I have a nice new PVC deck ... BUT, these strange notches/grooves have begun to show up on the outside edge of the darker colored border plank. These were NOT here when the deck was first installed.

After the first one appeared, I thought it might be from an unlucky blow from a falling tree branch, but they kept appearing and now they are appearing elsewhere, including under the railing and top of the stairs. It looks like a second one is starting to form on the edge of that dark plank at the top of the stairs, but there is NO notch on the edge of any of the lighter colored stairs. Could this be from an animal of some kind, or does anyone have any creative ideas on what is causing this??

Broad view of dark deck border with notches circled in red Multiple notches on deck border near grass Notch below railing Notch top of stairs Second notch starting at top of stairs

  • 2
    Could someone be carrying/moving something in or out of the house?
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 12 at 22:06
  • It will be rodents of some kind. What I don't get is that the edging is a dark colour. At night, or in bad light, that edge needs to be a lot more visible - i.e. a light colour. Maybe replace the rodents nibbling board with a lighter colour? Not an answer to the question, but possibly an answer to the problem.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 14 at 13:08

1 Answer 1



I have a number of homemade plant pots made of synthetic decking scraps, and squirrels often gnaw at them and my plastic plant pots out of curiosity or hunger. Once they know it's not tasty they move on, but there are a lot of squirrels and the quality of your decking buffet is probably not a hot topic for gossip.

Capsaicin (pepper) is a decent deterrent, but in your case an owl on patrol might do best. Depends on where you want wildlife to exist in your world.

  • 3
    Dousing the edges with some hot sauce might keep the squirrels away. Then again, they could be fans of TexMex and that might entice more to stop by.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 12 at 22:42
  • Rodentia have to gnaw things or their teeth get too big. "Because they do not stop growing, the animal must continue to wear them down so that they do not reach and pierce the skull."
    – Mazura
    Commented Jan 13 at 3:02
  • synthetic decking scraps ! - go build a thing for them to chew on and put it by their tree. Apparently they like the feel of the brown stuff on their teeth more than the grey. And lose the bird feeders if you have any.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jan 13 at 3:22
  • "Their tree." LOL. We live in a mature Bur Oak grove and there are often squirrel races across the canopy over our house and a dozen or more munching acorns on the lawn. There's absolutely no hope of manipulating squirrel behavior in my yard. There entire world consists of things to chew on, but they still explore other options.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 13 at 16:46
  • Yup, I have a handful of squirrels that live in the 6 maple trees here, sometimes I hear them run across the roof, so that makes sense they might like the look of the darker PVC, especially on the section where it is low to the ground, feeding trough level for them. I'll pull out some of the scraps and put something up against the nearest tree and see if they chew on that ... Commented Jan 15 at 14:06

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