Should I use grooved or smooth decking for my next project

Specifying grooved or smooth decking for your next project will depend upon where and for what purpose your decking is being used. Smooth is better used for areas where high foot fall may arise whereas grooved may benefit areas where high waterfall may occur.

The castellated or grooved profile is almost unique to the UK - most other countries use a smooth or flat profile for decking. The theory is that grooved boards were the result of an innovative manufacturer who came up with the concept that the profile would suit the UK climate by offering improved grip. 

However, that idea has not proved to be accurate in practice. In fact a grooved board offered no advantage over a smooth one in terms of its slip resistance. These profiles alone are not designed as an antislip measure. Boards with enhanced grip using antislip inserts are recommended for all applications.

A benefit of grooved boards is that they aid water runoff. However, this is only effective if they are fitted with a slight fall and in short lengths. The effectiveness of water run off can be reduced if the boards are not maintained properly and dirt and debris is collected within the grooves of the board. If longer lengths are being used the grooves will hold water due to tension properties so therefore a smooth profile would be the better choice.

Where smooth profile boards really come into their own is creating an even deck that welcomes a greater variety of traffic.

Smooth boards are more comfortable for wheelchair users, cyclists, and anybody with a pushchair. They’re also easier to walk on with heeled shoes, and this versatility makes them particularly well-suited to busy public areas.

An advantage to using a smooth profile is there is less chance of dirt and debris accumulating and being trapped which can often happen in the grooves of a castellated board. This makes cleaning and maintenance much easier.

Grooved decking boards on the other hand come into their own when acting as a contrasting design feature to aid the visually impaired, as a means of providing a tactile warning at steps, the start and end of ramps, and to indicate doorways.

Other applications include defining the edges of walkways to indicate the line of travel, and breaking up large spaces by providing reference points for anybody disoriented by an open area.

For more information on the types and uses of Marley decking visit our decking section or contact our expert team who will be happy to discuss your next projects needs in detail.