Investing in high-quality decking for your garden, terrace, or balcony can increase the property’s value. You will also be adding a versatile outdoor space for you and your family to enjoy.
Choosing the best decking material can be challenging because of all the factors that need to be considered. Cost, longevity, and style are all significant factors when choosing decking materials, as is durability.
The durability of the decking you choose will determine how much maintenance will be required to keep it looking great and even impact how long the decking lasts.
This guide will look at scratch-resistant composite decking materials, the main causes of scuffs and scratches, and how to avoid them and care for your composite decking.
Is Composite Decking Scratch Proof?
There are many different kinds of composite decking, and checking the specifications from suppliers before purchasing is essential.
Ecoscape Forma composite decking offers great protection against scuffs, scrapes, staining, and fading. This protection is possible because of the durable polymer outer shell that encapsulates the board.
Uncapped composite decking is significantly more susceptible to scratches and scrapes.
Capped composite decking offers more protection and requires less maintenance than a wood deck, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a long-lasting, attractive option.
Typical Causes of Scratches and Scuffs
Scratches and scuffs will inevitably happen. It is only natural for the flooring to face wear and tear after installation, so it is important to choose the right decking material for your needs.
A durable surface will be required for consumers that want their decking to stay in good shape for as long as possible.
Ecospace offers two composite decking options: Clarity and Forma. Clarity composite decking comes with a 20-year warranty, and Forma composite decking has a 25-year warranty.
With warranties of this length, it is important that it is able to withstand regular use.
Here are some of the most common causes of scratches and scuffs that your decking might face;
All decking materials will require some form of maintenance. Decking made from composite material will require significantly less than traditional wooden decking, but you will still have to care for it if you want it to last.
Using harsh chemicals or sharp objects to clean composite material can compromise the integrity of the surface.
Using a soft bristle brush rather than hard bristles is also recommended so the surface doesn’t undergo any unnecessary and rough abrasion.
Standing Water and Weather
While exposure to standing water and inclement weather conditions won’t typically scratch or scuff the surface, it can weaken and affect the surface and make it more susceptible to damage.
Appropriate drainage is essential both on the deck and beneath it. This should be a consideration during installation.
A deck should have a natural gradient of around 1.25%, and this won’t be noticeable when using the deck but should allow runoff. The grooves should also flow with the gradient to promote runoff.
Regular sweeping to remove debris and dirt will minimise the risk of gaps becoming blocked and stop water from pooling.
The general use of your decking will naturally affect its appearance over time, and the type of footwear you use on it can have a significant impact.
High-traffic areas at doors or stairs will typically be most susceptible to scuffs and scrapes.
Dogs running on composite decking or cats using it as a scratch post can be a big problem. Even if you don’t have pets, neighbour’s pets or other animals can also cause issues with decking.
Anyone with children will tell you that accidents can still happen with all the care in the world.
Kids playing with toys, knocking things over, or expending their endless supplies of energy by running up and down your decking can cause scuffs and scratches.
Most decking has some form of furniture on it. Heavy furniture can cause scuffs, scrapes, or scratches when being moved, and this can happen easily and should be considered when buying furnishings and patio furniture for your decking.
How to Protect a Composite Deck from Scratches
Even if you select a scratch-resistant composite decking, you should still be careful not to damage it as it won’t be completely impervious to damage.
Here are some top tips to help you protect scratch-resistant composite decking from deep scratches, scrapes, scuffs, or other damage.
Use Mats in High Foot Traffic Areas
Using mats to protect high-traffic areas can minimise the regular damage footfall can cause. However, if you plan to place mats near stairs, ensure they do not cause a trip hazard.
Regularly moving furniture can also help divert traffic to different decking areas. Keeping tables and chairs in the same position will encourage people to use the same paths to get to them. Changing this up can minimise this risk.
Consider placing outdoor rugs under heavy furniture pieces to reduce the risk of scratches as they are moved around.
We aren’t telling you to keep disposable slippers by the door anytime people want to walk on your decking, and most shoes won’t have a huge impact.
