seal the edges of a composite deck

How to Finish the Ends of Composite Decking?

In Exterior Wood, Tips by Jamie

Composite decking is popular because it’s durable and it looks great. The only problem is the ends. The end of the board where the decking has been cut looks unattractive, and it can also let moisture into the wood. It’s important that you finish the ends of composite decking to get the look that you want and protect the deck for longer.

There are many ways to finish composite decking including picture frames, end strips, caps, nosing, raised fascia, paint, and corner trim. You or your client can decide which is best based on the aesthetic wanted and the budget.

If you are constructing a composite deck and you are unsure how to finish the ends, this guide will take you through the different options available to you, so you can make the right decision.

The Different Ways to Finish the Ends of Composite Decking

1. Picture Frame

compsosite decking picture frame

Picture frame finishing is one of the most popular ways to finish the ends of your decking. It looks great and it also protects the structural integrity of the decking, so it lasts longer.

Start by installing the composite boards and then install additional boards around the edge, perpendicular to the deck, so they run around the perimeter of the deck like a frame. This gives a neat appearance and you also have gaps between the decking and the frame for added drainage. On top of that, it strengthens the whole deck. You can use the same color or go for a different color if you want to create a nice effect.

Although this is a brilliant way to finish the ends of your composite decking, it is one of the more expensive options because you need an extra joist and more composite boards to construct the frame. You may also notice gaps in the joints on the corners as the board’s can contract and expand.

2. End Strips

End strips are a great way to finish the ends of your decking if you want a neater and more professional look. They are also less expensive than going the picture frame method and are easy to install.

You just need to cut some lengths of the composite board to fit at the end of each decking board. These boards should be around 1 inch wide and the same thickness as your decking boards. Once you have cut them to size, just glue or screw them into place at the end of each board.

This is a quick and easy way to finish the ends of composite decking but it doesn’t offer much protection against moisture damage or rot.

3. Plastic Caps

end caps for composite decking

Caps are a great way to finish the ends of composite decking and they offer good protection against moisture and rot. They are also quite cheap and incredibly simple to install. If you are using hollow decking boards, the plastic caps simply fit into the gaps in the ends. They are available in different colors so you can find something that matches well. If you’re looking for a cheap, easy option, this is it.

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If you want to add a bit of extra detail to the end of your decking, veneer is a great option. It’s a more expensive option than the others but it can really enhance the look of your deck.

A veneer is a thin piece of wood that is glued to the end of each decking board. It can be stained or painted to match and it gives a really neat finish. The main downside is that it doesn’t offer much protection against moisture or rot. It can be a little tricky to install too, but if you take your time, you should be fine.

5. Nosing Boards

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Nosing boards are a good finishing touch that helps you hide the exposed edges of your deck. They have a curved edge that goes over the edge of the decking board and they are available in different colors to match your deck.

Nosing boards are easy to install and they offer good protection against moisture and rot. They can also help to keep your decking clean as any dirt and debris will fall off the edge of the board rather than getting stuck in between the decking and the nosing board. These can be installed with the rest of the decking boards, giving you a nice finish.

6. Raised Fascia

composite fascia decking being cut to size

If you want to add a bit of extra protection to the end of your deck, a raised fascia is a good option. It’s not as attractive as some of the other options but it does the job well.

A raised fascia is a board that is installed at the end of the deck on the rim joist and it sticks out slightly so that it covers the end of the decking board. This is a cheap and easy way to protect your deck and it doesn’t require as much work as a picture frame.

As long as you get the same composite material that your decking boards are made from, you’ll get a great seamless finish. However, be aware that the fascia boards are not that durable and they won’t stand up to people walking on them or anything heavy being placed on them. It’s unlikely that you will walk on the edges, but it’s something you should be aware of if you have a lot of heavy furniture on the deck.

There is also more potential for grime to get caught between the fascia and the decking, which may cause premature rotting.

7. Corner Trim

corner trim composite decking

If you want a really neat and professional finish, corner trim is a great way to go. It’s a little more expensive than some of the other options but it’s worth it for the look that it gives.

Corner trim is a piece of molding that is used to cover the corners of your deck. It comes in different styles and colors to match your decking and it gives a really polished look. It’s easy to install and it’s very durable, so you can be sure that it will last for years.

8. Paint 

The main problem with uncovered ends is that they’re a different color from the rest of the decking. The cheapest and easiest way to fix this is by painting them the same color.

To paint the ends of your decking boards, you will need to use paint that is specifically designed for use on composite materials. These paints are available from most hardware stores and they come in a range of colors.

You will need to apply a primer to the decking boards before you paint them. This will help the paint to stick to the composite material and it will also help to protect the boards from moisture and rot.

Once the primer has dried, you can paint the boards with your chosen color. Be sure to apply 2-3 coats for best results. It’s a good idea to let each coat of paint dry completely before you apply the next one.

This might be the easiest and cheapest option, but it’s not the most elegant. If you want a crisp, professional finish, you may want to try a different option. But if you are just looking for an easy fix, painting is perfectly viable.

These are all good options for finishing the ends of composite decking. Which one you choose depends on the aesthetic you want, the level of protection you need, and how much you are willing to spend.


Related Questions

Can You Paint the Ends of Composite Decking?

Yes, you can paint the ends of composite decking. In fact, it’s probably the easiest way to finish the ends and get them to match the rest of the deck. That said, other options look tidier and offer more protection against moisture.

Can You Stain the Ends of Composite Decking? 

Yes, you can stain the ends of composite decking. This is a good way to get a more natural look and it will help to protect the ends from moisture. You will need to use a wood stain that is specifically designed for use on composite materials.

Do I Need to Finish the Ends of Composite?

It’s always a good idea to finish the ends of composite decking. The ends are a different color from the rest of the board, so it doesn’t look good if you just leave it. The boards can also absorb some moisture through the ends if they are left as they are, so you need to finish them in some way to protect your decking.

After Cutting Composite Does it Need to be Sealed?  

Good quality decking should be resistant to moisture and doesn’t require sealing when it is new. This is true even when you cut the composite boards.

Final Thoughts

If you leave the ends of your composite boards, you’ll ruin the look of your deck. There are many ways to finish the ends and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. You need to choose the one that best suits your needs.

If you want a quick and easy solution, painting is probably the way to go. But if you want something that looks more professional and offers better protection against moisture, you should try corner trim, fascia boards, or picture framing.

About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.