Investing in a high-quality deck surface can provide properties with a versatile outdoor space. Raised decking may require additional safety features, including balustrades and handrails.
Composite balustrades offer a high-quality, durable, and long-lasting safety option. Composite materials typically won’t need to be painted or stained, and this is one of the benefits the material offers.
In some cases, you might want a change of colour or want to breathe some life into your existing composite materials.
If you do choose to paint your composite balustrades, this article will take you through everything you need to know.
Can you Paint Composite Decking Balustrades?
Composite balustrades do not need to be painted. Ecoscape composite products are created by combining reclaimed wood fibres and recycled plastics with colouring and a bonding agent. This creates a durable material that contains the same long-lasting colour throughout.
Ecoscape composite balustrades are available in five different colours that match the clarity range; charcoal, autumn, graphite, ash, and walnut. This gives property owners an excellent selection when choosing the decking and balustrade colours.
While capped composite decking products by Ecoscape offer a colour guarantee as well as long-lasting, durable products, the Clarity range can fade slightly over time when exposed to strong sunlight.
The fading you might expect from composite products is minimal in comparison to stained or painted timber alternatives.
If you still choose to, you can paint or stain composite balustrades to change your colour scheme or liven up your decking.
The Best Paint Options for Composite Decking Balustrades
The paint you choose will bind to the surface and must be able to withstand the weather. Using a primer for the paint to stick to is recommended, and an acrylic latex exterior primer is the best option. Using an acrylic latex enamel paint for external use will give the best results.
How to Paint Composite Decking Balustrades
Painting composite balustrades should only be done after serious consideration. You will then have to regularly paint the composite to ensure the paint doesn’t flake or wear away.
You should also take the necessary steps to ensure the job you carry out looks great. The following steps will help you prepare and paint composite balustrades.
Tools Needed to Paint Composite Decking Balustrades
The following tools are typically necessary for painting composite railing and balustrades.
- Soft Bristled Brush
- Warm Water
- Liquid Soap
- Power Washer
- 60 to 80 grit sandpaper
- Paint Brush
- Paint Roller
- Acrylic Latex Exterior Primer
- Acrylic Latex Enamel
- PPE (Protective Eye Wear, Dust Mask, Gloves, Protective Clothing)
Sanding and painting should be carried out in a well-ventilated area, and dust masks and protective eyewear should be worn to protect against airborne particles.
Step 1 – Clear the area and protect the decking boards
Prepping the area by removing garden furniture or other obstacles and covering your composite boards will give you better accessibility and minimise the risk of damaging your deck boards.
It will also prevent dust from any sanding that takes place resting on other items.
Step 2 – Clean the composite decking balustrades
Before you sand, prime, and paint your balustrades, they should be thoroughly cleaned. To do this, you should prepare warm water and liquid soap and use a soft-bristle brush to clean the area before thoroughly rinsing and allowing it to dry.
A pressure washer can be used carefully and should not exceed 1,500 PSI. Using a fan spray rather than a concentrated jet, you should clean the area from a safe distance.
Your composite balustrades can take several hours to dry, but you must allow this before moving on to the next step.
Step 3 – Sand the composite decking balustrades
Before sanding the area, it is important that you show caution. If possible, use an offcut to get an idea of the pressure you should apply for a good result.
Gently rub the sandpaper over any marks or scratches to remove them and ensure the surface area is smooth.
Always sand in the same direction as the grain, and take care as you do this to minimise the risk of damage.
After sanding the balustrades, you should hose them down to remove any dust or debris before allowing the balustrades to dry again.
Step 4 – Apply the primer, then paint the composite decking balustrades
After cleaning, sanding, and allowing the balustrades to dry, you will be able to use a soft-bristled brush to apply the primer to the balustrades.
Recycled plastic wood composite balustrades and decking boards are designed to last for a long time and hold their colour. The plastics in the composite make it difficult for the products to accept paint. That is why a primer is necessary.
The primer is an essential part of ensuring your paint sticks to the balustrades.
After allowing the primer to dry, add your first coat of paint and let this dry. You will then be able to add a second coat before leaving to dry for a final time and enjoying your new colour balustrades.
Ecoscape Composite Decking Balustrades
The extensive range of Ecoscape composite balustrades offers property owners a great choice. You can find out more about the product specifications, prices, and installation guides for Ecoscape composite, composite and glass, and composite and wire balustrade systems.
Visit the Ecoscape composite balustrade page to find out how to make domestic, residential, and commercial decking areas safe and great looking.
How do you maintain composite decking balustrades?
Composite decking balustrades require very little maintenance and cleaning them twice a year is typically enough to keep them in good condition.
As previously advised, you will be able to clean them using a soft-bristled brush or sponge with hot water and liquid soap.
Power washers can also be used carefully, but it is important that you move furniture and other items out of the way, use low pressure, and hold the nozzle a safe distance from the composite material.
Can you stain composite decking balustrades?
You can use a stain on composite decking balustrades, but it is significantly more tricky to do this without ending up with certain areas darker than others.
Staining and painting composite materials are not necessary and should only be done after careful consideration.
Staining and painting composite balustrades mean you will have to do this regularly, and you will lose the low-maintenance benefits that make it such a popular material.
Will painting composite balustrades affect the warranty?
Yes, painting balustrades or capped decking will affect the product warranty. If you decide to apply paint, use harsh chemicals, or don’t follow the installation guide, you run the risk of invalidating your warranty.
Can a heat gun be used to repair scratches on composite decking balustrades?
Heat guns can be used on the composite to repair scratches, but you must be extremely cautious.
Keeping off cuts of composite is a great way to test different repair methods to ensure you don’t make things worse. Your warranty could also be invalidated by using a heat gun on your decking.
When using a heat gun, make sure you wear protective gloves and goggles. The heat gun can then be set to 450°C before gently passing over the area at a safe distance of around 15 centimetres.
You can gently sand that area after it has cooled down to get a nice smooth finish.
How long should composite decking balustrades last?
Ecoscape composite balustrades come with a 20-year warranty. How long composite balustrades last will be dependent on how you care for them and how they are installed.
Professional installation is recommended to ensure the materials can perform to the highest standard. Only those with adequate experience should take on a decking project to ensure the longevity and safety of the materials.
Realistically, you can expect your composite balustrade and railing to last for over 25 to 30 years.
Composite is an excellent alternative to a traditional wood deck. Wood decking and balustrades require significant maintenance, including deck stain, paint, and weatherproofing treatments.
Composite decks and balustrades need very little maintenance in comparison. They are weatherproof and hold their colour well. Some early-generation decking balustrades and non-capped composite decking might not have the same colour guarantee that Ecoscape’s Forma range does.
If, after time, you feel like your decking and balustrades need to be livened up, they can be painted, but it is not necessary.
It is important to remember that painting composite balustrades will invalidate your warranty and result in you having to regularly paint them as you would with real wood fixtures.