Our composite cladding is available in various colours; it’s durable and lasts a long time.
But what if your personal preference has changed after a few years, and you would like to switch up the colour without replacing the composite cladding?
This raises the question of whether or not composite cladding can be painted. This article discusses your options before you paint your composite cladding. We look at the paint best suited for the task and the best way to ensure a smoother and neater finish.
Should Composite Cladding Be Painted?
Unlike wood or timber cladding, composite cladding does not need to be painted or stained. Composite cladding is made from reclaimed wood fibres and recycled plastic engineered to be long-lasting. Composite cladding does not fade, and the colour is ageless regardless of the weather elements.
Despite extreme weather temperatures, composite cladding expands and contracts but retains shape. Composite cladding is unique compared to wood or timber cladding because it does not warp, rot, or split and only requires cleaning once or twice a year.
Although painting and staining composite materials is usually unnecessary, you can paint composite cladding if you want. There may be times when painting your wood plastic composite cladding is necessary.
Explore Your Options Before Painting
While painting composite cladding should be the last resort, there are a few things you can do to bring the colour back to life.
Choose UV Resistant Composite Cladding
Choosing suitable composite cladding materials is key to its longevity. UV stable composite cladding like the Forma range from Ecoscape is fade-resistant; although not fade-proof , it will retain its natural look, is stain-resistant, and does not warp or splinter. Although the composite cladding will fade over time, it is also exceptionally durable and requires minimal upkeep.
Capped composite slatted cladding like Ecoscape’s Forma range does not require staining, painting, or oiling. It also comes with a warranty against fading due to weathering. 
Maintaining Composite Cladding
Much like composite decking, it is essential to clean your composite cladding to remove stubborn stains and dirt. Use warm soapy water and a soft brush to wash off any dirt and debris from your cladding.
You can use a pressure washer with a spray nozzle for a deep clean; however, do so with caution. Using a pressure washer on a high setting, too close to the surface, and the wrong nozzle will damage composite cladding boards.
Avoid writing on composite cladding, especially with coloured chalk. This can distort the colour or leave permanent marks on composite cladding. Use the same warm soapy water to remove the chalk as soon as possible.
Difference Between Painting and Staining Composite Cladding
Understanding the difference between painting and staining composite cladding is essential and how it affects your cladding. To paint composite cladding, you will need acrylic latex paint, and the paint sits in layers on top of the composite materials.
Staining your composite cladding, especially scratched cladding, risks being absorbed and leaving permanent and unsightly stain marks, and that is not only the risk. The issue with painting composite cladding is that paint wears off. This would require you to continuously paint the cladding when the paint begins to peel or flake.
Safety Tips For Painting Composite Cladding
For a long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing look, preparation is key for any do-it-yourself project. Taking the necessary precautions is important to your safety. Here are a few safety tips before painting composite cladding.
- Always wear safety eyewear when sanding and painting composite cladding.
- Cover your plants and landscaping from the debris when using sandpaper on cladding.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands when handling chemicals and solvents.
- Ensure you have adequate ventilation when handling paint, chemicals, and solvents.
Best Paint for Composite Cladding
Since composite decking and cladding do not require painting or staining, the product market is relatively thin. The best paint and primer would be outdoor acrylic latex paints and an outdoor acrylic latex bonding primer.
Paint is a solid pigment that uses solvents and binders to cover a surface. Unlike a stain that absorbs, the paint sits on the cladding surface. The reality is that paint has a shelf life due to weather elements, so it is not a durable and long-lasting option for composite cladding or decking.
How to Paint Composite Cladding
One of the main reasons for painting composite cladding is years of sun exposure, which eventually causes composite cladding to fade. Wood plastic composite cladding that has been discoloured or scratched can be given a rejuvenating look with paint. Using the right paint tools and paint suitable for composite cladding is essential.
Note: Always check the manufacturer guidelines before painting composite cladding.
