How to find your ideal composite deck board color

At first glance, selecting a composite decking color might seem challenging. It’s a big design decision and there are so many options. Fiberon composite decking, for example, is available in 17 colors – everything from dramatic multi-tonal options to solid shades. But don’t let that intimidate you. Here are some quick tips to simplify the process, making it fun and practically foolproof.

1. Start with the basics: decking color families.

Even if you have no idea which specific deck board color you want, chances are you tend to favor a particular group of colors. For example, you may have a coastal home and want a gray board, or you may love the look of cedar and want that reflected in your decking. To make it easier to compare similar shades, Fiberon composite decking is organized into four categories:

  • Grays (everything from “greige” to graphite)
  • Golden browns (options from warm tan to a sun-kissed brown)
  • Classic browns (traditional mid-tone brown to rich chocolate)
  • Reddish brown (sophisticated shades with artful blending of browns and reds)

Fiberon Symmetry Decking in Graphite featured on HGTV'S Brother vs. Brother

2. Consider the color of your home.

Your home is the biggest element in your backyard space, so you’ll want your deck color to complement it. By choosing a complementary tone, not necessarily an exact match, you will ensure that the deck has just enough contrast to set it apart from your home.

Fiberon Symmetry decking in Cinnabar
A rich brown with red highlights, Fiberon Symmetry Decking in Cinnabar provides a delightful contrast to this beautiful blue home.

If your home is yellow, beige, tan, or brown, almost any tan or brown deck board should work. Just watch the undertones and level of contrast. If your home is red, gray, or blue, you could opt for these same colors or go with a gray board. Reddish-brown boards, such Fiberon Symmetry Decking in Cinnabar, work well with a range of colors (even red bricks if the contrast is right), and they make your landscaping really pop. In fact, for people who still suffer through staining a wood deck, red cedar stain is a popular choice. Of course, if your house is white, the world is pretty much your oyster. Any color should work.


Fiberon Guide to Decking

3. Don’t overlook the undertones.

Decking colors have warm or cool undertones. As you may recall from learning the color wheel in school, undertones of yellow, orange, or red result in warmer colors (Fiberon Symmetry Warm Sienna or Fiberon Horizon Ipe, for example). Undertones of blue, green, or violet lend themselves to cooler colors (such as Fiberon Symmetry Graphite). Speaking of which, while gray is considered a neutral color, it can have decidedly warm undertones or cool undertones. To ensure your decking color and house color are harmonious, stick to either warm or cool undertones for both.

4. Think about backyard sun exposure.

Any material in all-day sun will get warm; darker colors will, of course, heat up the most. Sit outside on a summer day in a black shirt, for instance, and you’re likely to feel much hotter than if you were wearing a white shirt. It’s the same with composite decking, regardless of manufacturer. If your deck gets full sun exposure all day, every day, you might do well to opt for a lighter-colored board. (Side note: Consider adding an awning or pergola for relief from the relentless rays. Your deck furniture and cushions will thank you as well.)  If you live in a cooler climate or have limited sun exposure on your deck, darker colors should be less of a concern.

5. Go with the flow.

We talk a lot about seamless transitions from indoors to outdoors, usually in the context of using hidden fasteners for a smooth decking surface. However, as you move from one space to the other, there is also a visual transition to consider. For this reason, you may want to consider a board color that is comparable to your indoor flooring color. This will minimize the visual disconnect between the spaces to create a more harmonious and upscale look.  Hidden deck fasteners, such as Fiberon Universal plastic hidden fasteners, also provide a smooth visual and physical transition from indoors to outdoors.

6. Use strategic color placement.

Picture-framed deck by Fiberon composite decking
Picture-framing and contrasting breaker boards amp up visual appeal. (Shown: Fiberon Symmetry in Burnt Umber and Warm Sienna.)

If you’re seeking a bigger visual impact with your decking color, consider using more than one board -- just be strategic in your approach. For example, use one color for the interior deck boards and a contrasting shade around the edges. This is a popular technique called deck picture-framing, and it’s a great way to add visual interest and create a more custom look. Plus, if you’re using grooved edge boards with hidden fasteners on the main sections of your deck, picture-framing the perimeter with square edge boards will create a more polished look.

composite dock in herringbone design
If you have some serious DIY skills or are enlisting the help of a creative contractor, you could also consider a herringbone pattern with alternating light and dark boards, or add an inlay of darker boards on a lighter background (or vice versa).

Fiberon Horizon Ipe and Tudor Brown were used in a spectacular herringbone on this commercial dock.


7. Take advantage of online design tools.

The Fiberon Outdoor Living Visualizer is a free, easy-to-use tool that lets you test out decking colors against various house designs. And, because you can select the house color as well, you’ll have a more accurate representation of how your choices will look against your own home. If you’re planning to install Fiberon composite railing on your new space, the Product Visualizer lets you test railing styles, baluster options, and colors as well.

Some other Fiberon online tools to consider:

  •  The Fiberon Deck Designer lets you “build” your deck – as simple or elaborate as you wish – plus get a 3D rendering and materials list right down to the final fastener.
  •  The Fiberon Deck Cost Calculator provides a ballpark estimate of what your beautiful new composite decking and railing will cost. Simply enter your deck dimensions and select your preferred product(s).
    Use Fiberon’s online tools for inspiration and information before you speak with a contractor.
8. Order a sample. Or two. Or three.

Use our online tools and visit a local Fiberon dealer to see decking colors in person. If that’s not possible, or if you really want to be sure (after all, a new composite deck is a big purchase), take advantage of the Fiberon deck and railing sample program. You can order multiple boards for a nominal fee and test them against your house color to find your perfect match. Consider ordering several colors and more than one board style if you’re not sure which product will be best for you.

There’s a lot to consider when building a new composite deck. Choosing the board color is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful decision. Remember the tips we’ve provided and take full advantage of online tools and sample programs. Start now!


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