Will an Outdoor Rug Damage a Wood Deck?

Last updated on May 6th, 2022

A deck is a wooden platform, usually elevated from the ground but typically built outdoors at the back of the home or by the side. It offers you the basics to create a room outside where you can unwind. Once you have a deck built, you might want to transform it to look better by adding extra decorative touches.

One such decorative element is an outdoor rug. Covering wood decks with outdoor rugs make them look attractive and helps warm your feet. They help to prevent scratches and scuffs on the deck. However, these rugs also have their cons when used on wood decks, leading to the question, “will an outdoor rug damage a wood deck?”

An outdoor rug can damage a wood deck if it’s allowed to hold moisture for extended periods. This is why it’s crucial to dry your rug as soon as it gets wet. I would recommend using a railing for drying, or you can roll up the rug and lay it under the sun in another area away from the deck.

To greatly minimize wetness, it is best to go for outdoor rugs made of synthetic plastic materials such as polypropylene or recycled plastic. These rugs are water-resistant and so retain the least amount of water. This is very important to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

Can you put outdoor carpet on a wood deck?

Yes, you can put outdoor carpet on a wood deck. Like rugs, outdoor carpets are great for adding comfort to your decking and giving it a decorative lift. Some carpets last longer than others. In fact, some last for as long as 20 years with proper maintenance and cleaning.

Having a pergola or shade over a carpeted deck area can significantly increase its lifespan and help keep it clean.

Why use outdoor rugs on wood decks?

Outdoor rugs brighten up your space and give it a more cohesive look. Rugging your deck also protects it from dust and grime. And whenever you move a piece of furniture, you won’t worry about your deck getting scraped or scratched. You can even place items with metal footing and not have to worry about the rust staining your deck.

Secondly, bare wood decks aren’t exactly the coziest and most comfortable surface for your underfoot. You can warm up your space by using a rug. Like carpets, outdoor rugs provide warmth and comfort, making it more enjoyable to walk on the deck barefoot.

Factors to consider when purchasing outdoor rugs for wood decks

Finding a suitable outdoor rug for your deck can be a daunting task, given the huge number of options out there. Here are the key things to look at to ensure you make the right choice.


Choosing the right rug material is essential, not only because it would make cleaning easier but also keep insects out of your wood deck. The material should also be one that can withstand heat and won’t shed fibers or dust.

I find propylene to be the best in this case. Generally, anything synthetic fabric will work fine for wood. Thus polyester and nylon are two other good options.

Pile height

Pile height is the thickness of the carpet. They vary from low to high, with the lowest being (¼ inch), medium (½ inch), and high (½ t ¾ inch). Choosing an appropriate pile height is highly dependent on where you plan to place the carpet.

For an area with lots of movements, a high-pile rug works best. They are loosely woven, so they feel softer and more comfortable. However, they are not as easy to clean and maintain as low pile rugs.


Outdoor rugs are generally affordable, so you can find something of good quality within your budget range.


In the same way you size rugs for indoor use, also consider how much you will need for your wood deck.

The right size depends on the space on your wood board. Ideally, you want to choose a rug that doesn’t cover the decking completely. There should be enough spacing between the planks to prevent moisture buildup.


When it comes to outdoor rug colors, the list is nearly endless. You will find virtually any imaginable color. The same applies to patterns and designs.

While you want to choose a color that appeals to you, it’s also important you pick something that will work well in your environment.

Choosing bright, bold colors increases the virtual landscape of your deck; however, they easily get dirty, and the stains are more visible. In contrast, dirt and stains are less noticeable on dull or darker-colored rugs.

What are the pros and cons of placing outdoor rugs on wood decks?


  • Long-lasting

As long as you choose the right outdoor rug, you can expect it to last for a long time. This is obviously more convenient and cost-effective compared to using rugs that you have to replace frequently.

Outdoor rugs are built to withstand the elements and are suitable for high-traffic areas. Some are made from naturally sourced materials such as wool and sink, while others are made of synthetics such as polypropylene.

  • Beautiful Styles and Designs

Outdoor rugs come in various designs, colors, shapes, sizes, patterns, and colors so they can transform a dull-looking wood deck into a beautiful center of attraction. So, regardless of your style preference or your outdoor décor, you will always find something to match your wood deck.

  • Help Protect Your Deck

Although outdoor rugs add beauty to your deck, their primary purpose is to offer protection. Without any cover, your wood deck is exposed to sun rays and other elements that can potentially wear it out over time. So having a rug makes sense, especially when there’s no shade or pergola over deck.

Even when you have a shade, there’s still the possibility of spilling chemicals on the bare wood, which can cause damage. So, having an outdoor rug or carpet is absolutely necessary.

  • Easy to Maintain

Another good thing about using outdoor rugs on wood decks is that it makes the job of maintenance a lot easier. Bare wood decks get pretty dusty quickly, so you will need to clean them more frequently. Unless you enjoy doing chores, you will find this very tiring.

By covering the deck with a rug, you can save yourself more cleaning time.


  • Can Become a Haven for Insects

Outdoor rugs can quickly become a breeding place for insects such as ants, lice, and termites. The presence of these insects due to wetness and moisture buildup can be harmful to your wood deck as they can attack the wood, which often results in costly damages over time.

  • Incomplete covering

A lot of times, the size of outdoor rugs don’t match that of the deck. As a result, the rug is not able to cover the whole deck. Consequently, you have parts of the wood deck that’s still exposed to the elements. These parts tend to fade sooner, so the deck color or outlook is uneven.

