Last week, the Midwest region of the United States was hit hard with a blizzard… in April. Only a few days prior, temperatures reached up to 65℉ in some places and people were dining at outdoor restaurant patios. While the storm was quite unexpected, we can learn a valuable lesson from the Spring Blizzard: unexpected events happen all the time and while oftentimes we expect one thing, sometimes it’s completely different.
This phenomenon also happens with building materials in the construction and building industry. We may expect one thing, especially with newer building materials like plastic lumber, and it turns out to be completely different.
6 Unexpected Things About Plastic Lumber
- Plastic Lumber Provides Structural and Durable Performance for Commercial Applications
While many expect plastic lumber to be primarily used for light-duty residential applications like decking or furniture, it is actually an extremely tough and durable building material that is able to be used for heavy-duty applications where load-bearing and structural support is needed. It also comes in numerous product lines with varying degrees of strength to meet your specific project requirements. It is extremely durable in that it can outlast harsh weather conditions (like snow, rain, extreme heat and cold and wind), provides exceptional structural durability and is low-maintenance because it requires no painting, staining or chemical treatment to increase longevity. The performance characteristics of HDPE plastic lumber makes it a great choice for so much for than decking or furniture because it has the ability to hold up in harsh environments, provides structural support and is an extremely durable material.
- Plastic Lumber has UV Stabilizers
Plastic lumber is a low-maintenance building material for a number of reasons, but unexpectedly, it does not require painting or staining maintenance and upkeep because the color is engineered throughout the entire product during the manufacturing process. More importantly, it has added UV stabilizers to keep the color from fading over time and is available in over 40 color options.
- Plastic Lumber is Environmentally-Friendly
Plastic lumber is manufactured from post-consumer and post-industrial recyclables like milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles. It is also recyclable after the project life-cycle and can be ground up and reused. By repurposing plastic waste and recyclables, it helps keep millions of pounds of plastic out of landfills each year, and will last for generations.
- Plastic Lumber Lasts Longer than Traditional Building Materials
Traditional building materials like wood, metal and concrete can fall short in numerous applications because the performance of the building material doesn’t provide a long-term solution. Moisture and extreme heat and cold can break down and deteriorate these materials over time, but plastic lumber will hold up. It will not mold, splinter, degrade or break down and it will not corrode or rust, like metal. For applications where impact is abundant (like bridge pier protection and fendering systems), plastic lumber can absorb energy through recoverable deflection and will last for generations.
- Not All Plastic Lumber is Manufactured the Same Way
Bedford Technology uses three manufacturing processes, each yielding durable products that each offer unique performance capabilities.
Continuous Extrusion – a single-stage extrusion process where the HDPE is melted down, blended with additives like UV stabilizers, colorant and strengtheners, and forced through a die. This die forms the recycled plastic into a profile as it comes out of the extruder. This process creates a furniture-grade building material that has a smooth texture.
HardTool – is a molded process similar to injection molding where molten recycled plastic is blended with additives and forced under pressure through channel runners into a finite mold. The mold is then allowed to cool until it is solid. This process creates a structural building material with a stone design finish that can increase the coefficient of friction.
Multiple Stage Extrusion – is a three-step process that starts with a cold core (internal filler). Next a blend of HDPE, fiberglass and polymer rebar (annulus) is extruded over the top of the cold core. Finally, a dense skin that creates a low-friction surface is extruded over the cold core and rebar. This process creates a heavy-duty building material that is best-suited for marine applications where deflection and energy absorption are especially important.
- Plastic Lumber is a Versatile Product that Works for Many Application Types
Due to the fact that HDPE plastic lumber comes in many product lines with varying degrees of strength and rigidity, it is an adaptable and resilient building material that can be used in almost any industry. It is great for outdoor applications that are exposed to extreme weather conditions and can be commonly found in marine, industrial and fencing applications. HDPE plastic lumber is a great wood-alternative and can be used virtually anywhere traditional wood would be. Some common applications are bridge pier protection systems, fencing, boardwalks and substructure components and outdoor furniture.
Expect the Unexpected with Plastic Lumber
Consider this traditional building material alternative for your next project! Get in touch with us today to get all of your questions answered!