Tools You Need
- Pressure washer (optional)
- Mild liquid soap
- Warm Water
- Soft brush
- 36 Fibre Grit Sandpaper Discs for sanding tool/ For a fine finish, choose P800 or P1000 Grit 
- 60 to 80 grit paper if you are doing it by hand
- Paint Roller or Soft-bristle paint brush
- Outdoor Acrylic-based Bonding Primer
- Outdoor Acrylic Latex Paint
1. Remove Objects Close to the Cladding
Removing your outdoor furniture and covering your grass, composite decking, pavers, and plants is vital. This will prevent dust and debris from sanding and painting from staining them.
2. Clean Your Composite Cladding
Mix the mild liquid soap with warm water (soapy water should be the same consistency you would wash dishes with), and wash the cladding with the soft-bristled brush. Rinse the cladding thoroughly with clean water and wait for it to dry.
The drying process can take approximately three to four hours, and patience is needed before you can move on to the next step.
If you are using a pressure washer, keep a decent distance between the nozzle and the surface of the cladding. Do not exceed the setting of 1,500 pounds per square inch (PSI). You risk damaging and causing unsightly cuts on the composite cladding surface.
Make sure you use a fan tip nozzle that evenly spreads the water. Concentrating on one spot could damage the cladding.
3. Sand Composite Cladding
Composite materials can easily be cut and damaged by sanding tools. The grit of the paper can also cause serious harm to the cladding’s surface. Caution is required!
Using the 36-grit fibre disc will remove any imperfections on the surface of the cladding. For a smoother finish, use the P800 to P1000 fibre discs. If sanding the composite cladding by hand, to remove any scratches and marks, use 60 to 80 grit sandpaper until the surface of the cladding is smooth.
Use a hose to rinse the sanding debris left behind on the composite cladding surface and wait for it to dry completely.
Always sand lengthways in the direction of the grain. Be gentle when sanding, whether by hand or using an electric sander, to avoid causing damage to the cladding’s surface.
4. Apply the Primer, then Paint
Once the composite cladding is dry, add the acrylic-based primer using the soft bristled paintbrush. Since composite materials are not wood or timber, an acrylic-based primer and paint allow them to stick to the cladding.
Paint the acrylic-based bonding primer on the cladding, and allow it to dry properly. This drying process can take up to two hours to dry. Add a coat of acrylic latex paint to the cladding using a roller or soft-bristled paintbrush. Once the first coat has dried, you can apply the second coat of paint.
Can I Use a Heat Gun To Repair Scratches Before Painting?
You can use a heat gun if your composite cladding surfaces have deep scratches that sanding cannot fix. Know that misusing a heat gun can cause lasting damage and void your composite cladding warranty.
Note: Always test a small area with the heat gun.
Wearing protective gloves and eyewear, set your heat gun to 450 degrees Celcius. Gently and lightly pass over the area heavily affected by deep scratches. Be sure to keep the nozzle of the heat gun at a safe distance of at least ten to fifteen centimetres away from the surface to avoid overheating the cladding.
Using the 60 to 80-grit sandpaper, gently sand down the area in the direction of the grain.
If required, follow the heat gun process with a light sanding of the damaged area using 60-80 grit sandpaper, always in the direction of the grain. Avoid using a heat gun if you have never used one before.
Will I Lose the Warranty After Painting Composite Cladding?
Before painting your composite cladding, always check the warranty with the manufacturer. If you paint, sand, oil, or stain your cladding, you risk rendering your warranty null and void. Painting your cladding immediately after the installation voids the warranty from the manufacturer.
How long does composite cladding last?
Our composite cladding has a lifespan of up to twenty-five years, much longer than timber or wood cladding.
How do you remove algae from cladding?
A few drops of a mild ammonia-free liquid dish soap and warm water can remove algae from the composite cladding. Ensure that you rinse the composite cladding thoroughly.
Can you power wash composite cladding?
There is a difference between a power washer and a pressure washer, although they perform the same functions. A power washer uses hot water, and a pressure washer uses cold water. A pressure washer is best suited for cleaning composite materials and plastic cladding.
Do you have to prime composite before painting?
A key selling point to composite cladding and decking is that it never needs a coat of paint. If you prefer to paint your cladding, use a bonding primer first, followed by a layer of acrylic latex paint.
Composite cladding can be painted and stained, but it takes hours and patience. Before you paint, always check with someone from our Ecoscape customer service team if painting, staining, or oiling your composite cladding will affect your warranty.