A gas grill and a low-maintenance composite decking. A match made in heaven, or pretty close. A deck that doesn’t require hours of maintenance giving you more time to enjoy grilling on your deck. The only problem is grease and sauce dripping from the barbeque down unto your deck.
Raising the question, what can you put under a grill to protect composite decking?
A grill mat made from PVC will protect the composite decking from grease without damaging the decking. Avoid grill mats with rubber backing because they can cause the decking to become discoloured.
If you are busy and just need a solution for under your grill to protect your composite decking. I recommend these two grill mats for composite decking, plus an excellent one for wood decks.
Uperla Premium 10lbs Under Grill Mat – Matte Black Finish – 3mm Thick Outdoor Protection – Comes with Heat Resistant BBQ Glove – 36 x 48 inches
Cuisinart CGMT-300 Premium Deck and Patio Grill Mat, 65” X 36
GRILLTEX Under the Grill Protective Deck and Patio Mat, 36 x 63 inches
–not recommended for composite or PVC deck
If you have five minutes to make a more informed decision.
What makes a grill mat the best for composite decking?
(9) Qualities of the Best Grill Mats For Composite Decking
Your deck is outdoors, requiring your decking to be designed for the elements.
Rain and Sun, 24/7.
A deck grill mat needs to do the same. Just like composite decking, it shouldn’t absorb water, causing mould issues. Or even rot on a wood deck.
Also, just like water and sun can damage the decking, the same can happen to the mat sitting under your grill.
Buy something that will last more than a year under your grill.
2. Slip Proof
There is no need for the grill to be rolling all over your deck or worse, slipping and breaking a leg while your steaks burn on the grill. Just like you look for traction on your decking. The same is true for the mat in front of your barbeque. You want something that will keep the barbeque in its place while keeping you firmly on your feet.
No slipping, just grilling.
This is not critical with gas or propane barbeques as they are designed to send the heat up towards the grill and burgers, not down to the decking. Still, you are cooking with fire. Best have something that will not melt.
Most composite decking is similar to Trex, which can withstand heat up to 176° Fahrenheit (80°C). But a grill mat is about added protection.
Why not increase the decking protection from heat?
A heat resistant grill mat does exactly that. Protect the composite decking from the heat of the grill.
4. Prevents Grease from Getting on the Composite Decking
This is critical. If the mat doesn’t prevent grease from getting onto the deck, it’s only decoration. A barbeque sitting on a matte black mat does look good but is largely pointless.
You can either place an absorbent mat under your grill or a non-porous.
An absorbent works like a sponge soaking up all that drips from the grill.
A non-porous mat works like a tray, collecting the grease.
I prefer non-porous because it is easier to clean and will not soak up water when it rains.
5. A grill mat that is Easy to Clean as Composite Decking
Wow, I got ahead of myself. But yes, the easier to clean, the better. You built a low-maintenance deck to reduce work around the house.
A dirty grill mat should not add to the things you need to do. The easier to clean, the better.
The best is one that can simply be sprayed down. Being cleaned the same way you clean your composite decking. A few minutes with the power washer on low, and you’re done.
If you are a regular griller, a cloth and dawn should be all you need to clean the grill pad. A quick wipe after sharing a meal with family or friends. Grease be gone, back to relaxing in the sun.
6. Correct Size for the Barbeque.
“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini” may be fun but not grill pads.
You want a grill mat that is large enough to fit under the grill with a bit of room to spare. An extra few inches past to catch excess grease or splatter is great. That way the deck will be protected. Or grease splattering off the edges or running onto the decking.
7. Durable Grill Mat just like the Composite Decking
If you have a composite or PVC deck, I don’t need to convenience you of the value of durability. You selected decking that will last, not needing to be replaced every few years.
The same goes for your grill pad. Buy something that will last. Maybe not as long as Fiberon’s Concordia, with a 50-year warranty.
But at least more than one summer or windstorm. Flimsy ones just tear or blow away in the wind. Geta mat with a little rigidity and durability. As good as your decking or at least closer.
8. Grill Mat Warranty
You didn’t buy decking without a warranty. Why a grill mat?
Now no grill mat will have a warranty like TimberTech decking, but at least something promising more than a summer is of value. Giving you an idea of how long the pad will last.
9. Non-Rubber Based Grill Mat Safe For Composite
Honestly, I should have mentioned this first, but saving the best for last. I can’t remember how many composite decking companies require this.
