Recycled Plastic Lumber
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please contact us and we will do our best to provide answers or specific technical data to assist you.

What is plastic lumber made of?

Various types of plastic lumber are available on the market today, and they differ in numerous aspects. Some are molded and some are extruded, producing different surface textures. Most are made from high density polyethylene, (HDPE) some low density polyethylene (LDPE) and some from polypropylene (PP) or a combination. The plastic is heated then blended with additives such as ultra-violet light inhibitors, colorant, foaming agent, anti-static compound, chopped fiberglass, or even solid fiberglass bars, as may be required for heavy load applications. The materials may be *recycled to some extent containing postindustrial and or post-consumer and sometimes virgin plastic. This allows them to fall into a composite type product category, however what separates them from other “composite” products is that typically PLASTIC LUMBER contains no wood fillers, or mineral by-products and as a result it carries a much longer warranty, up to 50 YEARS. Further, the structural plastic lumber materials can be utilized for engineered girders, beams, joist and posts, unlike the wood composites with the short term warranties!

How long does it take for you to ship it to me?

Lead times vary from a few days to numerous weeks depending upon the product profile, color, and quantity. An estimated lead time can be given when a material estimate is provided, however subject to change until order is scheduled into production.

Does plastic lumber really cost that much more?

While the initial cost to purchase recycled plastic lumber can run 2-3 times that of standard wood materials, it becomes considerably less expensive long-term when you factor in the maintenance cost avoidance plus removal and replacement labor. Plastic lumber carries A manufactures limited warranty against mold, termites, fungal decay, and will not split or splinter up to 50 years.

Are the boards slippery?

Friction is reduced in frost or snow conditions, or with oil spillage much like standard wood, steel or concrete, however plastic lumber is less slippery wet than dry. The material has a paraffin-like base and similarly, surfboards that are waxed so surfers can stand on them in the water, our plastic boards become tacky when they are wet. Numerous wood grain and industrial textured surfaces are also an option for added traction.

Can I paint or glue it?

Since our recycled plastic boards do not absorb water, chemicals, oil etc. they do not absorb paint or glue, however there are brand name products that have some history of success.

What type of tools do I need?

Standard woodworking tools are used to cut, drill, or router the plastic boards and sheets including pneumatic nail guns and CNC routers. Material with fiberglass rods requires carbide tipped blades. Screws and nails are retained up to 30 percent better than in standard wood materials.

*See installation guidelines span charts: available upon request.

Will it stain from food spills, bird or animal droppings?

The plastic boards are not porous so they will not absorb stains or water. This makes them able to resist salt, gas, oil and water. Because they will not absorb water, they will not grow mold, rot, crack, split or warp. Occasional cleaning with a light detergent or power washing is recommended annually.

What about really hot or really cold climates?

Plastic lumber is less rigid than wood, has a higher rate of expansion and contraction and performs well in even the most extreme weather conditions, however it is not a direct replacement for wood. Prior to installation, allow the product to adjust to the existing temperature, particularly if the material was stored for some time at a different temperature or sun exposure.

When pre-drilling, oversize holes in order to allow for expansion and contraction, allow gaps at each board end in cold installations. Expansion and contraction must be taken into consideration in the design stage to avoid installation issues over time.

*Please see our technical data: page for more details available upon request

Largest selections of colors, sizes & grades available.

American Plastic Lumber has provided maintenance-free recycled plastic lumber products throughout the world for nearly two decades.

American Plastic Lumber, Inc
P.O. Box 514
Shingle Springs, CA 95682

Toll Free: (877) 677-7701
Local: (530) 677-7700
Fax: (530) 677-6718

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