So Can you Stain Composite Decking?
Yes - you can Stain Composite Decking, but only for certain types of composite decking.
Several years ago we were called out to a Raleigh home that had an expansive multi-level trex composite deck. The deck had the black mold spots everywhere, which seems to be a very common problem with the older trex composite decks. The homeowner told us he had been cleaning it at least twice a year but the spots come back within a month or two. It seems a lot of people are frustrated with dealing with this problem.
This homeowner had contacted Trex and was sent a clear composite decking stain that was supposed to help it stay mold free longer. We agreed to take on the job of cleaning and sealing this deck. Upon researching composite deck stain choices this was one of the first ones Trex recommended on there website.
The first step was cleaning this deck and after reading articles on trex deck stain procedures we realized our normal wood restoration process needed to be altered. The amount of pressure that is used needs to be kept to a minimum and the distance of the pressure washing tip needed to be at least 12" away. It is VERY EASY to create marks on this decking so always follow the length of the board. For more information on the Trex Deck cleaning process view our other articles. Although Trex recommended corte-clean at the time we used a bleach-detergent mixture instead. We wanted to ensure the mildew was gone.
After letting the deck dry for a few days we returned to apply the composite deck stain. Application was easy and went fast. The homeowner was thrilled with the outcome but called a few days later to ask if there was anything we could do to make it look like it did when it's wet? Unfortunately at the time there was nothing we could do. Fast forward a few years and several new composite deck stains came to market. We tried products from Sikkens, Penofin, Behr, and even TWP. In our testing we liked the way the Behr solid deck stain came out so that is what we have been using. I know BEHR..... It works well for the Trex decks we have been doing and Trex actually recommends it. Make sure to pick the color that matches your original deck color. We have not tried switching colors of a deck, but I would guess it would word well if you wanted to try it.
The newer composite decking with a PVC wrapper cannot be stained with this method. We have only used this method on (Trex Accents®, Trex Origins®, Trex Contours®, Trex Profiles® or Trex Brasilia®). If you are frustrated cleaning the Black mold spots every year give staining a try. The deck looks like new when you finish it and it seems to last 2-4 years. When reapplication time comes it's even easier than the first time.