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Composite Decking Guide

Composite Decking For Your Pub or Restaurant

The popularity of decking for domestic and personal projects has soared in recent years as savvy homeowners look to take advantage of their outside space and bring the inside out. What customers have also begun to understand is how they use their home spaces, and increased footfall from the living space into the garden means it makes perfect sense to extend the home with decking, providing additional areas to play, socialise and relax that many treat as extra rooms.

That idea of footfall outdoors is obviously a key aspect of the hospitality trade and business owners particularly in the pub and restaurant sector have begun to invest heavily in outdoor spaces since the smoking ban in 2017. It turned attention to spaces immediately outside buildings and forced business owners to think creatively about how to crowd manage and avoid groups congregating in the wrong areas. A huge amount of pubs, restaurants and cafes chose to tackle this problem with decking and even introduced heaters to keep those smoking, drinking or just grabbing some fresh air warm in the evenings. Some used traditional timber materials for the job, but the huge amount of footfall that these areas receive means the wood can degrade quicker than your average domestic project. If you’re a regular pub or restaurant goer, it’s likely that you’ve seen some dodgy looking timber decking out the back, hit hard by British winters not to mention spilt drinks and cigarette butts.

Therein lies the huge advantage that composite decking can provide for pub and restaurant decked areas. For the latter in particular, composite materials can provide the strength required for al-fresco dining and can easily hold the weight of outdoor furniture, tables, chairs, umbrellas and of course, a full restaurant of hungry diners. One problem that timber decking presents for public spaces is that it is constantly requiring maintenance and upkeep. The scrape of a chair, the spilt drink, the smashed glass – it can be hugely difficult and costly for landlords and restaurateurs to regularly fix marks, stains and chips in timber decking and that’s why so many are making the move to composite, which is less likely to warp, split or rot too.

Another obvious benefit is that composite can be used all year round. Even in autumn and winter, composite stands up the harshest of weathers, so pairing the decking with outdoor structures such as pergolas and canopies and introducing heaters to the decked area can ensure business owners can offer al-fresco eating and drinking year round and crucially avoid missing out on the all-important covers. Timber decking can become extremely slippery in cold and icy conditions, and pubs and restaurants with only turfed outdoor spaces face obvious problems when the winter months come around. Composite creates a clean, safe environment for customers to enjoy a drink or some food in an outdoor space. Traditional timber decking can also be problematic for restaurant and pub food service areas where food can easily get caught in the grooves and become a slip risk. The grooves can also present obvious problems when walked on in heels and can damage both the boards and the shoes!

This idea of safety continues into the fire regulations around composite decking. Composite Prime’s HD Deck XS® Fire offers the same benefits as HD Deck XS® but with a class B level fire rating. This higher rating provides sound peace of mind for business owners, particularly those who are likely to have smokers in their outdoor areas. Fire safety measures are increasingly becoming stipulated by building regulatory bodies, particularly on balconies and this is where composite materials can provide a huge advantage. Timber decking clearly has some risk attached to it concerning fire safety so opting for fire rated composite is increasingly being seen as the sensible option.

Another structural benefit for business owners looking to install composite decking is its clever way of providing zoning. Many restaurant or pub managers look to keep drinkers and diners separate, particularly outside, so composite offers the advantage of providing clearly marked areas – either by having a section of composite and another a stoned patio for example or by having two distinct colours of composite to established clearly defined zones.

Of course, there’s no way of completely eradicating mess, spillages and stains when dealing with public areas in the hospitality trade, but that’s where Abzorbit comes in. Working seamlessly with composite decking, the revolutionary aerosol spray treats and removes grease and oil stains – making it simple and easy for staff to get rid of imperfections with a simple spray and brush off process. Abzorbit can be used to treat stains on any timber or uncapped composite decking. What’s more – it works quickly. In fact, wait until it’s completely dry and then it’s ready to be brushed off. Magic! On average, up to 30 minutes for composite and up to 70 minutes for timber.

Although composite decking provides better durability, less maintenance and increased safety values over its timber alternative, ultimately many restaurateurs and publican will opt for composite because of one thing: the aesthetics. It’s becoming increasingly apparent and indeed obvious that composite looks sleeker and more upscale and business owners want to present that idea of luxury and quality to their customers. A full composite decked area will inevitably deliver that ‘wow’ moment that will ensure drinkers and diners keep coming back and in the age of Instagram and social media, boasting an outdoor space that punters are keen to be ‘seen’ in can really be the golden ticket to success.

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