Which is Better Vinyl or Composite Decking?
Scratch resistance is a major factor to be considered when researching the best composite decking for your project. Buying the most competitively price composite board may initially be beneficial, however, if the boards scratch resistance is low, the composite board will be noticeably damaged in a short space of time, leaving an unsightly decking area.
With that being said in time, all decking will eventually experience scratches, some may perform better than others. In terms of material choices, composites are one of the most scratch resistant (not scratchproof) materials available. However, composite decking still varies in terms of durability. So, which is the most scratch-resistant?
Look For the Best Brand
When looking for the best scratch resistant decking, many homeowners turn to different brands. When it comes to affordable prices for high quality decking boards, composite decking is one of the best choices.
Composite decking has developed over the years supplying two options first and second generation decking boards. Both these boards perform differently in relation to scratches and removing the scratches or even preventing them, is completely different due to there manufacturing process. We will take a look at this in little more detail below.
If you want the best, find a reputable and well established decking brand. Some companies also offer samples of their products. If so, don’t hesitate to ask them to send you some. On receipt, you can do some scratch tests and see which is the most scratch resistant.
Consider the generation and design of the composite decking board
Grooved first generation boards
The grooved finish is a common profile and design in the market, in which you will come across when searching for composite decking. Grooved boards are mostly first generation composite decking, with a surface layer of wood fibres, powders and hdpe plastic. They normally don’t come in second generation with a plastic protective layer.
Truthfully, all composite decking will scratch if enough force is applied. Where this design is worth a mention, is how easy it is to remove scratches, which is by simply rubbing with a soft wire brush. So, if you’re in the market and researching the best scratch resistant option, these most definitely should be a consideration.
Wood grain first generation boards
Wood grain finish
Wood grain composite decking is again a popular profile on the market, especially in the hollow design. All composite decking is not produced the same. Why this is mentioned, is the production technique can change the colour, look and performance in different areas depending on the production techniques used. For example, usually wood grain composite decking is not the best performing composite material for scratch resistance. However, Ultra Decking home choice premier anthracite grey was a winner in the best scratch resistant product in the market. The reason for this, is the different surface production technique, which increases the performance of scratch resistance. The best way to check this is run a simple home test on the samples you have, this way you will not be disappointed in the performance once purchased and installed.
Second generation boards
A second generation board has a plastic, coextrusion layer for protection, and usually comes in a wood grain finish. Although it doesn’t scratch easily compared to some other decking options, it can scratch with force applied.
As mentioned above the production technique and materials used can increase and decrease its performance on scratch resistance.
Most second generation boards aren’t the best for scratch resistance in our experience, due to the plastic layer and if it occurs they can be challenging to remove.
To be guided further in scratch removal please follow the link to ‘Scratches on composite decking’
Check for Reviews
Another excellent way to find scratch-resistant composite decking is by going through people’s comments and suggestions. Look for groups and communities that have experience in using and buying materials. Not only can they point you to quality boards, but they can also give you valuable information. Be sure to check reviews from a brand on different customer rating platforms to gain an accurate overall rating. For example, you can see many reviews on some on the company’s pages, but you can also find non-affiliated websites such as Trustpilot.
If you are looking for a scratch-resistant composite decking, always make sure in the product details that it is indeed resistant to scratches. If possible, ask for a few samples and look at ratings and customer feedback. Doing so can help you find the best composite decking for you.
Use Scratch-Resistant Decking
Good quality composite decking suppliers can offer scratch resistance (not scratchproof) boards. Of course, you’ll want to use nothing but the most scratch-resistant materials possible. While you may need to spend more on quality materials, the added cost is worth it. Don’t let cost be the deciding factor, besides, as previously mentioned, some quality brands of composite decking offer high quality, scratch-resistant decking without breaking your bank, our very own home choice anthracite grey has been tested and rated the best for scratch resistance in the sector by independent fitters.
What Causes Scratches?
No matter what decking you use, marks will eventually appear over time due to everyday use. Naturally, selecting the best decking materials and preventing damage can significantly reduce scratching. But what causes decking scratches? Here are some of the most common causes.
1 Foot Traffic
High heels, boots, and even flat shoes can leave marks on your decking. You can see areas with high traffic are the most susceptible to scratches.
2 Take Care During Installation
In our experience and feedback scratches can occur on your decking during installation by dragging materials or dropping tools like power drills. Scratches can also occur by dragging or dropping boards when fixing into place. Please remember not to leave the screws for the clips on your deck and play attention to stones on your deck which can cause them to be dragged by your shoe.
3 Improper Maintenance
Using sharp objects to clean your decking can damage it. Using abrasive decking chemicals and cleaning equipment can also leave unsightly marks on your decking. Likewise, inadequate maintenance can also degrade the decking quality, making it more prone to damage.
4 Kids and Pets
For larger families, kids and pets running and playing around or on your decking can also cause scratches. In our experience this mainly comes from scooters and dog nails that can create the most damage.
5 Heavy Furniture
Dragging heavy furniture around your decking can leave deep cuts and scratches on your decking floor.
6 Falling Debris
This is mainly for decking installed close or nearby trees in which branches and debris can fall and cause scratches if not removed over time. Falling debris can come from the roof and gutters, stones and broken tiles to name a few.
Choose the Right Furniture
Another way to prevent scratches is to use lighter furniture. If you have to use heavy pieces, using rugs, carpets, and furniture pads can help prevent damage to your decking. If possible, avoid dragging them across your decking.
Proper Maintenance for Your Decking
Proper maintenance goes a long way to preventing scratches. For composite decking, a quick rinse and wash can usually do the job. Regular cleaning is essential for your composite deck to not only retain its appearance but also prolong its lifespan.
However, when doing any maintenance care for your decking, remember not to use sharp objects to prevent any further damage. It is also best to avoid using abrasive chemicals such as chlorine bleach. For instance, when removing snow and ice from your decking, never use shovels or harsh ice melts. Check out our article on how to best clean your composite decking
There are a wide range of composite decking boards available, of all qualities. Doing your research prior to purchasing your decking boards is essential, as it will assist you in your decision-making process and ensure you have the expectation of the board you are purchasing. Look at the brand of the composite decking, look at the reviews for the product, always order a sample if you are able to, performing your own scratch testing on them and take into consideration the generation of the composite decking board.