mildewcides or inhibitors are a plus. Any stain containing zinc particles will also naturally fight against mildew. Apply the composite deck stain using a brush, roller, or stain pad. Do not over-apply.
Try to stay away from film forming or solid deck stains. These can begin to flake and peel away from the surface after a few months. They are also more prone to mildew problems because they create a film atop the surface that may trap moisture. To keep a composite deck looking good, rewash the deck every couple of seasons and apply a maintenance coat of stain. This will help ensure a clean, attractive composite deck for many years to come.
Update for 2023Staining Composite Decks
We recently prepped and stained a very old and dirty Trex deck in Spring of 2021. We applied the penetrating TWP Semi-Solid Pro-Series to the Trex, and it turned out outstanding! Looks brand new and the TWP soaked deep into the composite decking with no issues. We highly suggest the TWP Semi-Solid if you are looking to add some color or stain to your old composite decking.
TWP Semi-Solid Pro Series
Prep Materials: Restore A Deck Cleaner Kits
Color Used: TWP Semi-Solid Mount Rushmore
Coverage: 1 coat was applied. 4.5 gallons were used. Coverage was about 200 Sq Feet per gallon.
TWP Semi-Solid Pro-Series Review: TWP Pro-Series Semi-Solid
Composite Deck Stain Photos
Deck Stain Help & Questions
Stain Reviews & Comparisons
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites.
All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.
My composite deck (unsure of brand or color) is needing some TLC. I was looking at the Rust-Oleum® RockSolid® Composite Deck Refresh to hopefully bring some color/life back. I searched the website, but could not find reviews on that exact product. Have you used that before? We are looking to replace deck in the next 5 years so holding up long-term, I am not too concerned about.
I would appreciate any input or suggestions! Here are some pictures of my deck for reference. ***there is dirt from muddy boots which I haven’t cleaned yet.
We would not use any of the Rust-oleum products.
Most likely it is the same as above, just relabeled for composite wood. Try this instead:
Thank you so much for your honest feedback!
If I choose a semi-solid stain, would staying in the same color family be best? I am definitely lost in the area of choosing a stain color. The choices are overwhelming.
A similar color would be best.
I have a ChoiceDek that is 15 years old. It looks bad, dark mildew throughout. Composite deck cleaners have not helped. Is there anything that I can do? I saw that it can be stained but considering that I cannot get the mold off, is it even worth doing or should I just bite the expensive bullet and replace the boards?
You can stain it and try bleach to get rid of the mildew.
Paint was spilled on our composite deck. What is the best remover? I am sure that it will leave splotches of a lighter color. What type of deck stain should I use to get a more complete color?
We do not know of a way to remove paint from a composite deck.
Thanks. We’ll work something out.
What type of deck stain should I use to get a more complete color?
Once removed, use this: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/twp-semi-solid-pro-series-wood-and-deck-stain-review/
I have the original Trex Composite Decking which is about 20 years old. Can I use the TWP Pro-Series-Semi-Solid Stain/Sealer? Or would you recommend Defy Composite Sealer? When I power wash the deck the color is still fairly good.
Yes, you can use the TWP Semi-solids for this. I would work better than the Defy Sealer.
I’m confused now. I have a five year old composite deck. I hate the saddle brown color and am now also going to add on to it at a different height. So can I stain it? Can I use a semi solid stain? Something else? Thanks very much.
You can stain it with a compatible stain that works on a composite deck.
What made you guys stop staining composite decks over 10 years ago? Was the process just difficult?
The demand is not there as no one asks anymore and the old composite wood that they used to make has been replaced with mostly 100% plastic.
Why is in not possible to fix the chalky white caused by goof off.
We had our house painted and contracted taped paper on deck during prep. The glue from tape would not come off our trex deck contractor used goof off ruining the deck. He has offered to stain Deck.
So would like to know why goof off damage can not be fixed?
Ask Goof Off as we do not know why.
How would goof off know how to re stain a Trex deck or why its not possible.
