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Will Outdoor Carpet Rot Your Deck?

Outdoor carpets are a great option if you want to provide protection and a softer surface to an outside area, but will outdoor carpet rot your deck if you choose to place it there?

Whether an outdoor carpet will rot your deck depends entirely on the material of your deck and the backing of the outdoor carpet. Natural fibre outdoor carpets are more likely to cause damage to your deck, whereas synthetic materials such as polypropylene are less likely to cause damage and rotting.

Join us as we take a deeper look into what materials cause rotting on outdoor decks and how to prevent this from happening in the future.

What Carpet Materials Cause Damage To Outdoor Decks?

The main problem that causes damage to decks is when an outdoor carpet is prone to holding in moisture. If an excess of moisture is built up and unable to properly filter out, this creates an environment that promotes the growth of mold and mildew, leading to rotting.

The materials used in some outdoor carpets are therefore dangerous if they trap water easily – let’s see which materials are notorious for this.

Natural Fibres

Natural fibres such as wool, cotton and jute make for great materials for towels and even clothes as they are able to hold quite a large amount of water for their volume. This also means they are not the best option in an outdoor environment where rainfall is inevitable.

If you decide to use a natural fibre be prepared to go the extra mile to keep it dry, otherwise you could end up with rotting before you can even realise it has happened.

Rubber Backed Carpets

Outdoor carpets usually have some kind of backing, and often this backing is made from a thin layer of rubber to provide grip.

Rubber backing is great for durability and cost, but they are also prone to capturing moisture due to this design to add more grip. Carefully check your outdoor carpet for a rubber backing to see whether the design is prone to capturing moisture or not – in most cases this will be the case.

What Carpet Materials Are Safe For Outdoor Decks?

All hope is not lost, there are still quite a few material options that won’t cause your decking to rot.

Synthetic Materials

Synthetic materials such as polypropylene, recycled plastic and polyester are usually the best options when it comes to outdoor carpets on decking.

This is because synthetic materials are not only very durable and suited for harsh environments, but they are great for not absorbing and holding an excess of water – excess water being the main reason why your decking could begin to rot.

If you’re ever unsure what material exactly to choose, then it’s best to opt with a synthetic material.

How To Protect Your Deck From Your Outdoor Carpet

If replacement isn’t an option and you need a quick way to protect your deck from an outdoor carpet there are a few things you can do.

Keep The Carpet Dry

Keeping your carpet dry can only last for so long, but it’s an effective way to keep any damage down to a minimum at least in the short term.

Keep your carpet indoor overnight to make sure it doesn’t get soaked through the night, and make sure to keep it inside if there are any forecasts for heavy rain. You will also need to periodically sweep underneath, and you can also ring out the carpet if it becomes saturated.

Use A Suitable Rug Pad

A rug pad can create space between your outdoor carpet and decking which can result in better filtration for water. If you have a rug pad ideally made from synthetic material, then you can place this underneath your outdoor carpet to improve filtration.

The trick with this method is making sure that the pad itself is suited to let water escape from it. If you choose a pad that will promote a build-up of water, you might just make the problem twice as bad.

Other Factors To Consider Before Buying An Outdoor Carpet For Your Deck

Material isn’t the only thing you want to consider when buying an outdoor carpet for your deck.

It’s also important to consider the durability, color and pile height of the carpet as well.


Outdoor carpets are required to be more durable than just about any other carpet on the market. They have to endure not only changing weather conditions but also varying temperatures and large amounts of footfall.

For this reasons durability should be something that you need to consider before you jump ahead and buy an outdoor carpet.


Color is probably something you haven’t considered, but it really should be.

The brighter the color you go for, the worse it will look over time. Outdoor carpets collect dust and dirt like no other carpet, which can be made worse depending on the climate you live in.

If you go for a bright color like yellow or orange then be prepared for it to look a lot worse within a matter of days. Darker colors will hide dirt and dust much better and won’t require as much maintenance because of it.

Pile Height

The lower the pile of your outdoor carpet the easier it will be to clean and maintain. This is because lower piles reduce the amount of space for dirt to become trapped within the fibres, meaning cleaning and regular maintenance such as vacuuming become much, much easier.

Can Rotted Decks Be Repaired?

If your deck has already rotted as a result of an outdoor carpet, then you might be left wondering if the rotted area can be repaired.

This will all depend on how far the rotting has penetrated into your decking. If only one panel has been affected then it can be quite easy to simply replace it, but you’ll need to check extensively for any other signs of damage.

Rotted wood is always beyond repair so replacement is the only real solution if you have any.

Final Thoughts

The key to protecting your deck from an outdoor carpet is choosing the right material, such as polypropylene, that will not promote a buildup of water.

Settled water is the main reason why your deck could start to rot, as it can promote the growth of mold and mildew which can lead to rotting. If you have any other questions relating to rotting decking and outdoor carpets then please let us know by using the contact form.