As a table cloth elevates an ordinary table so does the right rug on a composite deck. The right rug increases the enjoyment of your outdoor space while enhancing not damaging the decking.
The best outdoor rug for a composite deck is made from polypropylene, for it will not fade in the sun, soak up water or scratch the decking. A rug needs to be large enough to define the space, often 5’x8′ for a small deck area and 9’x12′ for a larger outdoor dining or sitting area. Ideally, a deck rug will add colour to the deck while increasing comfort.
That’s a lot to unpack to help you pick the perfect rug for your deck.
But you will have a better outdoor space if you know the whys for ordering the deck rug you do. If you are in a super hurry, here are my top picks.
Both are made by Sand Mine and can be ordered from Amazon. They meet all the requirements of durable, cool material ideally suited for composite decking.
Now for the good stuff.
Answer the why, what, when and how of rugs and composite decking. And as a bonus. What do the manufactures of composite decking like Trex, Fiberon and TimberTech Azek say about mats on their decking?
Let’s start with the most important.
Why a rug on your deck?
We each have our own reason for wanting a rug on your deck. But there are some benefits a rug can bring to your deck.
- Define space
- Add colour to deck
- Complementary with the seasons and events
- Make more welcome
- Increase deck comfort
- Protect the deck
The primary reason for adding a rug to your deck is to define the space. A simple rug is an instant que that here is the sitting area. Giving a quick visual notification that you are entering a designated area of the deck
A rug also breaks up the possible mundane decking appearance. Many composite decks are a blah grey or brown decking.
Compliments everything, excites nothing.
Unless, of course, you integrate multiply board sizes and colours. But we rarely do.
A rug adds vibrant colours without complicated decking designs. Colours that you would never think of using as deck boards but work great for a rug on the deck. Like blues or purples and exciting reds.
A rug also allows us to change the appearance of our decks with the seasons or our changing moods. It can be expensive while requiring a lot of work to change your decking, but a rug can easily be rolled out with the latest fall colours. Increasing variety and enjoyment of your outdoor space.
“Deck rugs are inviting”
The increased colour and comfort make the space more welcoming. Without even thinking about it, we naturally gravitate towards the rug on the deck. Adding to the destination appeal of our deck. An essential design element to any deck.
We all love to kick off our shoes and enjoy being outdoors. A rug increases comfort under our bare feet. A rug can also make an unbearably hot composite decking cooler to the touch. Insulating your feet from the decking heat.
A rug can be a soft touch under our feet, along with reducing heat in the summer sun.
On top of all this, a rug can help protect your decking.
A well places rug under chairs and tables can minimize scratching of the deck as chairs are pulled out from under the table.
All while catching spills of food dropped from the table while enjoying a meal outside.
These are just 6 popular reasons to add a rug to your deck, but I am sure there are many more. We all have our own, why’s.
Now I know you want one, but.
How big should a deck rug be?
The size of deck rug is a balancing act. The rug needs to be large enough to provide sufficient coverage to be enjoyed. But small enough as not to take over the deck.
Ideally, an outdoor area rug on a deck should be 18″ (450mm) smaller than the deck area. An ideal deck for dining is 16′ x 12′ (4.8×3.6m). If we leave the minimum deck border of 18″ (450mm) the rug should be no bigger than 13′ x 9′ (3.9×2.7m).
But large enough to fit the table and the chairs around it. A quick rule is the table size plus 2′ (0.6m) on each side for chairs. A 40″ x 86″ dining table for 6 ideally will sit on a rug that is 7′ x 12′. An odd size.
A more common rug size 9′ x 12′.
Now more specifically, decking. The reasons for a deck rug and the best size apply to all decks regardless if they are pressure treated, cedar, Ipe or composite decking.
But there are some special considerations with composite decking. Starting with manufacturing suggestions.
Can you put an outdoor rug on a Composite decking like Trex?
That is an excellent question. Hate to ruin your beautiful and expensive deck with a cheap rug.
Let’s go to the experts, the manufacturers, for the answer.
“Most area rugs aren’t a problem with Trex decking, but we do recommend cleaning underneath them regularly. In rare cases, rugs made of plastic or viscose materials may bleed, drawing colorant out of the decking or making them difficult to remove. Always allow your decking to fully dry before fitting a rug into place.”
Well, Trex clearly is okay with a rug on their decking, with a few stipulations. Which we will get to more later.
Regardless of which brand of composite the key takeaway is rug material. Not all rugs are made the same or are equally suitable for composite decking.
Fiberon gets more specific of types of rugs or mats not to use on composite decking.
“Never use a rug or mat with a rubber, vinyl, or latex backing. Any of these products could leave marks on your composite or PVC decking. Use high-quality polypropylene mats or colorfast woven rugs only.”
With most composite decking cap with similar material regardless of the brand it is safe to apply Fiberon’s recommendation to all composite decking.
But always a good idea to check warranties. If they manufacture voids the warranty if you use a mat or rug. That’s a good sign that you shouldn’t.
Often the questions is more specifically material. Not Rug or no rug.
