A composite deck is often considered to be a step up from a traditional pressure-treated deck. Composite is a manmade material that provides great resistance against general wear and tear, allowing it to maintain a fresh appearance.
Because of its reputation for being such low-maintenance, most people assume composite is scratch-proof. Yet, when you start moving furniture or patio heaters around, it may not take long before you start to notice scuff marks.
Over time, enough scratches can detract from the overall aesthetic appeal of the deck. At this point, you may wonder how to protect composite decks from furniture.
The easiest way to do this is by using outdoor furniture feet protectors. However, you can also employ a few other techniques to keep your deck smooth and spotless.
Let’s take a look at how to keep your composite deck protected from scratches. We’ll also look at simple ways to remove scratches from composite decking.
Protecting Outdoor Composite Deck
Composite decks are incredibly durable and can withstand harsh weather. One of the best perks of composite decking is that you won’t need to worry about having to routinely paint or stain it like you would with natural wood.
However, the material isn’t 100% scratch-resistant as many may assume. Unfortunately, with enough force or pressure, you can scrape the surface. Even moving furniture around can leave behind a couple of scratch marks.
So, let’s dive into what you can do to protect your composite deck.
Outdoor Furniture Feet Protectors
One of the most common culprits is patio chairs.
Every time we shift a chair, we subject the deck to intense pressure over four different points where the feet meet the deck, which can be strong enough to scrape the surface.
This is especially true for any piece of furniture with metallic pointy feet.
Ideally, when moving furniture, you should lift it rather than drag it over the deck. However, that’s not always possible.
Some patio furniture is too heavy. They’re designed this way to keep them from flying away any time there’s a strong wind.
So, instead of replacing your chairs, you can add feet protectors. In addition, you can buy rubberized caps that cover the points where the furniture comes in contact with the deck.
These protectors will decrease the amount of friction between the feet and your deck. On top of that, they’re waterproof, and come in various shapes and sizes to match all furniture styles.
Plus, they’re super easy to use because the caps come with an adhesive tip. All you have to do is remove the tape to reveal the sticky layer and glue it into place.
Outdoor Furniture Pads
Feet protectors only work on furniture that meets the deck at a slim point. If their feet have a wider surface area, you’ll need something more expansive, like furniture pads.
Furniture pads are glides that attach to the bottom of the feet to help reduce friction. They also improve the weight distribution and evenly disperse the pressure.
Typically, manufacturers use silicone or wood to make these pads. While wood may be excellent at protecting your deck, it’s easily affected by the elements. So, it may warp and get twisted out of shape after a while.
However, this isn’t the case for silicone pads because they’re better at keeping their shape for an incredibly long time. Yet, they make it harder to move around your furniture since they act like suctions and tend to grip onto surfaces.
Pads are slightly less convenient to install than feet protectors. However, they usually last longer.
It’s true that feet and pads offer plenty of protection, yet some don’t consider them stylish. So, for a better look, you may opt for a couple of rugs to protect your deck from scratches and scrapes.
The layer between your furniture and deck will eliminate the risk of any scratches. In addition, you can use it as an excuse to redesign your composite deck.
Carpets will add protection and a splash of color or design to your space.
Still, before buying a rug, make sure it’s durable enough for the outdoors. Many synthetic materials are impregnated with UV-resistant chemicals that will help the rugs last longer.
The outdoor rugs can provide an anti-slip surface, and they’re highly durable.
Outdoor Composite Deck Organization
Protecting your deck from your furniture doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, it can be as simple as doing a bit of reorganizing.
The main reason behind scratches on your deck is people moving around furniture. So, you can arrange your space in a way where everything remains in place.
This may mean moving chairs closer together or building a cozy seating area. In addition, you’ll also want to create an open path to avoid anyone having to shift a chair to walk through.
Rearranging your deck won’t eliminate scratches, but it’ll help reduce the risk of scuff marks that can ruin the look of your outdoor space.
