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HDPE PLASTIC LUMBER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are the different types of plastic lumber?

Essentially there are three. Premium grade plastic lumber is focused on both product integrity and aesthetics.  Utility Grade offers the durability at a lower cost.  Structural grade offer a stiffer material.  Remember!  Check out the technical details before you buy plastic lumber!  You should buy according to the exact requirements of your project.

How can I determine what types of plastic lumber is best suited to my project?

Check with the manufacturer for a technical data sheet.  Take this to your project engineer and use plastic lumber only when it fits and performs properly for your specific application.

What shapes, lengths and colors does plastic lumber come in?

Plastic lumber can be made in any color and shape thus it is only limited by the development that has been completed by manufacturers in these two areas.  Here is a non-exhaustive list:

Traditional Colors: White, Black, Teak, Mahogany, Grey, Green, Sand, Cherry, Weather Wood, Cedar
Vibrant Colors: Pacific Blue, Tangerine, Lemon, Lime, Aruba, Sunset Red

1/2″ x 2 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
3/8 x 5 1/2 T & G Plastic Lumber Profile
3/4″ x 1 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
3/4″ x 2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
3/4″ x 2 5/8″ Plastic Lumber Profile
3/4″ x 3″ Plastic Lumber Profile
3/4″ x 3 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
3/4″ x 4 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
3/4″ x 5 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
3/4″ x 7 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
3/4″ x 11 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1″ x 1 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1 x 2 1/4 Plastic Lumber Profile
1″ x 3″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1″ x 5 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1″x7 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1 1/2″ x 1 3/4″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
2″ x 2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
2″x 4″ Plastic Lumber Profile
3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ Plastic Lumber Profile
1″ Round Plastic Lumber Profile
1 1/2″ Round Plastic Lumber Profile
2″ Round Plastic Lumber Profile
1×6 Tongue and Groove Plastic Lumber Profile

What if I want to buy only a few pieces of one profile or another?

When you are looking to complete a small project please check out small quantities of POLYWOOD plastic lumber.

Will the color of plastic lumber fade rapidly or change color once it is installed?

Not when you choose a premium grade product.  Premium plastic lumber offers enhanced UV packages that greatly protect against fade.

How does the cost of plastic lumber compare to wood?

Plastic Lumber Products are more expensive than regular and treated woods. However, you will find that plastic lumber is less expensive than premium hardwoods.

Can plastic lumber be stained or painted?

No, stain and paint will not adhere well to plastic lumber products.  This is the natural nature of plastics.

What type of fasteners are recommended when working with plastic lumber?

We highly recommend stainless steel screws and fasteners. These can be purchased as stores like Fastenal.

Will the color and finish of each board  be consistent?

Plastic lumber is often made from recycled post consumer and or industrial products (resins).  Ask for the manufacturers “Premium Grade” if you want to avoid surface deviations and or color  variations.  However the “Utility Grade” product is cheaper and maintains the integrity of the board with both durability and strength.

Does Plastic lumber get slippery when it is wet?

Not any more than painted or sealed wood.  Remember, you can also have plastic lumber embossed with a oak gran surface for aesthetics and additional grip.

Will your materials expand and contract with temperature changes?

Yes, please refer to the manufacturers technical data sheets for the exact data on each scenerio and take this into consideration before you use plastic lumber on your project.

Can static electricity build up from walking on plastic lumber?

Given the right conditions same as any other product static electricity has the potential to build up.

Can plastic lumber be used for structural applications?

When you have an application that you believe requires structural materials we recommend you evaluate the information and technical data from the manufacturer.  Your engineer should completely analyze the data to determine the material’s suitability for your application.

 Can I use the same tools as I do with wood? Can I notch and cut it?

Yes, however as with all other materials you use we recommend that you do not notch plastic lumber at a 90 degree angle and use a radius cut when doing this. Keep in mind when you drill holes and notch plastic you will affect the physical properties of the cross section and possibly weaken it.

What type of product works best for a board walk or deck?

Request a structural grade material from the manufacturer to reduce expansion and contraction and have a stiffer board for your deck or board walk project.

What is the difference between plastic lumber HDPE and composite lumber available at all the large chain home stores?

Composite lumber offered in the marketplace, like Trex™, is made partially from a mixture of wood fiber and plastic resin which is used as a binder to hold the wood particles together. However the wood fiber tends to be a weak link in this type of material. As we all know, natural fibers when exposed to the elements of nature fade and are prone to absorb moisture, stain and swell. After only a few months of exposure to these elements the material can often already show signs of wear and even look very poorly. These problems can be warded off by using chemicals to clean, or by applying stain and or a sealer to protect and restore the lumber, but this is a time consuming and labor intensive process that must be repeated over and over again. Plastic lumber products are resin based and 100% synthetic with no natural fibers and as a result are resistant to fading and impervious to stains and moisture absorption.

 Plastic Lumber Products Backed By A Manufacturers warranty?

Yes, in most cases plastic lumber HDPE and variation product are warrantied by the manufacturer. Typically for up to 50 years.  Normal items covered under warranty include splintering, cracking, rotting, warping and infestation.

Can different Types of Plastic Lumber  Products be used On The Same Project?

Yes, the project engineer should take into account the technical details available from the manufacturer and plan his project according to the ASTM data that is provided.  Structural grade and standard HDPE blends reach two performance levels when it comes to expansion and contraction as well as many other factors.

Posted in board walk, Commercial, composite, high density polyethylene, Home Depot, Lowes, news, Plastic Lumber Profiles, plastic sheets, POLY, Premium Grade Plastic, utility grade plastic.


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