What Are the Different Types of Composite Decking?

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Composite decking is one of the most reliable and fastest-growing decking options. Composite decking uses a mixture of recycled wood and plastic, having both the durability of plastic and the appearance of wood. It’s perfect for indoor and outdoor flooring projects.

When it comes to decking construction, you need to decide what type of composites you’ll use. Finding the perfect one will be crucial to your project. The good news is that there are only a few types of composite decking. It makes it easier to find which one is right for your construction project. 

types of composite decking

Types of Composite Decking

There are loads of composite decking on the market. Each one of them is unique, different from the other. However, we can narrow them down by classifying them into different types. When choosing the right composites, consider each of these types. 

Solid Composite Decking

Solid composite decking is the most known composite type. It is what homeowners often use since they are easier to manufacture. These boards are solid, as the name implies. It means they are heavier and have more mass. Because of this, they are stronger and more durable. They also produce less sound when walking or running on them. Another feature of solid composites is that they look more like real wood. 

While solid composites are excellent choices, they do have some disadvantages. Since they are heavier, solid composite decking materials are harder to work with. They are also more prone to shrinking, expanding and warping due to moisture. Solid composite boards are considerably more expensive than traditional wood and hollow composite boards.

Hollow Composite Decking

Hollow composite decking, unlike solid composites, is lightweight decking made with fewer materials. Because of this, they are cheaper and easier to work with. As the name implies, they have hollowed portions within the boards. It makes it perfect for installing cables and wires. They are also less susceptible to shrinkage or expansion due to harsh weather. And contrary to what people believe, hollow composites can be as strong and sturdy as solid composites.

Despite all these advantages, there are cons to using hollow composites. Unlike solids, they often look like manufactured materials, not real wood. They are also more prone to damage from impacts.

That said, the latest machine technology, techniques and methods employed to produce hollow composite boards have come a long way over the last few years. Suppliers such as Ultra Decking have produced an Exclusive Natural collection of hollow composite decking boards that are strong, durable and indistinguishable from real wood.  

Uncapped Composites

Aside from solid and hollow types, we also have capped and uncapped composite decking materials. Uncapped composites typically belong to the first generation of decking materials. While uncapped materials are sturdy, they are more vulnerable to damage, including moulds, mildew, fading, and staining. These types of older composites need to be maintained regularly to prevent damage. 

Sales for this type of composite are decreasing. While this was once a reliable and solid choice for decking, advancements in technology made it a less popular choice. With that said, it’s still an option when choosing materials for your deck.

Capped Composites

Another type of composite decking material is capped composites. They are the newer generation of composites. The majority of the composites on the market will be capped. 

Unlike uncapped composite decking materials, capped composites have a special coating that prevents them from being damaged. The cap of these materials protects them from fading and weather damage. Capped composites are also relatively stronger and more durable than their older counterparts. Another great thing about capped decking is that it’s easier to maintain than uncapped ones. Capped composites often have a grained appearance due to the applied coating and are often reversible. Some capped composite decking designs now offer up a dual-colour design. This means that one surface is a different colour from the other. The advantage and benefit of this allows you to reverse the entire composite decking board to provide a new colour years later, giving you a completely new deck and appearance, representing excellent value for your money.   

How to Choose What Type to Use

As you can see, there are only a few types of composites. When choosing whether to choose solid or hollow composites, you should consider what to use them for. Solid composite decking is great for its strength and durability. Meanwhile, hollow composite decking boards are very lightweight and easy to work with. As for capped and uncapped, it’s best to choose the former. It is more readily available, but it also has more advantages than uncapped ones. In the end, choosing what type of composite to use is a matter of preference. 

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