Using a grill mat on a composite deck

anthonyg_maJuly 16, 2007

I'm wondering what others use to protect their decks (composite or otherwise) from the inevitable grilling 'accidents' (ie, grease splatter, a dropped burger, etc.) I've seen grill mats that explicitly state 'not for use on composite decking' due to the material used - rubber backing, for example. I've seen others constructed out of a cement-fiber composite that appear somewhat brittle. Are there any 'decent' mats that folks can recommend? Or is the damage that would potentially be caused by using a grill mat (ie; fading, staining, sticking to a hot deck, etc) worse than the damage done by the spill itself? Is it just better to simply hose-down the deck afterwards?

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I think it's better to use a mat. If you don't have one of the ultra-low maintenance brands of composite, you basically cannot remove grease, especially hot grease (exposed wood fiber sucks up hot grease). I would use a black plastic type of mat from the big box store. Even if it means the difference in fade will be noticeable, it's better than a grease stain.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 10:04PM
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And maybe remove the mat when you "winter" the grill? Give the decking under it a change to catch up fade-wise...


    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 12:25AM
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I just went through this process and here's what I ended up doing.

I have a deck box that I keep all my charcoal, lighters, chimney, etc in. All I wanted was the protection from grease and the occasional 'whoopsie' coal. I ended up getting a regular heavy duty door mat from Costco for $15. It's got the rubber backing and is a dark gray color. I keep the mat rolled up in my deck box. Come grilling time, I lay the mat out and roll the Weber on the mat.

No nasty marks, no wet spots under the mat, no worries. And it does it's job.

To me, the trouble of taking up and putting down the mat far outweighs the fading/moisture problems of being lazy and leaving it down all the time.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 10:08AM
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Thank you all for the suggestions! I'm planning on picking up a mat later this week - still assembling my new Weber grill so I have some time before I'll need it!
Rlembke - I'll end up doing what you are doing - simply roll the grill off the mat when I'm done and store the mat until needed. I agree, I'd rather take the extra few minutes to put down the mat than regret not doing it later on!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 11:21AM
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I thought the purpose of a composite deck was to make do with the least amount of maintenance. If you have to roll down and remove a mat under the grill each time you use it, doesn't that defeat the primary reason for getting composite decking to begin with?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 12:51PM
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Point well taken but what's the difference if we're talking about composite or wood? If someone wants to protect the deck surface from grease stains they'd have to take some measure anyway, regardless of what the deck is made out of. Wood will stain, fade, warp, etc. and if a mat is placed on wood, damage can occur under the mat from moisture that sneaks under---and it too will fade differently than the unprotected parts of the deck. No matter how you cut it, it's true that composite or PVC is not 100% free of maintenance. But it's also true that on average, it requires far less routine maintenance than wood does. Always comes down to what you like the look of and/or what you can afford. I happen to like both materials. I'm going to try composite for the new deck I'm having built and hope for the best. I enjoyed our last wood deck---but was a little disappointed with how quickly it weathered. In less than a year, it was showing a little too much wear and tear and splintering. It was fully functional, but deteriorating more quickly than it should have. I did have it sealed. The IPE is a different story---much richer looking and nicer, but it's not cheap and it's not maintenance free either.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 4:53PM
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I think a mat is a good idea and we should really have one under our grill -- we have 3 year old Trex deck.

Composite will stain. I have seen our deck stain from some nasty bird doo-doo (the bird must have eat some berries) -- eventually it faded and went away after our year cleaning with a bleach solution.

I do not let my kids eat popsicles on the deck for this reason. The other day a neighbor kid dropped a plop of red Jello on the deck and I immediately cleaned it up so it didn't stain.

Even with the risk of staining, I wouldn't trade this composite deck for anything. My young daughter got 2 slivers in her foot this year from my sisters wooden deck -- you can walk on our deck barefoot anytime and it does not get nearly as hot as our old deck did.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 12:25AM
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this is to rlembke or whomever. I have an 18" webber with the ash tray (not the bucket). I get stray embers and burn marks. How large was the mat that you got from costco and do you have the ash tray or the bucket?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:17AM
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