Designing Spaces That Reflect You
How to Select Composite Decking for your outdoor spaces A Complete Guide

How To Select Composite Decking For Your Outdoor Spaces: A Complete Guide

If you’re looking for a way to transform the outdoor space that will give you the garden of your dreams. Also, with little to no maintenance then composite decking for outdoor spaces is the solution for you. Composite decking is not only stunning and indistinguishable from real wood but it also requires little maintenance to keep it looking great.

Whether you are looking to start it as a DIY project or you’ve decided to work with a licensed contractor for the heavy lifting. Understanding the different types of composite decking available is an important task before you make any decisions, which is why we have put together a list of different types of composite decking to help you make your decision.

What is Composite Decking

Composite decking is decking that is made of more than one material. The materials, in this case, referred to wood fiber, wood peel, wood dust, and plastics. This plastic is unused plastic that has been shredded. The two materials are then mixed with one another, under high temperatures, and with a substance that binds them together. When the end product is cooled, it will be cut into different sizes. You will get a decking that is a combination of wood and plastic. The same information can be applied to patios as well. For further information on the differences between a deck and a patio, visit our other article on the differences between a deck and a patio.

Composite decking is becoming an increasingly popular choice for decks and other outdoor structures and it comes in several forms. Some synthetic or composite lumber is hollow, requiring end-caps to cover the ends of boards, while others are dense, solid boards that are cut and fitted like lumber boards for decking.
While they often cost more than wood, composite materials offer the promise of greater durability and less maintenance.

Types of Composite Decking

Once you decide to use composite boards for your home or office decking, you must then decide about the materials according to your budget requirements and personal preferences. You can get various types of boards in the market. But different types of boards are used for different purposes and areas. 

Following is the list of different types of composite decking for outdoor spaces and their usage:

1. Solid Composite Decking

Solid Composite Decking board is a common type of composite board that resembles a lot of natural timber. So, if you are wanting your deck to have the aesthetic of real wood, this may be a better option for you. There are usually a variety of grain variations as well as more color choices available as well. Most people use solid composite boards for making floors of houses, and surfaces like swimming pool decks, pathways of the house, etc.

Solid boards, because of their denser construction, are sufficiently strong enough to handle considerable weight. So if you plan to load down your deck with heavy objects, such as hot tubs, grills, and furniture, solid boards might offer the most stability. Of course, other factors also influence any deck structure’s durability, like the strength of the joists, the quality of the materials, and the fasteners used to put the structure together

Some of the cons of solid composite boards include their weight and their tendency to expand contract or warp in extreme weather conditions which can loosen fasteners around the joists.

2. Hollow Composite Decking

Hollow Composite Decking

Hollow composite decking boards are also called Blank composite boards that have holes inside them. These holes help to reduce the weight of this composite decking and to expand and contract easily. In addition, hollow composite decking is cheaper than solid composite decks, and If you want to work with lighter-weight materials, you could benefit from hollow boards, which weigh considerably less than their solid counterparts

Hollow composite deckings can be less resistant to impact – so if you leave a heavy object on it, it can tear more easily. Also, hollow composite boards generally look very uniform and do not give an overall look of natural timber. They require caps or fascia boards at the edges. It can get rotten if the plugs are not properly connected and the water can rot it.
They are lightweight decking materials used for installing cables and wires, Cladding and Siding, etc.

3. Capped Composite Decking

Capped Composite Decking

Capped Composites boards are very popular nowadays because they mimic the look of wood and require almost no maintenance. Deck boards are composed of a traditional composite wood/plastic core, with PVC-like veneer, or cap which will not absorb moisture and makes it durable. The cap is also formulated separately to increase resistance against discolouration, stains, and scratches. 

Capped composite deckings are good for areas that will be exposed to water like swimming pools, or in a place that is exposed to water from rainfall. The advantage of capped composite decking is the PVC coating that prevents mold and mildew from feeding on the organic fibre found in composite material.

4. Uncapped Composite Decking

This is the first type of composite decking to be made. Also known as first-generation composite decking. Uncapped composite decking, as the name suggests, is a decking that is not capped or covered with plastics. Uncapped composite deckings are less sturdy and more vulnerable to damage, so regular maintenance is required for them. Hence, nowadays, they are less used in sustainable projects. But, they can be used in Pretty Planter Boxes, Birdhouses, and DIY projects.

5. Grooved Composite Decking

Grooved Composite Decking

A grooved composite decking is one that has a trench or hollow at the sides. What this means is that a groove composite decking doesn’t have a smooth side. The centre of the sides is pushed inward so that it creates a trench that runs down the length of the deck’s side. Grooved composite decking is useful because you can use hidden fasteners to install the decking. This method of fixing composite decking to the joist is prevalent today. It is because it creates a finish that is not distorted by the head of the screw or nails.

6. Ungrooved Composite Decking

Ungrooved Composite Decking

Unlike the grooved composite boards, the ungrooved composite decking doesn’t have trenches at its side. Grooved boards require fasteners that sometimes end up with wider gaps between boards. While this is by no means a safety risk, families with kids and pets who find it easier to hop, skip, and run across smoother surfaces might prefer ungrooved boards for this reason. Ungrooved boards produce less gap, equating to a smoother surface. Additionally, if you install a deck on the second or higher story of your home, ungrooved boards make the deck less likely to pour water down to the level below when it rains.

The ungrooved composite decking is installed using the surface installation method. They are being fixed to the frame below them using either nails or screws which appear on the surface. and somewhat distorts the appearance of your decking.


Composite decking boards are very useful to revamp your outdoor spaces like a garden, or swimming pool, etc. Your choice of composite decking should reflect your personal aesthetic tastes and functional needs. Compare several different styles and types so you understand your options. While composite decking has high durability and does not require regular maintenance or staining, it can become sometimes necessary. Visit our article for detailed information on staining decks.

What type of boards are you considering for your deck renovation?


1, Does Composite Decking require maintenance?

Composite decking requires minimal maintenance like regularly clearing off any debris like leaves, dirt, and dust. Give your deck a more thorough clean at least twice a year using just a brush, hose, and mild household cleaner. Don’t use power washers, as they can damage composite decks.

2, Can I install Composite decking on my own?

Yes, technically you can install composite decking on your own, but we recommend leaving it to the professionals.  Why?  Well, composite decking is a different beast than pressure-treated lumber.  Professionals that install composite decks regularly have the rules memorized and down to a science, ensuring the deck is installed properly and completed in expedited time.

3, Is Composite decking more expensive than treated wood?

Composite decking may be more expensive to manufacture, but it’s a more sustainable solution in the mid to long term. Investing in this material means that you’ll be spared costs associated with the maintenance, repair and replacement of wood decking which is more susceptible to perish, rot, split and warp – so in the long run, you’ll be saving money.

4, Can I paint or stain my Composite Decking for Outdoor Spaces?

Experts don’t recommend painting or staining composite decking, since the material is impregnated with a dye. Also, that will last as long as your deck does. If you do opt to paint or stain your composite deck, it will require regular upkeep, similar to the maintenance required for wooden decks.


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