As a society we are now, more than ever, accepting greater responsibility for our collective carbon footprint. This has seen the popularity of recycled products rise considerably in recent years. One product which continues to receive a large amount of attention is plastic timber. Plastic timber, or lumber as it is otherwise known, is a synthetic wood structure constructed entirely from plastic. It is important to draw the distinction between plastic and composite timber. Whilst plastic lumber is made entirely from recycled plastic its neighbour product, composite timber, is a semi-synthetic structure made by combining plastic and wood.
If you are yet to make use of plastic lumber you may be asking yourself if the product’s durability and strength compares to that of traditional wood. In the following article we hope to outline why we believe plastic timber is as strong as, if not stronger then, traditional wooden timber.
Resistant To Insects and Bugs
When we question the durability of plastic timber we need to consider what it is made from. The vast majority of plastic lumber is created from recycled plastic or waste. With plastic having one of the largest life cycles on the planet you could certainly make the argument that plastic timber is strong and durable. The majority of plastic timber’s strength performance is derived from its resistance to outside elements. Traditional wood timber, after a while, succumbs to damage from termites and other wood eating insects. This is a process which occurs especially in products that are intended for outside use. But it can occur anywhere. Whilst with wooden lumber you will experience this natural process of decay with plastic wood insects, such as termites, are unable to cause damage.
Strong Against Rain and Moisture
Not only is wooden timber likely to succumb to damage from insects but it also experiences damage from water and the elements. Over time without consistent maintenance (painting, staining, sealing) wooden timber will crack, rot and experience discolouration as a result of rain and moisture. Plastic timber, on the other hand, is extremely durable and reliable in wet conditions. If we consider plastic timber’s moisture resistant qualities you could argue that it outperforms traditional wooden structures in durability and reliability.
Strength in Versatility
One of the strengths of plastic timber is in its versatility. You can make use of plastic lumber in a great number of ways. You may wish to use it for decking, cladding, window/ door frames, outdoor furniture. Traditional timber, and its tendency to absorb moisture, makes it ineffective in some construction projects. With plastic timber you have great flexibility and an all round performance which gives traditional timber a run for its money.
Making Your Choice
We hope the following article provides an insight into the key differences between plastic and wood timber. If you are in the midst of, or indeed looking to start, a home restoration project and have the choice of wooden or plastic timber you may be torn. It is true that both products have characteristics that make them suitable for different projects. If, however, you are hoping to determine whether plastic lumber is as strong as traditional wooden timber, and this would be a deciding factor, we would argue that it is certainly comparable. In some key areas (longevity and general durability) the case could be made that plastic timber is even a stronger performer than traditional wood.