15 Ways to Cool Down your Deck this Summer


Finally, summer! Time to throw the shoes off and run across the deck in bare feet! It’s summertime, and the deck is hot. To hot! After waiting all winter to enjoy your deck, it’s hot, too hot. How can you cool down the deck for you can enjoy it? To cool the deck off to enjoy the midday sun without burning up.

Here are 15 ways to cool down your decking in summer. Cooling down the decking for you can walk barefoot, along with the deck, for you can enjoy being outdoors in summer, even during the hottest summer heatwave.

There are two parts of a deck in summer to cool down.

  • The decking
  • The air on the deck.

Often cooling one will make the other more bearable. Cooling the air on the deck will allow you to enjoy being barefoot outside again. Also, cooling the decking will make the overall deck cooler.

4 Ways to Cool Down Your Decking

Here are a few ways to cool the decking. Some are more extensive. Others are an easy, quick fix.

Cool Down the Decking with Water

Simple enough, just before taking your shoes off, grab the garden hose and spray down the decking. Quickly cooling the decking down with cold water. Give it a few minutes for the boards to cool down. Then enjoy the deck for the next thirty minutes or so until all the water runs off and evaporates and the boards warm up again.

This will often be enough to allow you to get out on the deck midday. Taking the burn of the decking till the cool evening breeze takes over. Or until the shade from the house cools the deck down.

Of course for this plan to work. You will need a tap near or on the deck and a house to spray the decking with. Or a garden pot, but that will take a lot more work. Use a hose. It will be a lot easier.

Protect Your Feet from the Hot Decking with Rugs

Nothing fancies here, just something cooler to walk on the deck with. You can use a hallway runner or even a beach towel under your feet. Soak the towel to cool it down even more.

You could even do the beach thing and soak your feet in a bucket of cold water. Then when you get up from the chair, your feet are wet, cooling the decking with each step to the cooler for a drink. It should give you about ten feet of relief.

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Do before careful with a composite deck, as rubber backing on some carpet or floor mats can leave a mark. Check before rolling out the runner across the entire deck.

To learn more about best rugs for composite decking click the link. Not all deck rugs are equally good for composite decking.

If your decking is always hot, and you are tired of the spraying with the garden hose. Changing the decking may be a better solution.

Cool Wood decking by Painting a lighter Cool

Yes, traditional earth tones colour are a popular decking colour. Especially now with most treated wood decking coming from the store a brown colour. But if it’s too hot, sanding and painting a lighter colour may lower the decking a couple of degrees.

It may not be a huge temperature difference, but enough that you can enjoy your deck again.

Use Cooler Deck Boards

If you are building a new deck or are ready to replace the existing boards, cedar decking is cooler than treated pine.

Cedar is a less dense wood than pine and therefore holds less heat. Making cedar decking one of the cooler decking available.

If you are looking for low maintenance decking, many people choose composite. But most composite decking is hotter than wood decking. Making your deck even hotter in the summer.

Some synthetic deck boards are cooler than others. PVC decking often being cooler than most compositeOpens in a new tab. decking. The Vintage Collection®Opens in a new tab. from Azek has three PVC board options that are cooler, Coastline®, Weathered Teak® and Cypress®. The added benefit of using PVC is that it is cooler and will last 50-years or more. That’s a lot of cool days on your deck.

Cooler Composite Decking by Design

Another cooler decking option is MoistureShieldOpens in a new tab.. They have re-imagined composite decking and the manufacturing process. But in particular, they have introduced CoolDeck® Technology for three of their vision boards.

“Reduces heat absorption by up to 35% compared to standard capped composites in a similar color.”

MoistureShield

In particular, the Cathedral Stone a dark grey decking, along with Mochaccino and Cold Brew, which are both brown in appearance. But all three are designed to be cooler than other composite deck boards. They like AzekOpens in a new tab. will last 50-years or more. A good, long-lasting, cool, low maintenance decking option.

But on some of those hot summer days, it’s more than burning decking that needs to be cooled down. The whole deck is sweltering hot and cannot be enjoyed until now. Here are a few ways to cool down your deck making it more comfortable in the summer heat. Or during the next heatwave.

11 Ways to Cool Down Your Deck 

There are two main ways to cool down your deck, block the sun or move the air. Or even better, doing both, cooling your deck even more. There are many ways to do either one. Hopefully, a few will work for your deck.

5 Ways to Cool Your Deck with Shade

You can shade the deck either overhead or by casting a shadow over the deck.

1. Umbrellas

Umbrellas are versatile and portable. Cooling the deck on hot days but collapsing and tucked out of the way when not needed. Making umbrellas an excellent choice for decks with varying weather.

