Decking has become a big issue during our home renovation project. Do we use wood or composite, then if we use composite do we give Timbertech a go? And doesn’t composite decking like this scratch really easily anyway?
Both Timbertech composite and PVC decking boards are scratch-resistant, not scratch-proof. This means they can easily get scratched by weather, furniture, shoes, kids, and pets. Surface scratches will fade and wear down over time, but deeper scratches can be repaired with a heat gun or epoxy filler.
Let’s dive down into the subject of scratches on Timbertech decking in more detail, and discover more about the range, how to remove scratches – and how to stop it from getting scratched in the first place…
Is Timbertech Decking Scratch Resistant?
Resistant – not proof. Timbertech decking is made from tough stuff but it’s not scratch-proof.
Timbertech offers three lines of decking: Azek, Pro and Edge. The Azek decking line has boards made from PVC, while Pro and Edge are both composite decking.
First, let’s talk about Timbertech’s Azek line. Timbertech bought out a company called Azek back in 2012. Today, Azek is under Timbertech’s umbrella. Azek is their PVC decking line.
PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. PVC decking is 100% plastic. It has no organic fillers – like wood flour – to soak up water. PVC decking is great for high moisture climates (looking at you, Pacific Northwest), on docks, surrounding water features or around pools.
PVC decking is cooler underfoot – up to 30° F cooler than composite. It is also up to 30% lighter in weight. Because PVC is so much lighter, the Azek line has boards up to 7 inches wide and up to 1.5 inches thick. The wider boards offer a nice change in deck aesthetics and the thicker boards can be laid down over 24-inch joists.
In the past, critics of PVC decking said that, because it contains no wood at all, PVC decking looked fake. With multiple colors and newly styled patterns, today’s Timbertech Azek design does a good job of mimicking wood. The Azek line has a remarkable 50-year warranty.
Next, Timbertech offers two composite deck lines, Pro and Edge. Composite decking has two or more components. It has a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) shell – usually made of recycled plastic – that covers a filler material. The filler material composition depends on the manufacturer but often consists of a substance they call wood flour.
Originally, composite decking was unpopular due to its moisture absorbance. Back then, composite decking was uncapped and boards would mold and warp in wet locations. Today, manufacturers cover the organic filler with a waterproof layer of polyethylene.
The main difference between Pro and Edge is the polymer capping. The Pro line caps the composite material with an HDPE shell on all four sides of the board.
With the Edge line, the boards are capped on three sides only, the top and two sides. Timbertech offers a 30-year warranty for the Pro line, and 25-year warranties for the Edge line.
But back to scratches.
Scratches are unavoidable. With an all-wood deck, the fix was simple. Sand down the scratch, then apply your old stain and sealant. With PVC and HDPE, the fix is simpler. You just need some heat.
Here’s an amusing Build Show video comparing cedar, Ipe, Timbertech composite and Azek deck boards. They compare the board’s stain resistance with the help of mustard, ketchup, red wine, greasy hamburgers, bug spray, and sunscreen. Then, they scratch them with nails.
How Do You Get Scratches Out of Timbertech Decking?
According to Timbertech, it depends on the severity of the scratches.
If your scratch is deep, you’ll have to have a tool that heats up, like a soldering iron or a heat gun. Both are reasonably priced and handy tools to have. Both PVC and HDPE are made from plastics, and when you heat plastic, it flows – just a little.
To use the heat method, first do some research. Watch some videos and read some advice on websites. Then, get a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher, just in case.
Start out with a scrap piece of your decking, or if you don’t have one, practice in an out-of-the-way spot. Be aware that you can scorch areas if you heat them for too long, so practice using a sweeping motion.
Heat the gun or iron to around 850° F. Then, start by holding the gun around 12 inches away and move the gun along the scratch. If you can’t see a difference, then repeat the motion while getting a couple of inches closer. Some experts say you’ll need to be around 2 inches away, but start farther – then get closer.
If the scratch isn’t too deep, the best advice is – just wait. Often, the scratch on the board will become invisible after winter snows or summer sunshine. If waiting doesn’t help, try a wire brush. Brush with the direction of the (fake) grain, even though the scratch may go against it. Some folks recommend using the wire brush, then the heat gun.
Invest in a Minwax wood finish stain marker. These markers come in several wood colors, so be sure to have a photo of your deck so you can color match when you get to the hardware store.
Try using epoxy fillers. There are several products that are sold to help disguise composite deck scratches. Next, check with your deck manufacturer. We checked with Timbertech, and they do have some products for board repair.
Finally, when all else fails, you can replace the damaged board.
Here’s an excellent reference on how to cover scratches on composite decks.
Is Trex or Timbertech More Scratch Resistant?
We checked several recent reviews. We used The Ultimate Deck Shop review, which used the budget choices in both Trex and Timbertech. They found that Trex Enhanced Basics scratched more easily than the Timbertech Edge boards.
Which Composite Decking Is Most Scratch Resistant?
Reviews were mixed about the most scratch-resistant composite decking. One review compared two high end composite decking: Trex Transcend Tiki Torch and Timbertech Tropical Collection Antigua Gold. Of the two, Trex was the most scratch-resistant.
Here’s the website’s opinion.
How Do I Stop My Timbertech Deck From Getting Scratched in the First Place?
There are four main culprits of scratches and wear on a composite deck: weather, furniture, shoes and kids/pets.
Weather is a challenge in many areas. In some areas, winter winds will take heavy furniture and move it, scraping and gouging all the way, across the entire length of your deck. Windstorms can scour your deck or send broken glass down. Winds can overturn heavy items like umbrellas or grills.
Heavy deck furniture is number one for scratching decks, particularly the metal kind. Dragging chaise lounges, fire pits, tables, grills, outdoor sectionals and benches across your deck can leave drag marks.
If you don’t always have a helper person to help lift your furniture, invest in some waterproof furniture pads or slides. There are a surprising number of choices – you can buy foam, rubber or plastic leg pads or slides.
Double-check with the deck manufacturer, because some dark rubbers can discolor PVC decking. Or, put your heavy furniture on a bright and pretty outdoor rug.
If you love heavy cement planters, invest in plant caddies so you can roll them across the deck easily.
In places with a lot of foot traffic, shoes can leave damage, particularly heels and cleats. Black soled shoes may not leave scratches but can leave scuff marks. Instead of adopting a strict shoes-off policy on your deck, invest in some cheerful outdoor rugs.
Have boisterous kids, dogs or both? Make the deck area a Walking Only Zone. Hopefully, you have a play area where kids and dogs can run around, fetch balls, scream a little, and swing on swings outside of the deck area.
Be sure to use a plastic snow shovel, not a metal one, on your deck. Avoid the highest pressure washing settings – go low and slow.
Of course, the thing to scratch your deck may not be on our list. Folks have complained of contractors dragging heavy equipment around their deck. Or, bear visitors shoving furniture around while rooting in your grill or reaching for your bird feeders.
When it comes to choosing wood or composite decking – it’s actually a hard choice because of the scratching and maintenance issues.
While wood is relatively easy to sand and retreat, composite and PVC decking boards from manufacturers like Timbertech and Trex – while they last longer – can actually look really bad when scratched and be harder to repair.
In our view, it’s all about prevention when it comes to maintaining the look of your Timbertech decking – you just have to ensure those pets/furniture/kids etc are stopped from damaging it.
However, is this realistic in a busy household? We don’t think it is – which is why we’re sticking with wood for our deck area.