“Avoid the use of rubber-backed mats, … on the deck for any extended”
This is pretty standard with composite decking care and maintenance manuals.
“grill mats with a rubber, vinyl or latex backing can mark your deck. The marks can be removed; however, we recommend using high-quality polypropylene … to avoid the problem.”
And one more just to prove the point.
“Use caution when using rubber-backed mats (i.e. welcome mats, etc.) as these may contain substances that can sometimes discolor or lighten the decking surface.”
Rubber mats make great grill mats, except not for composite decking. Composite decking will keep its beauty through almost anything you throw at it. Except rubber mats.
Avoid Rubber Grill Mat like the Plague.
That way, regardless of where you use your barbeque, it will not leave an ugly mark behind.
Did you really protect your decking if it becomes discoloured from the grill mat?
Now that we know what we are looking for, which mats are the best for composite decking?
Best Mats for Under Grills on Composite Decking.
What I love about Uperla Premium 10lbs Under Grill Mat
Durability. There is much that could be said about “matte black finish” or free “heat resistant glove,” but primarily, I love the durability of Uperla mat. It is 3mm (1/8″) thick and lays down flat.
A common complaint of cheaper mats is the edges curl up, or they blow in the wind. Uperla lays down flat under the barbeque.
The industrial-looking pattern not only adds class but also is scratch-resistant. Something that I wish composite decking was more so. But this means Uperla is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, protect your deck.
It’s durability also is reflected in its warranty, 2 years. I haven’t found another mat warrantied for so long.
Compatible with composite decking. Being made from PVC, it can be on PVC or composite decking without causing damage. There are many great mats out there; for instance, the GrillTex but being made of Rubber are not recommended for composite decks.
Easy to clean. Just spray off. How much easier could it get. I love easy. I love low maintenance, and that is why I enjoy composite decks. What could be better than a low-maintenance grill mat on a low-maintenance deck.
There are many more reasons to love Uperla, but these are my top 3.
Economical Grill Mat for Composite Deck
What I love about Cuisinart CGMT-300 Premium Deck and Patio Grill Mat
Similar to Uperla but almost half the price.
Compatible with composite decking. Also made from PVC, making it safe for composite decking.
Easy to Clean. Same as your decking, spray down with a hose, rinse and enjoy.
Definitely an excellent economical option to protect your composite deck. Not the cheapest but a good price for what it does.
What I love about GrillTex protective mat
Heat Resistance. This is a grill mat that could be used under a charcoal grill or wood fire pit on your deck. Protecting the deck from the heat. Just one more layer of protection, at a very high-level 500°F (260°C). A temperature that more than exceeds the heat coming off a grill.
Still, to be upfront, this is not a heat shield. Keep burning coals off, or it will melt the mat.
Easy to Clean. Next to protecting the deck, easy to clean, is important. Which GrillTex is.A little wipe with a paper towel or spray down with the hose, and it’s looking brand new.
This easily could have been my number pick if it was compatible with composite decking. But it does not seem to be the case. I have seen and heard too many times of damage composite decking after using the GrillTex mat on composite decking. Yes, some of it is because of using a matt to soon. If you let the decking “age” for a summer before using a grill mat, it will reduce the chance of being damaged but not enough for me to recommend.
If you have a wood deck, this one is great. Great value and protection and it look good with its curved front corners. Or if you never plan to move your grill from its spot on the deck.
But still a great grill pad, just not for composite or PVC decking. I wish I could say differently.
One Last Tip for Grill Mats on Composite Decking
If you are like me you want to set it and forget it. Find the ideal spot for your barbeque on your deck and never move it again. But this is not a good idea with a composite deck.
Composite decking fades.
Yes, I know all the quality ones are guaranteed not to fade beyond 5 Delta E, but it still fades. If you leave the deck mat for an extended period in one spot on the deck. As the rest of the decking fades slightly in the sun, the area under the pad will not. Then when you finally move the grill, it will leave a mark.
Just like how the carpet under your couch is so darker than the rest of the room.
It will only be slight but still noticeable.
Moving the mat and grill around will allow the decking to fade equally. Keeping the decking colour consistent.
Another solution is to wait a few months or one season.
Most of the fading will happen in the first few months. After that leaving the mat in one location will not be nearly as noticeable.