Dreaming of a beautiful, low-maintenance outdoor space? Composite decking might be your perfect match! It’s no surprise this versatile material has become so popular, offering a stylish alternative to traditional timber. But with a range of composite decking styles on the market, choosing the right one can feel like navigating a maze.

This comprehensive guide will be your compass. We’ll explore the three main types of composite decking – hollow, solid, and advanced capped – breaking down their core materials, safety features, and of course, their impact on your budget. By the end, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to strike the perfect balance between cost and quality for your dream deck.

Hollow Decking: Affordable Beauty for Smaller Spaces

hollow decking project

Hollow composite decking is a great first choice for many homeowners in Australia. It provides a stylish and low-maintenance alternative to traditional timber at a budget-friendly price. But before you rush out and buy boards, here’s a closer look at what hollow decking offers and how to decide if it’s the right fit for your project.

What is Hollow Decking?

Hollow decking is the first generation of composite decking. It features a lightweight core with air pockets, sandwiched between protective caps on both sides. This construction makes the boards easy to handle and ideal for renovations or balconies where weight might be a concern.

Benefits of Hollow Decking:

  • Affordable: Compared to other composite decking options, hollow boards are the most cost-effective. Prices typically range from $80 to $110 per square metre.
  • Low Maintenance: Just like other composite decks, hollow boards are resistant to rot, fading, and insect damage. They require minimal maintenance, saving you time and money in the long run.
  • Easy Installation: The lightweight design makes hollow decking easier to cut, transport, and install yourself than heavier solid options.
  • Visually Appealing: Hollow boards come in a variety of colours to match your style, with a realistic wood grain texture on the capping for a beautiful aesthetic.

Things to Consider:

  • Durability: Hollow boards are ideal for areas with moderate foot traffic. For commercial projects solid decking boards may prove to be a more suitable option
  • Limited Fire Rating: Hollow decking typically doesn’t have a BAL 29 fire rating, which may be a requirement in some bushfire-prone regions.
  • Slip Resistance: While slip resistance varies, some hollow boards may have a lower rating than solid options.
  • Joist Span: Due to their lighter construction, hollow boards can only be used on joist spans of up to 350mm for residential projects.

Is Hollow Decking Right for You?

Hollow decking is a perfect choice for:

  • Smaller Decks and Patios: If you have a limited space like a balcony or a cozy patio, hollow decking offers a beautiful and affordable upgrade.
  • Budget-Conscious Projects: If affordability is a major concern, hollow decking is a great way to achieve the composite deck look without breaking the bank.
  • Renovations: The lightweight nature of hollow boards makes them ideal for renovations where weight restrictions may exist.

Priced at around $110 per SQM, hollow composite decking provides a perfect blend of affordability, ease of use, and aesthetics for smaller spaces.

Solid Decking: Strength, Beauty, and Peace of Mind for Any Project

Solid composite decking offers the perfect balance between style, durability, and safety for your outdoor space. It’s the second generation of composite decking technology, addressing some of the limitations of hollow boards and making it ideal for a wider range of projects.

What Makes Solid Decking Different?

Solid decking features a solid composite core, unlike the hollow core found in earlier designs. This core is then enveloped in a high-quality polymer cap. This construction method delivers several key benefits:

  • Superior Strength and Durability: The solid core makes these boards sturdier and more resistant to warping or bending, perfect for high-traffic areas and larger decks. Solid boards come with a 25-year warranty, reflecting their extended lifespan.
  • Enhanced Safety: Solid decking often achieves a BAL 29 fire rating, making it suitable for bushfire-prone regions. Additionally, the textured surface typically boasts a high slip rating (P5/R11), providing better traction around pools and in frequently used areas.
  • Realistic Wood Grain Beauty: Solid boards come in a variety of colours with a double-tone, woodgrain cap. This creates a richer, more natural look compared to hollow decking. The deeper texture also contributes to the increased slip resistance.

Solid Decking vs Budget:

Solid decking comes at a slightly higher price point than hollow options, typically ranging from $120 to $150 per square metre. However, the increased durability, safety features, and longer warranty can make it a worthwhile investment in the long run.

Choosing Solid Decking:

Solid decking is a versatile choice for a variety of projects:

  • Small or Large Decks: Whether you’re revamping a cozy patio or building a sprawling entertaining area, solid decking offers the strength and aesthetics to suit your needs.
  • High-Traffic Areas: Solid boards are ideal for pool surrounds, walkways, and frequently used decks due to their superior durability and slip resistance.
  • Renovations: Since solid decking can be used on larger joist spans (450mm for residential projects), it can be a good option for renovations where existing joist spacing might limit your choices.
  • Commercial Projects: The strength, fire rating, and slip resistance of solid decking make it perfect for high-traffic commercial applications like restaurants and outdoor cafes.

Solid composite decking offers a beautiful and functional upgrade for your outdoor space. With its superior strength, safety features, and extended warranty, you can enjoy your deck with confidence for years to come.

Advanced Capped Decking: The Pinnacle of Style and Performance

Advanced capped decking represents the latest innovation in composite decking technology, offering unparalleled aesthetics and a focus on weatherproof technology. 

Solid advanced capped decking takes everything the traditional benefits of composite decks and elevates it to a whole new level. Here’s what sets it apart:

  • ASA Capping: This next-generation material, borrowed from the automobile industry, boasts exceptional weather resistance. Unlike traditional capping, ASA is designed to withstand the harsh Australian sun and elements, preventing cracks and fading for years to come. The non-porous core further enhances its resistance to water damage, making it ideal for areas with high moisture exposure.
  • Unmatched Realism: Advanced capped decking offers the most realistic wood grain texture and look of any composite material. Developed in collaboration with leading designers, the boards feature a wealth of colour tones to create a more natural aesthetic that complements both traditional and contemporary architectural styles.
  • Superior Strength and Safety: With a solid core and advanced capping, these boards are strong and durable. They can handle heavy foot traffic, making them perfect for commercial applications like restaurants and cafes. Additionally, they achieve a BAL 29 fire rating, providing peace of mind in bushfire-prone regions. The textured surface ensures a high slip rating (P5/R11), keeping your pool area and frequently used spaces safe for everyone.

Advanced Style for Every Project:

Advanced capped decking isn’t just about high-end looks; it’s incredibly versatile:

  • Premium Homes and Boutique Builds: Elevate your outdoor space with unmatched aesthetics and weather resistance that complement the finest architectural designs.
  • Large-Scale Commercial Projects: The strength, safety features, and stunning visuals make advanced decking ideal for high-traffic areas in restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues.
  • Smaller Decks and Patios: Who says advanced features are limited to large spaces? Enjoy the luxurious look and low maintenance benefits on even the most intimate balconies or patios.

Advanced capped decking comes at a premium price point, typically ranging from $140 to $170 per square metre. However, the unparalleled combination of aesthetics, durability, low maintenance, and a 30-year warranty make it a worthwhile investment for discerning homeowners and businesses seeking the very best for their outdoor spaces.

Ask the experts:

Before diving into the world of composite decking, consider your project’s specific needs. Are you renovating and need to match your existing joist span? Inspect your joists and consult a builder if unsure. Think about the overall design – are you aiming to complement your house exterior or create a contrasting statement? Sun exposure is also important in Australia’s harsh climate; it will influence the colour and type of board you choose.

If you have any questions or need assistance navigating the selection process, the experts at Brite Decking are here to help! Call us at 1300 481 664 or get in touch via our website to transform your outdoor space into a beautiful reality.