Do you want an attractive composite decking with a smooth surface that is safe to walk on? Most UK homeowners do. There are two types of composite wood decking available for installation. Whether you will get a smooth decking surface depends on the kind of decking you purchase. Grooved decking has hollow sides that conceal the clips and fasteners while your grooved decking doesn’t. Using either grooved composite decking or ungrooved boards will affect the final aesthetic of your decking surface. This write-up answers the question, should I use grooved and ungrooved composite decking for a clean finish?

What Is Composite Decking?

Wood-plastic decking or composite is the best outdoor flooring material that UK homeowners can use to deck their garden. This decking material has wood (wood dust) and plastic (recycled plastic) as its material composition. Engineers mix the components with a binding agent in a factory and heat the mixture until it forms plastic wood decking boards. Plastic wood decking is by far the best material UK homeowners can use to make a patio in their outdoor space. It is durable, long-lasting, easy to maintain, aesthetically pleasing, easy to install, and resistant to the elements than timber decking. For homeowners that want beautiful decking, using wood-plastic composite is not an option. 

Type of Composite Decking

When you go to a decking supplier, you will have the option to purchase grooved or ungrooved composite decking. 

Ungrooved Composite Decking Boards

This kind of decking is similar to timber decking in design. It has smooth sides with no hollows or channels when you view the sides of the boards. Ungrooved composite decking makes it possible to install it with screws or nails during installation. This implies that the nails will appear on the surface of the decking after you have installed it. For UK homeowners that want a clean decking finish, purchasing ungrooved boards is not the best option.  

Grooved Composite Decking

grooved or ungrooved decking

Unlike ungrooved decking that will not give you a clean finish, grooved decking does the opposite. When you look at the side of the decking you want to purchase and find channels or hollows, then you should know it is a grooved decking. These channels or hollows run from the top of the decking to the down of the decking boards. The usefulness of the hollow is in installation. Instead of attaching the clips directly to the top of the composite boards, the installer will fix the clips to the hollows. 

The clips or fasteners will hold the grooved plastic wood decking boards down at their grooved sides, and they will be concealed from the top. The benefit of grooved composite decking over ungrooved is that when you walk on your decking, you won’t see the clips. This provides a better finish for your composite wood decking than ungrooved boards that show the screws or nails you use to fix during installation. Although homeowners can paint the top of the screw they use to fix their plastic wood decking, it does not provide a clean finish.

Installing Grooved and Ungrooved Composite Decking in the UK

The process of installing grooved and ungrooved composite decking isn’t the same until you get to the point of laying the boards on the joists. 

Plan Your Decking

This is the first thing all homeowners should do before purchasing the wood-plastic decking. Planning your decking will enable you to know how many boards you need, the extent and size of the decking,  the kind of boards and finish you want and whether your decking will be elevated or ground level. 

Clear the Ground

The ground refers to the place you will install the decking. You just clear the space and ensure that you landscape it properly. Remove twigs, grasses and other materials that might obstruct the installation of the decking. 

Install the Posts

The posts under your composite decking will lift it from the ground if you want to install an elevated decking. You should dig holes in the soil and ensure that the holes are deep before you put the posts and pour cement. 

Build the Joists

Building the joists of your decking starts with attaching the frame to the posts. Then you should build the outdoor joists before you fix the inner joists. You should lay the boards on the joists. If you are using grooved boards, you will use clips and fasteners. But if you are using ungrooved, you should use screws.


Should I use grooved and ungrooved composite decking for a clean finish? If you want to attain a clean decking finish when installing your decking, you should use grooved composite decking boards.

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