Will an outdoor rug damage a wood deck? Well, not all outdoor rugs are designed the same way to protect wood decks from damage.

The wrong choice can lead to unsightly stains, splinters, or even major structural problems with your deck.

Today we will be discussing different types of ​​outdoor rugs for decks and what to consider to avoid ruining your wooden deck.

Time to kill the suspense;

Will an Outdoor Rug Damage a Wood Deck?

Outdoor rugs made of natural fibers damage wood decks because they absorb water. This high moisture causes mold and mildew growth. On the other hand, synthetic rugs designed with tightly woven polypropylene material and recycled plastic mats offer additional protection for your decking. So it depends on the outdoor rug material.

Types of Outdoor Rugs for Decks

Outdoor rugs are durable and intended to protect your deck surface. They come in a variety of unique and luxurious textures, patterns, and colors.

Each type offers its unique feel. Rugs not only brighten up your outdoor space but also protect it from grime and dust.

Let’s look at the best outdoor rugs for wood decks.

Polypropylene outdoor rugs

Polypropylene is an excellent synthetic material designed to resemble sisal. This popular outdoor rug material is fade-resistant and stain-resistant. What’s more, it has a comfortable texture that’s super easy to maintain.

Polypropylene rugs can withstand harsh weather conditions and maintain the color of their patterns for a long time. And to top it up, they are water resistant.

Natural fiber rugs

Natural fiber rugs consist of organic materials. Such materials add a great texture to wood decks but don’t do well under humid conditions. Therefore, Natural fiber rugs are best used in indoor spaces.

Olefin rugs

Olefin is a synthetic material that is stain-resistant and mildew resistant. Olefin rugs are light and have soft fibers to give your foot a perfect feel on a warm, sunny summer afternoon.

Recycled plastic rug

Recycled plastic rugs are perfect for open outdoor spaces. Most homeowners love using plastic rugs to protect decks from damage caused by heavy furniture legs.

Placing just any outdoor carpet on your wood deck might cause wood rot, which is costly to repair. Therefore, you must avoid certain rug materials. The wrong choice would lead to staining, scratching, and discoloration, or fading.

How Durable is a Wood Deck?

Wood is an excellent choice for decking as it is hygroscopic: wood absorbs and releases moisture depending on how dry the surrounding environment is. Traditional wood decks have a lifespan of between 10 to 15 years.

Pros and Cons of Using an Outdoor Rug on Wooden Deck

The cost incurred in placing and maintaining an outdoor deck is high. So, before purchasing an outdoor rug, consider the boons and banes involved.

Pros of outdoor rug for deck

Protecting your deck

Wood decks get exposed to adverse weather conditions like sunlight and other elements. These elements take a toll on your wood deck, making it vulnerable. 

Laying the right outdoor rug that’s weather-resistant and stain-resistant will protect your wood deck.


Outdoor carpets are a great way to spruce up the look of your home without breaking the bank or committing to something as permanent as paint.

Plus, they come in a wide range of colors and styles, so you can find one that fits your home perfectly. You will always find an outdoor rug that matches your home style and taste.


The best outdoor rugs are not only stylish but also withstand extreme outdoor conditions. Outdoor rugs battle elements such as snow, ice, and dirt to keep your deck looking fresh and new all year round.

Easy maintenance

Exposed and bare wood decks need cleaning and maintenance from time to time, which can be tiresome. And who wants to add to this kind of trouble?

Outdoor rugs don’t need frequent cleaning and are easy to clean and maintain. As a result, you don’t have to worry about a lot of maintenance or any extra work when keeping your rug in good shape. It’s easy-peasy!

Rug on deck: The cons

Uneven coverage

In most cases, most outdoor rugs do not cover the whole deck, especially if you have a large deck or concrete patio. Unfortunately, this results in uneven discoloration or fading over time. (Read more on the wood deck vs concrete patio cost to help you make an informed decision about the best choice for your outdoor space.)

Breeding ground for wood pests

Outdoor rugs can provide a perfect environment for woodlice and wood ants. These parasites damage wood decks leading to costly repairs or even replacements.

Will an Outdoor Rug Damage a Composite Deck?

It depends. Outdoor rug materials backed with latex, rubber, or fixed with accents and metal grommets harm composite decking.

However, Synthetic material rugs, barbeque grill mats, vinyl-backed mats, or colorfast woven rugs are safe for your composite deck.

Composite decking is famous for its durability and moisture resistance; it’s designed with recycled wood fibers and plastics and encapsulated with an outer layer to make it denser, stronger, and heavier compared to wood.

For extra protection, there’s a whole list of the best paint for composite decking that you can use to further strengthen the deck and make it last longer. All in all, always try to avoid accent rugs to keep the integrity of your decking.

See also: What is the best composite decking?

What’s the Best Outdoor Rug Material?

Polypropylene is the best outdoor rug material. Polypropylene material is stain-resistant, a great feature, especially if you have young children and pets.