I am not asking why the product had this impact I am asking about re staining to my deck to cover the problem
You cannot fix this by adding a stain on top. It will still who through.
I have one of the older(not encapsulated) Trex Decks with soaked in grease stains that cleaning with vinegar and baking soda did not remove. Is there any hope of removing the stains or will one if the composite deck stains hide the grease stains?
A stain will not hide it and we do not know of anything that will remove the grease.
I just installed pricey AZEK ARBOR, PVC decking… Brazillian Walnut colot… ($100 per board!) – I need to revitalize the finish in some spots. Surface is damaged. Here’s what happened… I tried to remove some latex paint drops using popular “Goof-Off” spray… BIG MISTAKE! Every place I wiped with Goof-off is now chalky white. Help!!
Sorry but that is not possible to fix this.
My trek decking is 20 yrs old and needs to be stained it’s very grey any recommendations on the type of stain?
Try Defy Extreme Stains.
We have a 16 year old Timber Trac decking and wondered if staining was an option and if so what to use? The product is no longer made and the decking has faded considerably..
Try Deck Extreme Stains.
Can you recommend which stain to use for a 15 year old brown Trex deck
What is the best deck stain I can use on a composite deck
Try Defy Extreme Stains.
What is the best deck stain for a ten year old composite deck?
Sorry, no idea. We stopped staining composites decks over 10 years ago. Many brands will not work on composite decking. There used to be a Messmers and Penofin version for composite.
The info was helpful, but I need to know what brand of stain would be best for a composite deck(Trex). When I go to a paint store they don’t know of any product to put on Trex. Please Help
There used to be a Messmers and Penofin version for composite but they stopped making them. Not sure what will work now.
Messmer still lists the composite stain on their website. Do you have any experience with this stain?
Not in 15 years. Worked okay back then.
I have a 2002 Timbertech deck that is very weathered. What is the current best stain brand for this type of deck and should you use oil or water based stain?
Sorry but we have not stained a composite deck in years and not sure if or any brands will work well.
I recent purchased a home with light gray Trex decking. It’s at least 10 years old and looks weathered (even a bit rough) with small black mold spots. A painter told me to clean it and to use a translucent stain. However most companies stains for composite decking are solid stains. Which is best? Water or Oil base?
They do not make solid stains anymore in oil-based, only water-based. There are no transparent stains that we know of that will well for Trex.
Is there a particular deck stain that you would recommend for staining (want to do a complete color change) a composite deck?
Sorry but no. We have not done this in 10+ years. Back then we used Messmers composite deck stain.
Did Messmers work well 10 years ago?
It looked great when done but we did not check it’s longevity or ever see it later on down the road.
My dog has made a scratchy mess of my Timbertech deck. Will staining help cover the scratches and will the new stain scratch easily? I am trying to figure out if it is worth the time and effort. Thanks!
No, a stain will not cover the scratches and it will not prevent scratches.
I was afraid of that 🙁 Thanks so much for your response!
Need help! Roof washer products left bleachy splotches on my Eon deck!!! Since i am planning to sell my house this year i need to stain/paint it as it is a huge asset to my house. Plesse recommend a specific quality paint to use & if it should be sealed afterward. Here is a picture of damage: fortunately i had not yet paid contractor!!!
EON is plastic not composite and cannot be painted or sealed. The damage is permanent.
Not true!!!!! Use Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Solid Stain. Any good paint or stain suitable for PVC will do the job. Light sand first than paint or stain. It works!
I stained my composite deck because it was turning pink. Now it is moldy with many black spots. What stripper can I use on it. I will restain with TWP 100.
How to remove or if it can be removed will depend on the stain brand you used and the type of stain that it was. Let us know the brand/type and a picture would be helpful as well.
It is one of the stains in the picture, sorry I don’t remember which one.
Is the Olympic oil based or water based?
It is oil based.
Try the Restore A Deck Stain Stripper and pressure washing to remove.
What is the best rated stain for composite decks?
Not sure on this. Messmers makes one that we have used and works well.