Is Composite Decking Cool Enough For Paws and Dogs?


What could be better than sitting outside on your deck, soaking up the sun with your four-legged best friend. Your dog and deck out enjoying nature all from the comfort of a deck in the backyard. Those of us who are dog lovers have to think of more than simple comfort when building or designing a deck. Our pets are an integral part of our enjoyment of our deck. Especially in the summer when the mercury rises, and it becomes hot outside. Installing decking that is not too hot for your dog’s paws is essential.

Composite decking will be hotter on your dog’s paws than the grass in your yard. But there is composite decking that is not too hot for dogs to walk on. Composite decking that allows your dog to enjoy being on the deck in the summer heat.  

The temperature of your decking is critical in summer for dogs. If the decking is too hot to walk on, they cannot enjoy being outside on the deck, in summer. Making your deck of limit for countless days in summer. Not because you would not enjoy being outside but because the decking is burning their paws.

“Although his paws are not as sensitive as your hands, your dog can feel cold and heat through the pads on his paws. Heat is especially dangerous, since the pads can actually burn if they come in contact with surfaces that are too hot.”

DogCare

When composite deckingOpens in a new tab. was first being released, a common complaint was heat. The composite deck boards quickly heating up in the sun, so much as they were uncomfortable to walk on. Too hot for your bare feet and also for your dog’s paws.

This is no longer the case for most composite decking. Most manufacturers now are making boards better designed to enjoy the summer on. Deck boards that are cooler to the touch, holding less heat than earlier generations of composite decking. But still, selecting the right composite decking boards is key to having a composite deck that can be enjoyed in the summer heat with your pets.

But before discussing what to look for in composite decking for dogs. Let’s address a general problem with decking. All Decking!

Both Wood and Composite Decking Will Get Hot in the Summer for Your Dog

All decking will become hot in the sun. Steps can be taken to reduce the deck’s temperature and how hot your dog gets. Meaning that regardless if your decking is wood or composite, it will be hot in the sun, and you will need to provide relief from the heat for your dog.

This is mostly to do with the science of heat and reflection. Decking is a flat surface reflecting the sun’s heat more than cool grass in your yard. Making the decking hotter in the sun than elsewhere in your yard.

A little aside, but the benefit of having grass in your yard. The Lawn InstituteOpens in a new tab. research has shown a healthy grass yard has a maximum temperature of 88°F (31 °C), which is considerably cooler than the decking heat in the sun. This is why, when your out on a summer walk your dog will often choose to walk in the grass beside the path instead of on it.

Another reason to have grass in your yard is that your dog can go unto if the deck becomes too hot. One part of designing a deck for your dog is creating space that your dog can cool down. But we will get to that more later, back to decking that is suitable for dogs.

Wood and Composite Decking Transfer Heat Differently to Dog’s Paws.

The heat of composite decking is on the surface of the decking. Composite decking transferring heat quicker than natural wood decking, making the initial contact with composite decking feel hotter to the touch than wood decking. Both for your feet and your dog’s paws. Making contact with the decking, it will instantly feel hot. Remaining in place, standing on the composite decking, it will not continue to burn. Once your foot absorbs the initial surface heat, it will start to cool under your foot and their paws.

The opposite is true with wood decking. Stepping on wood decking will warm their paws slower. This may not matter much with an active dog who is constantly moving, but something to be aware of.

“seven-second decking test”

Four-pawsOpens in a new tab. have good advice for testing surfaces for your dog. Before sending your dog out on the deck, take the back of your hand or your barefoot and touch the deck for seven seconds. If the deck becomes uncomfortably hot. It is too hot for Groover. Take him out the other door to a cool place to play outside.

Some pet sites shorten the time to as little as three seconds. But this is a big difference between wood and composite decking. After three seconds, the composite will feel warmer but will begin to cool underfoot. Where wood will continue to heat up your hand. A longer test will be better to access of the decking is too hot for your dog.

“Take a close look at how your dog is walking — are they ambling along happily and freely, or are they stepping gingerly, tentatively taking each step as if it’s painful to put their foot down?”

WagWalkingOpens in a new tab.

But long before testing the decking for your dog is the selection of decking for you and your dog.

Some Composite Decking Will Be Cooler for Dogs and People  

Not all composite decking is the same, which is excellent for designing and building decks as individual as the people and dogs who enjoy them. I love the wide variety of colours and designs of composite deck boards on the market, like an artist blending colour on their palette to draw your eye into their painting. A contrasting colour to emphasize one area of the picture over another.

