Painting WPC – how to make the planks look like new again

Wood-plastic composite materials (WPC) are a very popular choice for terrace planks, façade elements, fences and screening systems. However, these durable alternatives to pure high-maintenance wood and impersonal PVC can fade with weathering. This is the case especially when the material is subject to a combination of light and water splashes. If you allow the sun to fade WPC or use it as a border for your pool, the consequences are inevitable. Over time, UV light from the sun and moisture gradually destroy the top layer of the colour molecules. When this happens, you have just three options:

  1. Buy and install new WPC material.
  2. Do nothing and allow the WPC to fade.
  3. Attempt to paint the WPC.

Unusual tip: Allow WPC to fade

It is unavoidable that your WPC planks will fade within the first six months – at least to some degree. The material loses about ten per cent of its colour intensity or, in other words, its darkness. This why we recommend that you buy planks that are slightly darker than the actual colour you wish to have eventually. If you do this, you can avoid painting the WPC for a while. However, as with a body tan, make sure that this fading occurs evenly. For example, during the first six months after installation, you should not yet cover a terrace system with furniture constantly. If you were to do this, the WPC could only fade in certain places and you would have unattractive dark spots that stand out from the rest of the terrace when you move the furniture. While these spots will blend in with the rest of the WPC panels over time, this can take up to an additional six months.   


Can you paint WPC terrace planks?

If the WPC has faded, the first reaction of most consumers is to paint over the material. However, this is possible only to a limited extent. By the way, due to its PVC coating, capped WPC is protected against weathering and environmental effects and therefore does not fade any further. In cases such as this, you also cannot change the colour of the WPC.
The more PVC the material contains, the more difficult it is to paint WPC. Consequently, when buying the material, choose your final favourite colour. If WPC contains a high proportion of PVC or if it has a protective coating, even refreshing the colour is very challenging. You can paint WPC only when it contains about 70 per cent PVC and around 30 per cent wood. Otherwise, you are more likely to make the problem worse: but if you still decide to change the colour, the paint may peel or crack after a short time.

Alternatives to painting WPC: Cleaning and care

However, it is not only the sun or water splashes from the pool that cause problems for WPC. The material is also often affected by bird droppings, grease splashes from the barbecue or other dirt, which has an unsightly effect.
Rather than attempting to paint it over, if you use WPC cleaning, refreshing and impregnating products, you will remove persistent dirt, let the WPC material shine again with new freshness and seal the surface. The latter also ensures that new moisture drips off better. Proceed as follows:
  1. Use a cloth to apply a special concentrated WPC cleaning product and water to the surface. Then use a scouring pad or scrubber to remove the dirt and rinse this off with clean water.
  2. Instead of painting the WPC planks, use a paintbrush to apply WPC refresher evenly to the surface. Apply this several times if necessary.
  3. Wait until the refresher is completely dry. Then use a paintbrush to apply pure, undiluted impregnating agent.


Don’t paint WPC but instead follow these instructions to make your terrace, screening system or fence look like new again.   

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