John Whaley

John Whaley

General Manager


Decker has recently introduced a new range of composite decking that is uses latest co-extrusion technology.    The new range is named PERLABOARD, reflecting the calcium carbonate content. Of the core which is the constituent material of PEARLS. PERLABOARD plastic decking has substantially improved performance through the combination of new materials.

There are three significant variations from traditional co-extruded wood plastic composite decking, a core containing PVC not HDPE, Calcium Carbonate not Wood and a better capping material.  As a result, PERLABOARD decking is a light but strong realistic wood looking plastic decking board with superior performance features.




PERLABOARD uses PVC rather than HDPE as the plastic component. WPC is up to 50% recycled HDPE in the core material. In PERLABOARD the plastic component is foamed industrial PVC, 50% of the core.

HDPE is a thermoplastic, manufactured from petroleum whereas PVC is a vinyl polymer.

PVC has several advantages over HDPE.  In building rigid plastic (e.g pipework) is PVC, whereas flexible materials use HDPE.

Both polyethylene and PVC are waterproof, but PVC is more so. Additionally, PVC is much more fire-resistant than polyethylene. This is, because the chlorine atoms it releases during a fire inhibit the process of combustion. PVC in its native form is brittle and hard, so it needs softening and flexibility by adding other compounds called plasticisers.

PVC is slightly denser than HDPE in its natural form, but the decking manufacturing process foams the PVC to produce a lower density when combined with the calcium carbonate core material.

In its natural form, PVC has similar melting points and tensile strength as HDPE. However, its co-efficient of linear expansion is less than half that of HDPE – important for decking boards.


WPC uses wood fibres ( sometimes rice husks or bamboo) combined with plastic. Calcium carbonate is the core component to mix with plastic in the extrusion manufacturing process for PERLABOARD. Our luxury decking contains no wood fibres.

Calcium Carbonate is used in other building materials but is not ligneous (wood-like) in nature. Removing the wood ( typically up to 60% in WPC decking) has advantages. Lignites contain tannins that can leak and stain. WPC decking is designed with no defects unlike natural timber (knots, cracks, pitch pockets, etc.). Wood fibres in WPC introduces timber features like hydroscopicity (excessive moisture in wood worsens its physical-mechanical qualities), as well as flammability.

The main use of calcium carbonate is in the construction industry, either as a building material, or limestone aggregate for road building, as an ingredient of cement, or as the starting material for the preparation of builders’ lime by burning in a kiln.

It has a high melting point and a density twice that of PVC. 40% of PERLABOARD’s core material is calcium carbonate, combined with 50% foamed PVC and 10% additives, colourants and stabilizers.  The combination forms a strong but light core material for the decking.


“Given there is no wood in the core, we refer to this as PLASTIC DECKING”



Co-extrusion was developed over a decade ago to apply a coating to the wpc decking core to address issues with fading and staining of uncoated wpc. It is now an established technology and most wpc sold in Australia is now capped with a protective coating (like our brand DECKER PROTECT).

The  normal WPC capping material is a thermoplastic, like a varnish.  This can have a plasticy look and so is normally wire brushed as a final finishing step. This can enhance the potential for scratching and staining.

PERLABOARD uses a superior capping material. Acrylonile Steyrene Acrylate Copolymer ( ASA).  This is applied as a double layer to provide an exceptional anti-scratch anti-slip performance. ASA has significant weather resistance and is widely used in the automotive industry.

Importantly, combined with co-extrusion grain formation and dual colour mixing, the capping layer produced a realistic matt timber grain look. Which is why we say this the decking product “looks more like wood than wood”.



The new technology approach to plastic decking has produced a plastic decking boards that exceeds co-extruded WPC in all performance characteristics. It is a great alternative to timber decking, low maintenance and looks good longer.

“It looks more like wood than wood”

We offer a choice of 12 colours and a custom length option to saves you time and money for installation and reduces wastage. READ MORE ABOUT PERLABOARD




More to explore

How unmaintained timber decking can deteriorate


DECKER’s wood plastic composite products like our DECKER PROTECT range of co-extruded composite decking have significant environmental and maintenance advantages over hardwood