how to keep composite decking cool

How to Keep Composite Decking Cool Enough to Walk On

In Lawn & Garden, Tips by Jamie

Walking on your deck in your bare feet. It seems like such a simple thing — until you step out onto your composite deck on a hot day and your soles burn on contact. How can you keep your composite deck cool enough to walk on?

The best way to keep your composite decking cool enough to walk on is by shading it. Composite decking gets hot primarily from direct sunlight, so it won’t heat as much if it’s in the shade. Before building a deck, select a composite brand that stays cooler, choose light colors, and increase ventilation beneath your deck.

Can Composite Decking Burn Your Feet?

Yes, composite decking can burn your feet, especially when it’s in direct sunlight and the ambient temperature is high. Composite decks can reach up to 76F HIGHER than the ambient temperature, meaning that when it’s a beautiful 80F day out, your deck can reach 150F.

This isn’t just a problem with composite decks, although many composite deck products are much hotter than other materials like lumber and stone.

How hot a composite deck will get will depend on the particular product brand, with some product lines being significantly cooler than others. Picking the right product can mean the difference between scalded feet and pleasantly warm.

6 Ways How to Keep Composite Decking Cool Enough to Walk On

1. Pick The Right Composite Decking Material

Not all composite materials are the same! Look for products that have proved that they keep cooler and check for reviews online to see how that promise holds up. If you hired a professional, ask them for recommendations. Different manufacturers have stepped up to the task with different solutions, including MoistureShield’s CoolDeck technology which promises to reduce heat by up to 35% compared to other products.

2. Select Lighter Coloured Composite Decking Over Darker Ones

The reason composite decking gets so hot is from the sun, and black colours get a lot hotter than white. That mahogany brown decking may look spectacular, but it’s going to be a lot hotter than a pale oak colour.

3. Shade Your Deck

If the sun can’t shine on the deck, it won’t get as hot. You have a ton of options, from getting a shade umbrella (if you have a small area), installing a motorized awning or a pergola, or planting a living shade wall with either a trellis, shrubbery, or trees.

4. Increase Ventilation Underneath The Deck

Less obviously, increasing ventilation beneath the deck will help cool the deck above. The deck will shade the area below, creating a cool pocket. If air can move through this area, it can push the cool air up through the gaps between the deck boards. This natural air conditioner will help slick some of the heat away. Add drain rocks underneath to help absorb the heat from the above deck to keep the ventilation area cooler.

5. Cover Up With An Outdoor Rug

If you can’t shade your deck or choose a lighter cooler, then cover up the high-traffic areas with a light-coloured outdoor rug. Be careful when selecting material, though. Plastic or viscose rugs may bleed onto the composite material, especially when the deck is wet.

6. Wash The Deck Down With Cool Water

If your usually mild-weather backyard is unexpectedly experiencing a heatwave, then you can temporarily cool down a deck by spraying it with cool water. The cool water will absorb some of the heat.

This isn’t a great long-term solution, as composite decking can be especially slippery when wet, but it can make a difference in the short term.


Hot Composite Decking FAQs

Is Composite Decking Too Hot for Dogs?

If the composite decking is too hot for human feet, then it’s too hot for the delicate pads of a dog’s paw. To see if a deck (of any material) is too hot for your dog, put the back of your hand or barefoot and touch the deck for seven seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’ll be too hot for your dog.

If you’re in the planning stage, research composite products that are cooler and choose a lighter colour. Not all composite decking is the same. Choose light colours that won’t absorb as much heat from direct sunlight.

If you already have a composite deck, then you can make some adjustments, like adding light-coloured matting for your dog to rest on and adding shade screens. If all else fails, grass is always considerably cooler than a patio.

Can You Buy Composite Decking That Doesn’t Get Hot?

As composite decking absorbs heat from the ambient temperature and the sun, all composite decking will absorb some heat. The difference is only how much. If you do your research, you can buy composite decking that won’t get as hot as comparable products. TimberTech and MoistureShield both have products in light-colours that will stay cooler than other composite products.

Does Trex Decking Get Hot?

Yes, Trex Decking gets hot when exposed to hot weather and the direct sunlight, and gets hotter than other composite products and wood decks. The darker the deck colour, the hotter it will get. Always be careful not to touch your bare skin or allow children and pets to touch composite decking. This might be a good time to pull out an outdoor rug and wear sandals.

Does Dark Composite Decking Get Hot?

Yes, dark composite decking gets hot when exposed to direct sunlight and will get hotter than lighter colored decks. If summers are hot where you live and your deck gets a lot of direct sunlight, then go with a lighter colour like white, gray, or tan. Your deck will stay relatively cooler.

Can You Buy White Composite Decking?

Yes, you can buy white composite decking. White decking looks bright, clean, and it matches everything. It will also stay cooler in the heat. The downside is that it’ll show dirt and debris quickly and white decking can look blinding in strong sunlight. Gray and tan provide all the same benefits, while also better hiding dirt and saving you time scrubbing the deck, and blinding you less.