The same can be done with composite deck boards. With so many decking colour options, creating limitless possibilities.  Not only an outdoor room to be enjoyed but a work of art to be enjoyed. Something which will probably be appreciated more by you than Fido.

Dog Paws and Composite Decking Colour

I have the joy of raising four kidsOpens in a new tab.. Each one has had the same experience in elementary school. They come to me all excited about what they have learned. Black is hotter than white. To the extreme that they asserted that they insist that they don’t need on a jacket in the winter because they are wearing a black shirt.

The same is true with composite deckingOpens in a new tab.. The darker the colour, the hotter the decking. Lighter the colour, the cooler in the sun. Basic science.

TimberTech Pro Whitewash Cedar™ is an example of a lighter, almost white composite decking that is cooler in the sun. Being lite in colour, basically white, it’s promises to be a cool deck board. Cool for your dog. 

But I wouldn’t recommend white decking for most dogs unless your dog is strictly a house dog. Mud paw prints will not look good on a white deck.  

But TimberTech Opens in a new tab.also has other cooler deck boards that are not white. Which they nicely make easy to see by highlighting their cooler deck boards. Guiding you to quickly see which will be cooler for your dog in the sun.  TimberTech Azek’s entire Harvest Collection® is labelled as a cooler decking option.

Of their Vintage Collection®, they recommend Coastline®, Weathered Teak® and Cypress® as cooler deck boards. All three are lighter deck boards but not white as to hide paw prints a little better.

With both the Vintage Collection® and Harvest Collection®, it is not only the colour that is making the difference but also the material. Made with a PVC core, it heats up less than most composite decking containing wood. PVC decking has lower heat retentionOpens in a new tab. than composite decking. Making the decking cooler under feet and paws.

PVC decking is not the only cool decking option for dogs.

Composite Decking that is Cooler For Dogs

MoistureShieldOpens in a new tab. has also designed composite decking that is cooler to walk on. Both for you and for your dog.  Not only has MoistureShieldOpens in a new tab. innovated composite deck boards that will not be damaged by water. This is a plus when your dog has an accident on the deck. They also invented CoolDeck® Technology, to make composite decking even more enjoyable.

“Helps create more comfortable outdoor living environments by reducing heat by up to 35%”

CoolDeck® TechnologyOpens in a new tab.

By design, they are cooler than other composite deckingOpens in a new tab. of similar colour. Allowing you to enjoy your deck more with your dog in the summer.

Similar to TimberTech and all composite decking, in fact, they are limited to lighter colours. MoistureShield decking with CoolDeck® Technology is currently limited to only three colours, Cathedral Stone, Mochaccino and Cold Brew, which are intentionally lighter colours. Which absorbs less heat, decreasing the temperature of the decking.

Beyond which decking you install, you can also make your deck pet friendly by design.

Provide Shade for Your Dog on Your Deck

Of course, the best way to cool decking is with shade. Deck umbrella’s or pergolas are excellent deck cooling options. Remove the burning sun’s glare, and the boards will cool down. Allowing your to enjoy your deck barefoot in the summer heat.

A deck privacy wall can also provide your dog a place to cool down if the deck becomes to hot. Once she becomes familiar with your deck, she can self-care. If the decking becomes too hot, she can cool her paws in the shade of the privacy wall.

Dog Blanket or Bed On your Deck

Placing a mat or bed on your deck allows your dog relief from the heat. If its paw becomes too hot, it can stand on the blanket, which will be cooler than the decking.

Care needs to be taken as not to trap moisture under a dog mat damaging the decking. An advantage of composite, is its not as susceptive to moisture as wood.

Provide Water on Your Deck for Your Dog

If your dog will be out on the deck for an extended period of time, make sure they can access water. That they can cool down. Even if their feet are not burning on the decking, they can become thirsty quickly being outside. Especially in the summer heat, which is often hotter on a deck than in the grass.  

Conclusion of Composite Decking Cool Enough for Dogs

Composite decking has come along way. Now with many decking options that are cool enough for dogs. That they can enjoy days out on the deck as much as you. Enjoying the sun, the breeze and everything your deck has to offer.

But if your deck seems a little too hot for him, here are 15 Ideas to cool down your deck.Opens in a new tab. Helping you and Fido enjoy your deck all summer long.

Ryan Nickel

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

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