Composite decking has been available since the late 1990s so it’s quite a new product compared to timber decking. However, it has developed at lightning speed and you now have many different options, colours, textures and types of composite board to choose from.
Generally speaking you will be purchasing composite decking board that has some of these options:
- Has a textured grain pattern.
- Has an embossed grain pattern.
- Has a weathered finish.
- Is double sided.
- Has non-slip grooves.
- Has a non grooved side.
- Is hollow or solid.
- Is plastic wrapped.
- Is a wood and polymer composite (WPC).
- Is made from plastics and recycled paper.
- Is made of 99% PVC plastic – very hard wearing.
- Can be totally watertight.
So as you can see, there are quite a few choices. We recommend talking to a few suppliers and finding out what’s best for you and your application. Does it need to be totally waterproof? Are you looking for a wide colour palette? Are you on a tight budget? Is grain really important?
EXAMPLES OF POPULAR TYPES OF COMPOSITE DECKING
Solid Composite Decking Boards
Constructed with a solid core and made from a blend of recycled wood and polyethylene. This type of decking is generally used for high footfall areas or where the boards need to bear extra weight. Extremely stable and long lasting due to the density of the composite construction. Often available in a variety of colours and the rear surface is usually smooth.
Hollow Composite Decking Boards
Similar to solid core decking but it has a hollow core – made from a blend of recycled wood and polyethylene. This type of decking is generally used for domestic areas. Long lasting and available in a variety of colours. It has a tight composite grain which offers ant-slip qualities. In our opinion these are the best value boards balancing quality and features with a tighter budget.
Weathered Composite Decking Boards
This kind of board has all the benefits of composite decking with addition of an amazing textural surface. Generally they are designed to have a dual tone colour way where the surface is bonded to a structural core. These boards tend to be used for high-end applications (attracting a premium price).
PVC Decking Boards
Composite boards often very similar to capped or wrapped decking. It is often difficult to tell the difference but price may be a guide – they are usually more expensive. Another difference is that PVC boards may be formed or warped to create curves (only for the really experienced trades person).
- Do I like the supplier? Very important because you may need support and backup after you’ve shelled out your hard earned cash!
- Does the decking come with a good guarantee? Look for a minimum of 10 years.
- Can my supplier recommend a good installer? If you don’t want to do all the DIY work then your supplier may have a list of trusted installers and trade persons. Keep in mind that this may not be your supplier’s installer so do your research to ensure you are happy with the trades people who do the work.
- Is colour a big factor? You might need to compromise on the texture or grain if you have a specific colour choice in mind. The majority of suppliers provide good quality products so you should be able to find a composite decking board in your chosen colourway.
- Do you want a textured board? Be prepared to pay more. Then again, the tighter grained composite decking boards have a nice finish and are very cost effective.
- Is this an investment? Pay a little more if the answer is yes. Make sure the substructure is very well built. Use composite joist (they last longer), fixing clips and stainless steel screws. You still want to be happy after 25 years.
- Order some samples! If you haven’t then you should. Get a feel for the texture. Take the samples outside and look at the colour – there will be a change from indoor to outdoor viewing. If you invest a small amount in samples then it could avoid disappointment in the long run.