Composite Decking Hollow Vs Solid
Some Solid Decking Board companies are publishing a lot of negative information regarding Hollow Decking Boards. Yes, they do use less material and are normally cheaper. However, Hollow Decking Boards are designed and engineered for their strength and durability.
A good reason for this negative publicity, it’s easier and faster to produce a solid board. Many manufacturers don’t have the skills, knowledge or latest machine technology to extrude a Hollow Decking Board. This requires a high degree of expertise and knowledge, including access to the latest composite machine technologies widely used in aerospace and car manufacturing plants.
1How Strong is Hollow Decking?
Ultra-Decking’s Signature of WPC composite decking boards are manufactured with a circular honeycomb core, mimicking Mother Nature’s toughest structures. Indeed, many species of insects such as bees and ants use a honeycomb structure in their hives and nests. Tests have shown that a honeycomb structure can be up to 40 times stronger than a solid structure and weigh considerably less.
Unlike some solid decking boards, a hollow decking board will not warp, twist or bend. Ultra-Decking boards are made using a patented manufacturing process to produce a honeycomb circular core, achieving a stiffness and strength not found in solid composite boards. A circular honeycomb core offers an even weight distribution versus a rectangular or square core which has weak points at the centre and at each corner. For example, A metal tube can take more weight than a square one.
All Ultra-Decking range’s of composite decking boards have been independently inspected and tested by SGS, a leading global test and inspection organisation confirming the boards quality, strength and durability in the harshest of conditions.
2Weather and Temperature Fluctuations
A composite decking board manufactured with a Hollow or Honeycomb Core is less impervious to the weather. Sudden changes in temperature and moisture fluctuations can cause solid decking boards to expand or contract over time.
These sudden temperature changes can loosen fixtures and fittings causing movement which can lead to warping.
The core of a hollow composite decking board can easily expand and contract, therefore are less impervious to rapid changes in weather and temperature which are typically associated with UK weather conditions.
Square hollow composite decking is one of the most commonly sold boards in the U.K.
Extra checks must be taken into account when purchasing a square hollow structure. Out of all the boards profiles designs a square is the weakest but it the most cost effective price making it very appealing for all users.
One of the first thing to check is the inner squares thickness and size. The inner structure should be no less than 5mm and overall thickness no less than 22mm , our advise would be 24mm overall thickness. This is important for durability and longevity from a strength aspect. If the boards design fall below these guidelines than you run the risk of structural failing after 5 years.
Next is the joist spacing, if you are using a square hollow then your joist centre in our experience should not be increased above 300mm. Going over these guidelines could create structure fail, warping or sagging in the later years.
As long as the boards are purchased with the correct due-diligence in relation to the square thickness and inner thickness , along with the correct installation then these boards are most certainly a brilliant investment for home owners
A circle hollow is the best mix of a solid and a hollow in our personally view, the circle hollow offers the strength of a solid without the drawbacks of increased expansions rates.
These hollow design boards are perfect for long performing boards with home owners that want the extra piece of mine and for commercial project that require the extra strength and durability.
These boards are more cost effective than purchasing a solid profile and can last just a long if longer, This is why ultra decking offer this profile design in their signature collection, as we feel this is the very best option for any user.
Please bare in mind that joist centre will need to be 300mm to ensure the durability and longevity of the performance.
A solid profile is most defiantly the most durable in strength overall. Producing on average over 40mpa based on 300mm joist centres. This strength enables customers to span up to 400mm to 450mm on joist centre reducing labour and materials.
The only drawback in a solid profile is the cost, even with the reduction in materials, the up front cost will mean extra spend overall, in our view we would only recommend a solid profile in heavy commercial usage in which could return the investment over the years. Truth be told 9/10 a solid profile is not require in light commercial and most definitely in domestic settings.