That said, footwear like high heels or football boots should be avoided whenever possible as they can exert significantly more pressure than the sole of a flat shoe.
Regular sweeping will minimise the risk of dirt and debris blocking the gaps in your decking. Blocked deck gaps can cause issues with water pooling on the deck.
Dirt and debris like small stones, sticks, or twigs can also be walked into the deck boards causing tiny cuts or scrapes that will develop and worsen over time.
If you are clearing snow or ice, use a plastic snow shovel rather than a metal one.
Minimise the Risk of Scratched Decking Caused by Pets
Controlling pets can be difficult, but there are ways to minimise the risk of damage.
Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed and ensuring they are well exercised should minimise the risk of long nails causing damage to deck boards.
Cats might seem more difficult to deal with, especially if neighbour’s cats come into your garden. Scratching will be difficult to stop, so installing cat-friendly scratch posts should help to divert them away from damaging the deck boards.
Minimise the Risk of Scratched Decking Caused by Children
Investing in a play mat for younger kids and only allowing softer toys on the decking should minimise the risk of heavier, sharper toys damaging the surface if they’re dropped on it.
Minimise the Risk of Furniture Scrapes
Lighter furniture is better for decking as it puts less stress on the deck boards and minimises the risk of damage when moving.
If you are moving furniture on your decking, lifting it rather than dragging it should also minimise the risk of scuffs or scrapes.
You will also be able to invest in foam, rubber, or silicone furniture pads to cushion the bottom of the table and chair legs.
Dealing with Surface Scratches on Composite Decking
Even when you exert great care on your decking, from time to time, small scrapes and scuffs can appear.
There are ways to deal with small scrapes and scuffs to make them less apparent, which are detailed below.
Not all methods work on every type of decking; testing these methods on an offcut can also be a great way to ensure you don’t worsen the original damage.
Traditional Composite Decks
Gently sanding the affected area to smooth it down can minimise the harsh appearance of a scrape.
Using sandpaper with 60-grit coarseness and moving with the grain can make a difference.
The area will typically appear lighter at first before natural weathering makes it blend in. This option is possible as the Clarity range is the same material all the way through the product.
Capped Composite Decks
Heat guns can also be used carefully to repair scrapes on capped composite decking. The heat method is more effective for deeper scratches but should be used extremely carefully.
Always test any method on an offcut to see the result before going straight to your decking.
A heat gun should not be held too closely or be at too high a temperature. A distance of around 3 inches for a temperature of 450°C should be sufficient. The heat should not be targeted on one area of the decking and should be moved gently and slowly around the area on the damaged board.
Coloured pens/crayons are recommend for scratches on a capped deck as it will take your eye away from the harsh scratch.
How to Properly Maintain Scratch Resistant Composite Decking
Maintaining scratch-resistant composite boards is relatively straightforward. Regular sweeping to remove dirt and debris should help to keep the deck in good condition.
When you need to give it a proper clean, you should first sweep it clear before using a hose to wash off any loose dirt.
Warm, soapy water should then be used to scrub the deck board and remove any stubborn dirt. A soft bristle brush should be used to minimise abrasion.
After washing the deck, hose it to remove any soapy residue before drying it or sweeping off excess water.
Is composite more scratch resistant than wood decking?
Yes, composite is more scratch resistant than wooden decking. However, the scratch resistance offered by different composite options can differ.
Softwood and hardwood also offer significantly different durability levels, so you should always check the specifications of all boards before investing in them.
Is composite a more expensive option than wood?
Yes, high-quality composite is typically more expensive than wood decking. However, the benefits that composite offers consumers can make it a cost-effective, long-term option. Some hardwoods can be very expensive.
Is composite difficult to install?
No, composite is not difficult to install, and professionals will typically be able to complete a decking project within one to three days.
The excellent benefits of composite make it a popular choice in the UK, and its durability ensures it can withstand UK weather and gives it a long lifespan.
The low-maintenance material is easy to take care of, and its scratch-resistant properties make it perfect for families with young children and pets.
Decking can be an expensive investment but buying the right materials means it will last a long time, look great, and even add value to your property.