Types of Composite Decking

Now that you have decided to choose composite deck boards for your deck, it is important to choose the type that suits your purpose, your style and the environment you want to use it for. This is why it is very important to know the different classification and types of each composite decking, the purpose suited for each, advantages or disadvantages associated with it and it’s peculiarities.

As you plan for your dream home, using this guide to know the different types of composite decking boards would help you immensely to choose the best type for the deck you envisioned.


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What is Composite Decking

Composite decking is a safe, environmentally friendly and processed alternative to traditional wood decking made up of wood fibers (such as wood chips, sawdust, wood fibers etc.) and plastic organic materials such as poly vinyl chloride ( PVC), poly ethylene, poly propylene plus some other beneficial additives.

Types of Composite Decking

There are two main popular types of composite decking based on structure: –

  •  The uncapped decking and
  •  The capped decking

The distinguishing feature these two types of decking is the exterior cover.

What is capped decking?

 For a capped composite decking, the topmost part or “cap” is made of plastic coat to protect the board and serve other needed purposes. Capped composite decking are made by bonding the plastic type cover on the wood surface during the co-extrusion process. This cap is made to contain anti-oxidants, ultraviolet rays inhibitors, and colours to make it more beautiful.

What is uncapped decking?

For an uncapped decking, the top material is wood although it still retains its composite property of being made from wood and plastic. Its exterior is made of wood to resemble the traditional wood decking. It does not always look as polished as the capped composite decking because of the possibility of wood oils leaching off the surface.

Differences between Capped and Uncapped Composite Decking

  • The key difference between these two types of composite decking is the design, the capped composite decking has a plastic coat while the uncapped traditional composite decking has none.
  • The protective plastic top layer of capped decking helps to reduce the problem of fading and discoloration. Wood finish can however loss colour and beauty faster due to the leaching of wood oils and exposure to ultraviolet rays under the sun.
  • Resistance to stain: Due to the finish capped composite decking are made of, it ensures that any stain that comes on the deck boards stays at the surface without damaging the core of the material. The stain is also easily cleaned off compared to uncapped decking due to its plastic finish.
  • Uncapped composite decking tend to cost less and offer a cheaper buying option compared to capped decking.
  • Capped deck boards are always completely water proof and prevent moisture from entering into the core of the material. This reduces expansion which can cause the board to lose its shape or unscrew itself.

Another classification for types of composite decking is: Hollow composite decking and Solid composite decking.

Solid composite decking

Solid boards are composite decking boards with no holes or perforations in its structures

Hollow composite decking

Hollow composite decking boards have holes within their centers and it has a structure that looks like an honeycomb.

Differences between Solid and Hollow Composite Decking

  • If you want a composite wood decking that looks exactly like traditional wood, solid composite decking is your go-to. Unlike hollow deck boards that can easily give up the composite nature, did composite deck boards are made to look exactly just like traditional wood boards even on closer inspection.
  • Due to the perforations in the structure of hollow composite boards, they are light weight and easier to transport than solid boards.
  • Solid composite boards have been proven to last longer than hollow boards even though they both posses a very long lifespan.
  • Getting quality composite wood decking and saving some money is as easy as opting for hollow composite deck boards. They are cheaper and cost effective without compromising good quality.
  • Even though solid composite decking boards bear a huge semblance to regular wood boards, they are more resistant to expansion and contraction die to weather conditions and the damage that comes with it. Warping and splinting of boards at the edges are reduced due to the strength composite offers.
  • In hollow composite deck boards, allowance has been made for weather conditions, expansion and contraction due to the spaces within the material. Therefore, it has the feature of being most resistant to extreme weather conditions, moisture, expansion and contraction.
  • If you have children who play around the deck, solid composite boards are your best option. Not only is it environmentally friendly, it is also quiet and so all the pattering sound of walking and running children and adults alike tend to make are not echoing at all.

Best Types of Composite Decking to Use

While choosing what you want for your home, it is important to note that there are no bad or good choices. This only serves as a guide to help you pick the perfect composite decking boards that suits your style, prove to be effective for you and suit your purpose.

To choose the best type of composite deck for you, it is important that you list everything you want and how exactly you want it, read up on the characteristics of each type of composite deck boards above and make your choice.

For example, if you are minimalist who wants a deck board with a smooth finish, that is easy to clean, hate noise resistant to expansion and look like original traditional wood boards, the choice you would be going for is capped, solid composite decking. If you however want quality but cost effective option prefer a light weight option because you might want to install yourself and you are worried about weather affecting your boards, you should choose an uncapped, hollow composite decking. The best option for you is all in your wants, needs and choice.

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