It’s solid and durable, easy to clean, and can handle high moisture and heavy foot traffic. Moreover, it’s fade-resistant and can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Polypropylene outdoor rug materials are best for damp, humid, and rainy climates.

It costs a lot to refurbish a stained, rotting, or discolored wood deck. And outdoor rugs made of synthetic materials are safe for wood decks as they absorb water and dry fast.

What Kind of Outdoor Rugs Ruin Decks?

Rugs made of natural fibers like jute backing and sisal have water collect underneath. The moisture attracts moths and becomes a perfect breeding ground for mildew and mold growth.

Avoid rugs with rubber backings as they tend to trap a lot of moisture. With time, the wood soaks in water, turns black, and rots.

It would be best if you also avoided non-perforated rug pads that do not drain water. Cotton and wool rugs as well do not dry fast; hence not safe for wood decks.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Outdoor Rug for Wood Deck

Have you decided to decorate or protect your wood deck? If Yes, the next step will be finding the right rug that’s safe for wood decks and also suits your taste and preference.

Given the vast number of options available in the market, finding a suitable rug can be a daunting process. However, we are here to make sure you make the right choice.

That said, consider the factors below before buying an outdoor rug for your wood deck.


Choosing a suitable outdoor rug material is crucial. An outdoor carpet should be easy to clean and keep off insects and rodents that feed on wood.

The recommended material ought to be fire-resistant. Moreover, it should not shed its fibers as they can cause allergies. In this case, polypropylene rugs are the best outdoor rugs that suit this category.


Outdoor rugs come in a variety of fancy colors, designs, and patterns. As you choose a color that best suits your taste and style, take a rug that blends with your outdoor space.

While bright colors make your decking area look inviting and roomy, they become dirty quickly. On the other hand, dull colors create a cozier environment and hide dirt and stains.


Work within your budget. Balance affordability with quality. Choose a high-quality outdoor rug that’s affordable.


In most cases, your wood deck space determines the size of your rug. The appropriate size should allow at least the front legs of all-important seating furniture to sit on the rug to create a balanced look.


Weather is a crucial factor when purchasing an outdoor rug. If you live in a rain-prone environment, it’s best if you buy a water-resistant rug. For the sunny region, we recommend a heat-resistant rug.

In contrast, a heavy synthetic outdoor rug is ideal for windy areas to prevent the rug from getting blown away by the wind.

Wood board spacing

Lay an outdoor rug on wood decks that have spaces between wood planks. It allows for proper aeration and drainage, which is suitable for your deck’s durability.

Wood decks with no space between planks trap heat and moisture, causing wood decay. Consequently, it’s not advisable to use outdoor rugs on such decks.

How Do You Maintain an Outdoor Rug on a Wooden Deck – Do’s and Don’ts


  • Spot and repair any damages on the deck like rotten planks, loose nails, and wood splinters before laying a rug. Here’s how to fix splintered wood deck.
  • Remove your rugs and clean once or twice a year. Allow the deck to dry completely before putting the rug back. As you clean, check for minor defects on the deck to see if the outdoor rug serves its purpose.
  • Remove, clean, and dry your outdoor rug when it rains or when people step on it with muddy footwear. Cleaning will prevent the mud stains from getting soaked into the rug fibers and the wood deck.
  • Use a rug pad on the rug to prevent scraping and slipping of your wood deck. Alternatively, hold your rug down with carpet tape.
  •  Put the front leg of your outdoor furniture on the rug.
  • Always ensure both the bottom and topside are properly dried by flipping over your rug.
  • You should dry excess water between the rug and your wood deck to prevent rot and mildew growth.


  • Don’t place an outdoor rug on a damp wood deck. Your deck must be completely dry before covering with an outdoor rug.
  • Don’t purchase an outdoor rug before measuring the area it will occupy. 
  • Don’t bring your indoor rugs outside.

Related Post: Is Composite Decking Slippery When Wet?

Tips for Maintaining Outdoor Rugs

Your quality and valuable outdoor mats need good care to ensure they last longer.

  1. After rainfall or a wash, let them dry completely in the sun on both sides before putting them back.
  2. When your rug gets stained or spilled on, clean them immediately.
  3. For the longevity of your outdoor rug, buy a rug pad.
  4. Before the snow season, clean your rug and wrap it with plastic to keep it from insects.
  5. Use leaf blowers to get rid of dirt and outdoor debris.

Read also: How to remove mold from wood furniture.

What is the Best Outdoor Rugs for Wood Decks

If you want a stylish and comfortable deck, an outdoor rug is a perfect solution.

Will an outdoor rug damage a wood deck? Yes and no. Most outdoor rugs made of synthetic fibers or polypropylene are perfect for outdoor conditions and will keep your deck in good shape.

However, using other outdoor carpet materials can gradually damage your deck and patio.

The bottom line is: always go for the best outdoor rugs for wood decks.

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