- 13 Jul, 2021
Not all composite decks are the same.
The two main types of composite decking are solid and hollow-core. Making the right choice for your outdoor space is a very important decision.
What differentiates these two kinds of composite decking?
One has holes throughout the center and one does not.
The boards with no holes in the middle are more durable while the boards with holes are less durable.
1. THE CORE
The solid boards are usually higher quality than hollow planks. The solid board has a denser structure and weight, which makes it durable and long-lasting. It is heavier because it needs more material during the production process. If you plan to load down your deck with heavy objects or use them in a heavy traffic area, the solid decking boards have greater load-bearing capabilities and offer the most stability.
Hollow composite decking may seem like a great choice at first, but compared with solid composite decking, hollow decking requires less material during the production process, so it is cheaper to produce. Even though it looks durable on the surface, hollow decking can be damaged easily because of its weak internal structure. Over time, it can start to bend, crack, and creek when stepped on. This type of material may be less expensive, however, its low durability means that you may have to spend money on repairing the boards or even replacing them.
2. QUALITY OF RAW MATERIAL
Part of the WPC (Wood Plastic Composite) ingredients is wood fiber. This ingredient contributes to structure capabilities.
Some of the manufacturers replace wood fiber with a cheaper alternative such as rice husk. It saves a significant amount of money on the raw material. Eventually, this leads to weak structure and lower load-bearing.
Since the material containing polymer, it makes planks expand and contract under thermal conditions. Due to these features, during the installation, there should be gaps between full-length planks. Without gaps, the boards have nowhere to go when they expand, causing them to warp, buckle and crack.
The manufacturers of the higher quality decking indicate the thermal expansion of 2 to 5 mm which fits in standard gapping measurements. Therefore, materials with higher characteristics require only 2 to 5 mm gap full-length plank.
The lower quality product requires wider gapping, reaching up to 10 – 13 mm between the planks. Large gaps are unattractive, causing tripping hazards and increasing airflow, making your deck more of a fire hazard.
4. COLOUR FADING
Any product exposed to direct sunlight passing through natural weather. How bad the fading will depend on the raw materials used during the manufacturing process. Good quality composite decking boards contain UV ray stabilizers. It helps to control the weathering process and the material won’t change the color under UV effect. However, most woods will lighten over time.
You need to pay attention to low-quality inexpensive imitations claiming that their composite decking boards will not fade or bleach under the sun. Manufacturers avoid mentioning the UV test which is normally ratio not in percentage.
High-quality material can reach up to 50 years warranty for structural performance and color fading and staining.
Whereas, low-quality material can offer a long warranty but with no clear definition. Therefore, it is highly recommended to get the product’s warranty policy to understand the warranty coverage (inclusions/exclusions) is and to determine the recovery rate.
It is recommended to check the warranty when purchasing any decking material as it can last anywhere from a few years to a few decades. Compare manufacturer’s impact test reports to avoid future concerns.
High solid composite decking is the right choice if you want durable, stable, long-lasting decking that looks great and delivers outstanding performance.