Offset or sometimes called cantilever umbrellas are great to allow you to enjoy the full expanse of your deck with the pole off to the side of the deck. Which works great for deck dining, the umbrella shading the table without requiring a centre pole. For some deck umbrella suggestions, check out my Comfort resource pageOpens in a new tab..

2. Wind Sails

A little more permanent than an umbrella but can cool the entire deck are Wind Sails. Held over the deck by post either permanently or weighted five-gallon buckets. Blanketing the whole deck with a thin blanket, diming the suns and cooling the deck. It takes a little more work to set up on your deck and will need to be taken down in the evening for it doesn’t tear in the wind. Ironically it is called a wind sail, but it’s more a breeze sail. But they are mesmerizing to watch flapping in the sun while you enjoy the cool air below.

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3. Awning

Increasing the intensity of shade and work are Awnings. Popular on the side of RVs, giving instant shelter beside your camper. Awnings attached to the house can extend over the deck, providing shade to cool the deck when needed but retract back to the house on cool days. Stronger than a wind sail but costing more. Initially, awning requires more work with installation but once installed. You can enjoy it for years with little effort. Retracting the awning with a push of a button or the turn of a crank. Much easier to fold up than a wind sail.

4. Canopies or Pergolas

Deck Canopies like a Gazebo or Pergola provide a more permanent deck cooling.  Built into the deck design or a kit assembled and fasten to the deck creating a room outdoor.  Not for when you step outside into a wall of heat and need to cool down the deck for the afternoon quickly.  As a Gazebo or Pergola need to be built into the deck’s design, requiring additional support.

But if you have a south-facing area that you know is always hot in summer. When designing, a traditional pergola or gazebo will cool your deck all year from the blazing sun. Pricier than other shade options but enhance the feel and look of the deck.

Pergola’s, with their open rafter design, allow for sunlight while cooling the deck. Traditionally in the Mediterranean, pergolas further cool the deck with vines and plants hanging from the rafter. If you don’t have a green thumb, shade can be increased with retractable canopies or curtains hung from the rafter. Cooling the deck mid-day and enjoying the stars in the evening.

5. Privacy Walls Creating Shade

Another shading solution that doesn’t block the blue sky is shading walls. Wind walls located on the deck to cool the air and decking by casting shadows. Depending on when you use your deck but often south or west facing. Shelter the deck from the sun’s heat.

Ideally, not solid walls but instead allowing air to blow through, over the deck. Otherwise, the walls will have the opposite effect. Creating a greenhouse environment, heating the deck by trapping hot air. Avoid this by using lattice or screens, which allow air movement while still shading the deck.

Another option is hanging curtains between deck poles or the pergola rafters. Shading the deck but can be opened to allow air movement.

Which is our next way to cool down your deck.

Cooling the Deck with Air Movement.

Now to get things moving, or at least the hot air on your deck. Like the cool breeze coming off the ocean, a deck can quickly cool down with a little air movement.

One of the extra benefits of a fan on your deck is pesty insects like mosquitoes. The breeze is cooling you, but it makes it impossible for them to fly. The fan bringing relief from both the heat and flying insects on your deck. You can use that even on cooler days.

Of course, the first and easiest is designing your deck without breeze blocking walls. Letting nature naturally cool you down, but sometimes nature needs a little help.

Using Fans to Cool Down Your Deck

Positioning or as they say in real estate.

“Location, location, location.”

Is the ticket with fans. You want the fan positioned to move the hot air off the deck and direct the cool fresh air over you. Generally, you want it set up three or four feet away from your deck chair with a portable fan. Enough distance for the breeze to engulf you. To close, and it will only cool your feet or blow your hair. Too far away, and it will have any effect.

Also, look around your deck. Where is the cool air? Is there a shaded area? A grove of trees from which you can pull cool air onto your deck. Positioning the fan to pull air onto the deck from the trees or shaded corner acts as a natural air conditioner, replacing the hot air on your patio with cool refreshing air.

Better yet is a larger deck fan.

A small fan can only move so much air. Turning up the speed only makes it sound like you’re sitting beside a runway with the planes taking off. Not relaxing! Using a larger fan near the deck’s edge will move more air but at a slower speed, with only a quiet hum.

Ceiling Mounted Fans Are More Affective in Cooling Down a Deck

One of the advantages of a pergola is you can install a ceiling fan on the rafter. Of course, it will need to be exterior rated, as not to be damaged by rain. A ceiling fan directly above the deck table can pull the hot air surrounding you straight up and away. Helping the already rising hot air off the deck.  

