Composite decking boards are made as either a solid or a hollow profile. The difference in performance is as much dependent on the composite material, as it is on the profile shape. The critical point is that the fibres are fully encapsulated by the plastic, and that there is a strong bond between the plastic and the fibres. If the manufacturer guarantees the structural integrity of the boards whether they are installed on the ground, in the ground or even under water, then you can be sure of a high performance deck.
Main differences between solid and hollow profiles
Solid decking board
+ Allows for a high level of performance to be achieved with mainly recycled materials
- Utilizes typically more than 60% heavier than a hollow deck, making it less environmentally sustainable from material usage and logistics point of view, and requires more labour to install.
Hollow decking board
+ Allows for efficient material design, optimizing the strength / weight ratio and minimizing the carbon foot print and installation costs.
- Requires more sophisticated recipes and processing to achieve similar strength and moisture resistance properties of solid decks. Typically hollow composite decks made with polypropylene will have better bending strength than those made with polyethylene, and better impact strength in the cold than those made with PVC.
Compare profiles and material
|PE solid||PP hollow||PE hollow||PVC hollow|
|Moisture absorption||+||Depends on fibre content & encapsulation. Less than 50% fibres can be good: more than 50% is likely to be poor.|
|Other properties||Colour durability, scratch resistance, and stain resistance are not affected whether the profile is solid or hollow. They are dependent on the surface material technology.|