Aluminium vs Composite Board

It’s not uncommon that a resident would want to use their balcony as soon as it’s finished being installed. But until the decking is installed, that reality isn’t possible. Therefore, choosing a suitable decking early on is key. Since the Hackitt review and following the ban on combustible cladding, the industry has been looking for a way to make all decking class A fire rated. Historically, decking was made from either wood panelling or a mineral board but now the market has changed, and the core argument is this: Aluminium vs Composite Board.

Variety of products

Sapphire is the proud supplier of our partner MyDek’s range of non-combustible decking options. Aluminium options such as Delta, Vista or Innova are all available. The Delta range can be fixed directly to steel balcony frames and allows lightning-fast installation. The Vista is MyDek’s original high-performance decking board with a classic appearance, attached via clip-fixing. Finally, the Innova board is available in a range of colours, all providing a compliant, economic solution for any non-combustible decking needs.

After a partnership of the teams at MyDek and Blazeboard, and several years of careful development, the team at MyDek released Luxura. Made from a composite mineral board, Luxura is a class A fire-rated decking option, available for both decking and paving. The decking, which comes in both 150- and 200-mm width formats, is fixable to aluminium subframe systems or steel framed balconies and uses a concealed system of fixing clips and screws.

Resistance testing

All decking is resistance assessed under various conditions, such as heat, scratch, sound, and stress. Since the Hackitt review and subsequent ban on combustible cladding, all decking must be non-combustible and Class A fire rated. Decking must be slip-resistant and ideally, fall within a score of 36 or higher when evaluated against the Pendulum Test Value (PTV).

Whilst incredibly durable, composite decking is notoriously prone to scratching and scuffing. With this said, however, scratches and scuffs on composite decking are easily fixed. Using fine 60-grit sandpaper along the length of the decking will remove any appearance of a scratch after a period of weathering naturally.

Aluminium decking is three times stronger than composite decking and yet much lighter than composite, making it much easier to install. However, composite decking is much more malleable, making it easier to customise.

Carbon benefits

There are several benefits to choosing either aluminium or mineral board on your decking when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint.

Composite decking can be made from recycled plastics, wood or aluminium and so requires minimal fabrication of raw material. This reduces the embodied carbon present in the material which is great for the environment. Composite decking is free of toxic chemicals and requires less deforestation for its production than traditional wood decking.

Aluminium decking has a long life of over 30 years and so does not need to be replaced as often, both making it better for the environment and more financially viable long term. Furthermore, aluminium can be recycled infinitely without losing its quality, making it a highly sustainable option.

Reducing the embodied carbon in your decking can help the environment to a huge degree and reduce your carbon footprint before the decking is installed.

When making your decision about what type of decking to go for, aluminium vs composite board is an argument worth having – whether one has a significant advantage over the other. The truth is that both have their benefits. There is a great deal of variety at hand for both types of decking, the resistance testing on both is always kept to exceptional quality and either option has a hand in reducing your carbon footprint.

To learn more about the types of decking available, check out MyDek’s website.

Furthermore, if you’d like to see the sustainability benefits of using aluminium or composite board decking in your balcony, try our free design tool COACH.