What Rug Material is Safe on Composite Decking?
PVC and Composite are great materials for low-maintenance decking, but some materials will react negatively. Discolouration is the most common damage.
Polypropylene is the best rug material on a composite deck. The top two reasons are.
- Treated to reduce fading from sun exposure
- Doesn’t absorb water
Your deck and the rug on it while enduring endless hours of UV from the sun. Possibly causing vibrant rug colours to fade.
Turning eye-catching red into a boring pink.
Quality composite decking should not fade in the sun.
Your deck rug should do the same. Keep its vibrant colour for years of summer enjoyment. Polypropylene is treated for precisely that. Not fade from sun exposure.
A wet rug sitting on a deck can cause mould and mildew to grow on the decking.
Like a wet sponge slowly releasing water on the deck. Feeding mildew and mould. Like a self-watering planter box with a continues supply of water.
It is critical for decking health not to trap water on the decking.
Polypropylene is great for a deck mat in that it doesn’t absorb water. It doesn’t matter how much it rains or how long you run the misters to cool your deck. The water will run right through the carpet, draining off the deck preventing mould or mildew from growing.
This also makes a polypropylene rug a great addition on a deck beside a pool. Water splashing from the pool or dripping off the kids as they climb out of the pool will not collect on the deck.
Just like composite decking, some polypropylene rugs are also made from recycled bottles. Just one more environmental benefit adding to your environmentally friendly composite decking.
Polyester is also a popular deck rug material. The biggest advantage is price. Polyester rugs cost less than most other rugs. Similar to polypropylene is its resistance to fading, mildew and mould.
But does not offer deck protection against oil-based products like sunscreen. One of the Achilles’ heel of composite decking is that suntan lotion can stain it.
“Avoid spraying insect repellent or applying any type of suntan/sunscreen product while on the deck. These products contain chemical ingredients that may react with the decking material and result in a stain on the decking surface.”
A polyester rug cannot be used as a safe zone for applying sunscreen because it will not protect the decking. Suntan lotion can leak through a polyester rug and stain the decking.
One drawback of polyester deck rugs is matting. With the lower prices comes easily seen travels paths on high used deck areas.
Rugs of natural fibres like bamboo, sisal, hemp or seagrass are gentle to the touch. Welcoming place for bare feet to relax. But are often more expensive than other rug options.
Natural fibres are also more prone to fading and mildew. And worst of all, they are often act like a sponge. Trapping water on the deck. Resulting in mould and mildew, and other nasty damage to the decking.
Possibly the best use for natural rugs is day use.
Unroll it when you are out reading on the deck, and then roll it up when you return to the house. Not to be left out overnight or in the rain but for your present enjoyment.
Those are 3 popular deck rugs material. The best being polypropylene.
But there is also some deck rug material you should avoid with composite decking.
Composite Decking Rugs to Avoid
“Avoid the use of rubber-backed mats… on the deck for any extended period of time as these items may cause discoloration to the decking surface.”
True for TimberTech decking and almost all composite decking. Rubber and composite are just not a good combination.
Rubber on the back of mats is often used to help hold the carpet in place but can damage the composite.
Another deck material not recommended is nylon. A durable, low maintenance material resistant to matting but with one huge drawback, heat.
Nylon in direct sunlight can become hot to the touch. Uncomfortably hot.
The days you will want to be out the most soaking up the sun on your deck. With a nylon rug, you will be playing.
“The floor is lava.”
Precariously walking around the rug to avoid burning your feet.
Better to buy a deck rug that protects from deck heat, not add to it.
Another material to avoid on deck rugs is metal grommets. They can cause rust stains on composite decking. Click the link to read how to clean rust stains from composite decking. But better to avoid the problem in the first place by not using a rock with metal grommets or hooks.
When can you use a rug on a Trex (composite) deck?
Before ordering a rug for your composite deck, a little warning. All decking fades.
Some like MoistureShield’s Vantage fade more than others composite decking.
But a rug on a new deck for the first three months will shelter the decking. Keeping the colour darker than the rest of the decking. Making an odd spot when your rearrange the deck furniture.
Better to avoid rugs for the first summer of your deck but after that. An outdoor rug can be an excellent addition to a composite deck.
Recommended Outdoor Rugs for Composite Decks
The deck rugs I have found that meet all the requirements for composite decks are from Sand Mine. They are good quality, affordable deck rugs that will not damage your composite deck.
- REVERSIBLE for you can flip them over for different occasions or to better reflect your deck decorations. But still, a classic design suited for almost any deck décor.
- PREMIUM Material: Made from 100% virgin polypropylene. The ideal rug material for composite decks, plus will not scratch the decking.
- UV coated to protect from fading. Your deck will get a lot of sun, your rug needs to be able to keeps its colour through all that sun.
- Durable Design: heat-treated edges to minimize fraying. The rug is also breathable allowing the decking under the rug to dry preventing mould and mildew.
- Low maintenance just like your decking. Dirt can be easily swept off or sprayed with a hose.
- Portable, so it can easily be folded up and stored away for the winter. It even comes with its own storage bag.