Can you put an outdoor carpet on a composite deck?

Yes, you can put an outdoor carpet on a composite deck. However, you will need a carpet or rug that doesn’t retain moisture. Synthetic material carpets and rugs are usually the best options. These include carpets or rugs made of polypropylene, polyester, or similar materials. These materials do not only repel water but are also stain-resistant and easy to clean. They can even be treated to prevent fading.Will an Outdoor Rug Damage a Wood Deck


Although composite decks are ordinarily resistant to moisture damage, they can still be affected by some types of carpets. Even though molds won’t breed on the decking, they can grow on the carpet that retains moisture. Over time, if the mold is not removed, it might stain the deck. This can become a problem if the stains are not cleaned on time. The integrity of your deck can be compromised.

You should also avoid carpets with materials such as rubber or latex on composite decking. These can leave scratches and discolor the decking.

Do’s and Don’ts of Outdoor rugs on wood decks

Using outdoor rugs on wood decks means there are things you can or can’t do. Some of these are highlighted below:


  • To prevent slipping and scraping of your wood deck, use a rug pad on the rug.
  • Make sure you repair all damages on your wood deck before placing a rug. These may include splinters, spoilt planks, loose nails, and the likes. Not resolving these issues before covering the decking will only make things worse.
  • Choose outdoor rugs that are constructed with synthetic materials such as recycled plastic or polypropylene. These rugs are designed to withstand the elements and are easy to clean and maintain.
  • Make sure the wood deck is completely dry before you cover any part of it. Failure to do this will only promote mold and rot, which can damage the wood faster.
  • Clean the wood deck thoroughly at least once annually. I personally recommend every four months if you have time.
  • Once you notice a stain on the rug, clean it immediately and dry it. Don’t allow it to get into the rug fibers, or else it will become more difficult to erase.


  • Don’t purchase an outdoor rug until you’ve measured the area you want to use the rug for.
  • Avoid rugs made of organic materials such as jute or bamboo. These rugs can be difficult to clean and are simply not made for the conditions outside. They retain more water which can encourage mold buildup on your decking.
  • Don’t use rugs for extended periods. Change them occasionally, and inspect the wood for any defect. This can be accompanied by a light cleanup.

What are some of the best outdoor rugs for wood decks?

1. Green Decore Outdoor Plastic Nirvana Rug

The lightweight outdoor plastic Nirvana area rug is the closest you can get when looking for a rug that offers a perfect combination of quality and utility. With its stylish, intuitive design, you will hardly find a better candidate for a patio or deck upgrade.

There are many color styles options to choose from depending on your taste. The most popular ones are black, taupe, and navy. These colors will fit anywhere. However, there are others like Teal Blue, Yellow, and Leaf Green, which you can consider if you want something bolder and vibrant.

Will an Outdoor Rug Damage a Wood Deck

Interestingly, the rug is woven from high-quality recycled plastic and has an overall weight of 11.28 pounds, which makes it pretty easy to carry. The use of recycled plastic makes it eco-friendly. It also feels soft and comfortable barefoot. Maintenance is almost non-existent, and it doesn’t shed or fade.

Since it’s all plastic, there’s no place for water to lodge, which makes it quite safe for your wood deck. Cleaning is very easy. In case of any spill or particle buildup, just hose off or wipe clean with a moist fabric. The rug dries very fast.

Besides decks, Nirvana can also be used on a patio, and since it’s easy to carry, you will enjoy using it for picnics, sun-worshipping, or similar activities.

2. Superior Modern Rockwood Collection Area Rug

Despite being made of high-quality polypropylene material, the Superior Modern Rockwood rug is still very affordable. It’s our winner for the perfect blend of quality and price. The use of polypropylene makes it perfect for outdoor use. Like the first product, it is resistant to shedding, water, and fade. It will also take a lot to get it stained.

The material also has a plush and soft feel that keeps your underfoot warm and comfortable. It has a dimension of 3×5 inches and can be used both outdoors and indoors to brighten up your living room, basement, or wood deck. Thanks to its extravagant, eye-catching chocolate design.

Interestingly, the rug also features a durable jute backing that helps to keep it in place and prevent slipping, which is a common problem with many outdoor rugs. Durability is not an issue, and the rug works great even in high-traffic areas. The rug is pretty easy to clean and maintain and fits easily into most outdoor settings and home décor.

3. Smart Design SMM006 Reversible Outdoor/Indoor Rug

Made from recycled plastic, the rug is highly durable and works great for outdoor use. It is very easy to clean and maintain and can be used from both sides. So, when one side is dirty, you can simply turn the rug to the other side. This is why it’s called a “reversible” rug because you can reverse the sides. This allows for prolonged use and reduces cleaning times.

The rug comes in a variety of color shades, sizes, and patterns, so it’s easier to find the ideal match for your deck and outdoor décor. Specifically, this includes grey, blue, green, and white.

To enhance its durability, the rug is tightly woven and is easy to fold and store. It is comfortable and soft underfoot. It is resistant to fade, sun, water, and mold.


As you can see, whether or not your outdoor rug damages your wood deck is greatly determined by the type of material you’re using.

So make sure you go for the best outdoor rugs for wood decks. You can start with the ones we listed above.

As long as you buy the right rug, you can rest assured your deck will be safe and won’t suffer any damage.

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