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The major advantages and disadvantages between hollow and solid composite decking is mainly they way look.

A hollow decking board looks very similar to a real wood while a solid decking looks less like a real wood.

In addition, there is a big difference in the weight, affordability, installation method, durability and user-friendly factors to consider.

To help you make the right decision, let us elaborate on these points and more in this Q&A.

Hollow Composites

Here are the advantages of using hollow composites.

  • Lightweight
  • More Affordable
  • Expand and Contract Less
  • Hidden Fasteners
  • Easy to Run Wires Through

Lightweight – Because their insides are hollowed out, hollow composites are lighter than solid boards. Because of this, they are easier to transport.

It’s generally easier to work with hollow boards, especially when you’re building your patio all by yourself.

More Affordable – Because there is less material, hollow composites are cheaper than solid boards. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to consider getting these boards instead. 

Expand and Contract Less – Hollow decking boards are more resistant to fluctuating and extreme temperatures. They also expand and contract less than solid boards.

If you’re living in a place which experiences changing and extreme temperatures, hollow boards may be a better choice. 

Hidden Fasteners – Most, if not all, hollow decking boards use hidden fastening systems. Many prefer this installation method as you don’t need to drill the boards itself. Using hidden clips makes the board look cleaner and smoother.

Easy to Run Wires Through – Because the insides of the boards are hollow, it’s easier to run wires through the deck. This is quite handy, especially if you are planning to install electric systems, like lights or stereos, on your patio. 

Here are the disadvantages of hollow boards:

  • Weaker Against Impact
  • Less Wood-like
  • Can Hold Moisture
  • Produce more sound

Weaker Against Impact – Because of their hollow insides, hollow boards are slightly weaker than solid composites when it comes to impacts. Dropping heavy objects on the boards may dent the patio. 

Less Wood-like – Most hollow composites look less wood-like than solid boards. If you want something more authentic-looking, hollow boards may not be the best for you. Also, the edges of the boards require caps or a fascia.

Can Hold Moisture – When not properly capped, moisture can accumulate in the hollowed portions of the boards. If this happens, it can shorten the longevity of the boards. 

Produce more sound – Because the boards are hollow, it produces more sound when you walk or run on it. Some people don’t like the sound it produces. 

Solid Composite Boards

solid decking

Here are the advantages of solid composite boards.

  • Very Durable
  • Absorbs Impacts Better
  • Very Wood-like
  • They don’t need plugs

Very Durable – While hollow boards are strong, solid composites are more durable. They can also last a longer time than hollow composite boards if you want a long-lasting deck, this one is for you.

Absorbs Impacts Better – Solid composites absorb impacts better than hollow boards. Because of this, they are less likely to dent when heavy objects hit the floor.

Walking and running on the deck also produces less sound compared to a hollow deck. 

Very Wood-like – When buying composite decking materials, many choose the most wood-like boards. If you want a deck that looks like real wood, then solid composite boards are your best bet. 

They don’t need plugs – Unlike hollow decking boards, you don’t have to worry about moisture getting inside the boards. For this reason, you don’t need to add plugs or facia on the ends of the patio. 

Disadvantages of Solid Composites

Very Heavy – Solid composite boards are very heavy compared to hollow ones.

If you’re working alone, you might find it more difficult transporting and installing solid boards. Because of the density of the board, it can also be harder to drill or nail them.

Can Expand and Contract More – Solid decking boards are more susceptible to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. They expand and contract more often than hollow boards.

Conclusion

For this reason, you may need to regularly check the screws and nails if they’re still intact. If you’re living in a place where you experience extremes in temperature, it may not be a good idea to get solid boards.