Remember, furniture isn’t the only reason behind deck scratches. Leaving around tools or sharp objects can also leave behind dents as well. So, take this opportunity to declutter your deck.
The type of material you use for your deck can have a huge effect on how it performs. If you’re in the process of designing your deck, this is the perfect time to consider whether composite decking is right for you.
Traditional composite decks have an excellent smooth finish and great durability. However, they tend to be a little malleable, which makes them more vulnerable to dents and marring.
Pressure-treated wood is a softwood that is commonly used for decking, as it’s versatile and budget-friendly. While it provides resistance to rot and decay, it’s also susceptible to scrapes and cracks.
If you have the budget, consider the use of hardwood decking material, such as Ipe (Brazilian Walnut). Hardwoods are dense and can reduce the likelihood of scuffs. They can also give your deck an exotic look to liven up your outdoor space.
Composite Deck Sealant
Composite decking is comprised of plastic resin and wood fibers. While the material is designed to last 25 to 30 years with minimal maintenance, it will eventually wear over time.
While some composite decking manufacturers may advise against it, you may be able to use a deck sealant for enhanced protection. It is important to choose a sealant that is specifically designed for use on composite decking, as some sealants may not be compatible with this type of material.
Some sealants can help reduce the amount of friction on the surface to help prevent scratching.
Ultimately, it’s recommended that you consult with the decking manufacturer to ensure that applying a sealant won’t void a warranty.
Keep the Deck Clean
While patio furniture often gets blamed for scratches on the deck, natural debris can also be a contributing factor.
Twigs, dirt, and other items courtesy of Mother Nature may sit on the deck waiting for someone to walk across them. As this debris gets dragged across the deck it could eventually lead to some small scuffs.
It’s recommended that you periodically give the deck a quick sweep or wash it down with a hose. This will not only help protect against scratches but will keeping it looking fresh.
How to Repair Composite Decks
The tips above can help protect your composite deck from future scratches. However, they won’t do much for any existing scrapes.
The good news is that there are a couple of things you can do to restore your deck to its full glory.
For shallow dents, you can use a buffing block, which is sandpaper with fine grit. Then, in small circular motions, start to slowly buff the scratch. This technique will even out the surface, giving it a smoother appearance.
While you do this, you may want to pull out your heat gun. The high temperature will soften the wood and make the sanding process go faster. Just take care not to scorch the surface of the deck –it’s recommended you hold the gun at least 8 inches away.
On the other hand, sanding won’t work with a deeper cut in the deck. Instead, you’ll want to use wood filler. Simply add a small amount of the product into the scratch and allow it to dry before buffing the surface.
If you’ve found that the composite deck is riddled with scratches, you may be able to conceal them with a stain.
However, it is important to use a stain that is specifically designed for use on composite materials. Unlike wood, which has a porous surface that absorbs stain, composite decking has a nonporous surface that does not easily accept stain.
You’ll need to clean the deck beforehand, and then follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply the stain. Similar to applying a sealant, it’s also best to confirm that a stain will not void the warranty of the deck.
Through decades of use, composite has proven to be one of the most reliable materials for decking. So, while you definitely don’t need to tip-toe across it to keep it scratch-free, there are definitely some precautions that may be worth considering.
Since patio furniture is a leading culprit of scratches, a cheap and effective solution is to simply apply feet protectors and pads on all furniture legs.
You can even add a few rugs and carpets to warm up the place and decrease friction. This may also be an excellent time to redecorate to help reduce future scrapes and scratches.
Finally, if you’re trying to freshen up the deck from existing nicks, you have several options on how to repair them. While it’s not a conventional solution, you may even consider staining the composite decking which can not only hide scratches but also give you deck a brand-new look!
Husband and father of three (actually, four if you include the pool). I’m an avid DIY-er and weekend warrior that enjoys taking up new projects around the house to help us maximize leisure right at home. I enjoy researching and sharing various tips, tricks and knowledge to help others make their home an oasis.