Cooling Your Deck with Misters

Water is refreshing and cooling. Misters provide this cooling relief by spraying water into the air, cooling down the deck. Which is even more effective in dry, hot regions of the country. The dry, hot air cooled by small droplets of water. Just like a refreshing rain.

Some people like to install the water mister that they get sprayed themselves. Having an instant cooling effect. A refreshing shower out on the deck.

This can be as simple as a spray bottle beside the lawn chair. A few skirts into the air, bringing relief. Or a more elaborate and sustainable system of hoses providing continuous relief. The choice is yours.

Others who prefer not to be soaking wet on their deck will set up the mister to the side of the deck. Cooling down the air as it moves unto the deck but without puddles of water on the deck. The cooling effect of mist from a waterfall beside the deck. Either way works. It’s mainly about personal preference.

Cooling with Both, Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative Coolers are a combination of fan and mister. Except the mister is contain not soaking you or your guest but still cooling you down with a gentle refreshing breeze. A simple fan and pump cooling air by combine moisture and air movement.

For around $300 or more, you can reduce the deck temperature by as much as 25°F (14°C). A significant difference on a hot summer day. That is almost from sweating in your tank top to pulling on a sweater. Of course, you don’t have to go full power, but it is one of the most effective ways to cool a deck.

Decorating a Deck to be Cooler

Over and above fans, misters and cooling with umbrellas how you can decorate your deck will impact how cool it is. In particular plants and deck furniture material.

Using Plants and Trees to Cool Your Deck

The best but hardest to cool your deck is large shade trees shading your deck. Which can drop the temperature a few degrees.

Trees Around the Deck will Cool the Deck

Leaf trees are ideal. Shading during the hot summer months but letting the sun warm the deck in winter. Creating a nice four-season deck on warmer winter days. Especially with some deck heat.Opens in a new tab. Pine and spruce trees are excellent for shade, and branches will overhang the deck less but being evergreen will cool the deck in both the summer and winter. Not ideal for using your deck year-round.

The biggest drawback of using trees to cool your deck is time. Trees will take a minimum of five years to grow tall enough to shade the deck. But generally, much longer, which is not a good solution as you sweat on your deck.

A quicker solution but not as effective as trees is planters on the deck.

Deck Plants Decrease Deck Temperature

Plants naturally lower the temperature, which is why your deck is so hot. Flat surfaces without vegetation to absorb heat, reflecting the sun’s heat. This is why your deck is hotter than your yard in the first place. Bringing greenery onto the deck will cool it down.

Just like trees but taking less time. A few planters placed by the deck railing or a taller shading plant beside the Chaise Lounger. Hanging plants are especially useful in cooling the deck. Just one more reason for a deck pergola. Somewhere to hang plants from.

Plants do three things for your deck.

  1. Make it more welcoming.
  2. Cool the deck be creating shade
  3. Cool the deck with water evaporation

Three good reasons to add a few planters on your deckOpens in a new tab..

Keeping Cool with the Right Deck Furniture

Plastic and metal deck furniture will be hot to the touch, just like most composite decking. Wicker deck furnitureOpens in a new tab. is much cooler to the touch. Allowing you to enjoy sitting on your deck. Even in the heat of the day. You can comfortably sit down without the burning sensation as your skin touches the chair’s surface.  

Cushions or towels draped over chairs will help to cool them down. Insulating you from the chair. For a few minutes of cooling, try putting your beach towels in the freezer a half an hour before going out on the deck. Or an ice pack from your cooler under a cushion. Like running through the sprinkler as a kid. A sudden drop in temperature.

Last Deck Cooling Tip

Not actually a tip for cooling your deck but a tip to reduce the heat. Deck grillsOpens in a new tab. are great. I love the convenience of a barbeque on the deck. If for nothing else because it moves the heat of cooking out of the house. Keeping your deck cooler.

But this could be a problem on your deck. Sometimes the best way to cool a deck is not to heat it. On hot summer days, use your barbeque a little less. Keep slow smoking roast to cool days when the heat will be welcome. Or move the barbeque off the deck. Or off to the edge of the deck downwind of where you are.

Maybe tonight, order pizza or have a salad. Something cool to enjoy on your deck.

Conclusion to Cooling Down Your Deck

From deck boards, plants, to misters and fans and everything in between there are so many ways to cool a deck down. To make your unbearable hot deck a welcoming oasis in summer. I hope they help, and you will continue to enjoy being outdoors on your deck even as the mercury rises.

Ryan Nickel

A Red Seal carpenter, passionate about building decks to be enjoyed.

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