Ok, so I like the concept but can Recycled Plastic Lumber be used in place of wood?
Some RPL cannot be used in structural applications. However, our Fiberforce brand lumber is made with fiberglass embedded into the plastic, making it suitable for load bearing applications. It is an excellent substitute for the substructure of decking or playgrounds. Select brand RPL should not be used for load bearing applications, and is ideal for landscaping, fencing and other non-structural applications. Many builders like to combine Fiberforce and Select when building a deck, using the Fiberforce for the substructure, and Select for the floor boards and railing.
Can I use recycled plastic lumber for load bearing applications?
Most types of plastic lumber do not have the structural integrity for load bearing applications. They are not recommended for building the substructures of decks, for example. Other brands of plastic lumber will recommend that the builder combine their plastic lumber with pressure treated wood. Pressure treated wood contains highly toxic chemicals like arsenic, and is often sourced from virgin forests. It is not recommended on structures that children will be using.
This is another area where the plastic lumber from Stop-painting.com stands out from the competition. It is possible to build entire structures, even the substructure, with our recycled plastic lumber. Our Fiberforce® brand lumber is reinforced with fiberglass, which provides better strength and rigidity for demanding applications. For joist applications and other increased load bearing needs, consider using our BarForce lumber, which is reinforced with 4-5 fiberglass rods throughout the length of the lumber. At Stop-painting.com, we have everything you need to build a safe, durable, non-toxic structure that will stay beautiful for a lifetime.
Will I need special tools or training to build with recycled plastic lumber?
No, you can use traditional wood working tools. However, it is very important to read our installation guidelines before building. There are some important differences to consider when building with recycled plastic, which contracts and expands more than wood.
Some Examples Where Recycled Plastic Lumber Can Be Used
Gates, Fences, Stalls, retaining walls, sound barriers, car stops, walkways, railings, compost bins, flooring, pallets, truck flooring, park benches, picnic tables, playgrounds, walkways, decking, wood bridges, sign posts, guard rails, speed bumps, piers, pilings, seawalls, boat docks, roofing shingles and more!
Advantages of RPL Over Wood
RPL is clean, nontoxic, and nonporous, and lasts longer than wood. In addition, all types except wood-filled RPL have the following advantages over wood:
Moisture and chemical resistant.
Splinter free, does not crack.
Does not need sealants or preservatives.
Colored throughout, does not need paint.
Impervious to insects.
Flexible, can be curved and shaped.
Does not absorb bacteria.
Benefits of RPL to the Community
Saves money for local governments and other purchasers by lowering long-term maintenance costs.
Creates additional business opportunities.
Diverts plastic waste from landfills.
Prevents deforestation and clear cutting, which causes drastic environmental devastation.
Reduces wood waste, especially treated wood waste.
Helps local governments meet their goal of reducing landfill disposal by 50 percent by the year 2000.
RPL currently has a higher purchase price (initial cost) than virgin wood, but usually lasts longer than wood. When maintenance, replacement, and life cycle costs (materials + installation + disposal) are included in the analysis, RPL products can cost less than wood if the structure is designed properly. Also, plastic lumber is recyclable at the end of its useful life.
Purchase prices of RPL are expected to decrease as technology improves and demand increases. Wood prices are expected to continue to increase.