Hollow Boards vs Solid Boards – what are the pros and cons?

Many composite deck board manufacturers offer only solid core boards.  The main reason is due to the speed and ease in manufacturing those boards versus hollow boards.  It is much easier and faster to extrude solid composite boards than it is hollow.  Most manufacturers don’t want to deal with the difficulty or expend the extra time to manufacture hollow boards.

But what is the difference to you – the customer? Which choice offers the greatest benefit in terms of durability and cost?

Benefits of Hollow Composite Deck Boards:

1. More lightweight: Better for retrofitting older decks

Hollow board cuts down the weight of 4.8m board by as much as 32% or 4.5kgs when compared to a solid board.  This makes them easier to work with, so if you’re retrofitting an older deck where the structure is sound and you just want to replace the surface boards, the hollow boards create less stress on that older substructure than do solid boards.

2. Equal Strength

Many people think that because the board is hollow it must be significantly weaker than a solid board.  The fact is the arch structure of the voids in our NewTechWood hollow boards makes up for the use of less material in the core.

The industry standard for maximum span as set by the International Code Council (ICC) for the US is 400mm on centre.  That means each joist in the substructure must measure 400mm from the centre of one joist to the centre of the adjacent joist.  Most installation guides for manufacturers of solid boards require a span of 400mm on centre or less.  The hollow boards offered by NewTechWood are also rated by the ICC at 400mm on centre*, which means our NewTechWood’s UltraShield hollow boards will hold your spa just the same as the solid boards.

3. Lower Cost

Price is perhaps the most attractive reason for using hollow boards over solid.  Because the board is hollow, less material is used in the manufacturing process.  This enables providers like us to pass the savings along to the consumer.  The cost savings can be huge, as much as 22%!

In what situations are solid core boards a better choice?

Don’t get us wrong, there is still a time and place when solid core boards are the right choice, and NewTechWood also offers solid core boards.  We recommend solid core boards for stairs and other installations where you don’t want the grooves for hidden fasteners to show, or if you’re not installing a fascia board. We also recommend them for commercial installations.

NewTechWood is one of the only companies that offers hollow boards, and our UltraShield hollow or solid boards are a great choice for your new or retrofitted outdoor space.  Contact us today for a free sample.

*For Australian conditions we recommend 350mm centre joist for hollow boards.