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.

Distinctions between composite lumber types
Numerous formulations are used to produce composite lumber primarily for decking, railing and exterior trim type applications. Structural composite plastic lumber can be engineered for specific load applications.

Material warranties can vary greatly depending upon the raw material formulation of the product and historical durability. In residential and commercial installations most composite products offer a 5-25 year, with some up to a limited 50 year relative to integrity, staining, fading, mold and mildew.

The most common are wood composites that include a host of products similar to Timbertech, Trex and Fiberon that provide a broad choice attractive finishes, strengths and warranties.

Formulations may include a combination of 40-50% Polyethylene and 50-69% wood fiber. Typically reclaimed grocery bags and stretch film combined with furniture manufacturers wood shavings and recycled wood pallets.

Poly styrene formulations similar to Azek and PVC products have no wood byproducts and typically are used for exterior trim, decking and railing also offered in a host of attractive colors and finishes.

Typically wood composite and styrene formulations are not recommended for structural applications.

Plastic Lumber composites also can be produced from numerous recycled materials such as milk jugs, car bumpers or grocery bags and shrink wrap. Typically high density polyethylene (HDPE) or low density polyethylene (LDPE) respectively.

Plastic Lumber formulations typically include additives such as anti-foaming agents to reduce interior voids, ultraviolet inhibitors to protect product from excessive sunlight degradation and enhance color stability.

Structural plastic lumber may also include formulations with varying percentages of fiberglass or minerals in order to achieve additional flexural strength and reduce expansion and contraction caused by temperature variations.

Structural Plastic Lumber can be engineered for utilization in post, beam, joist, girder, fender, boardwalk, pier, railing and deck applications for wood replacement.

Plastic Lumber may be embedded directly in soil, rock as well as wet set into concrete or saltwater without compromising warranty conditions.

Typically plastic lumber products provide a limited warranty for 50 years in residential, commercial and structural installations. Splintering, cracking, mold, and insects do not compromise plastic lumber products.
Information contained herein is generalized and subject to review by consumer for individual products, and may become inaccurate as product improvements, formulations and warranties may be altered over time.

How to Order
We do require pre-payment prior to processing. We do not accept credit cards at this time.

Signed estimates are required as part of our operations processing, essential for order verification and to ensure order accuracy.  Thank you for your understanding.  We very much appreciate your business.

To turn your estimate into an order, the process is simple:

  1. Send your Approved and SIGNED estimate
  2. All orders are custom and must be prepaid.  Payment is accepted via the following methods:
    1. Check (send scanned/photocopy of your check prior to mailing to expedite) or
    2. Wire transfer (send proof of wire transfer transaction to expedite) or
    3. Direct deposit, Wells Fargo Bank (send proof of ACH to expedite)

Should you wish to send payment via bank deposit or wire, our accounting department will send you the information and instructions.

Cancellation & Return Policy
Nearly all purchases are special order and custom; not stock items held in inventory.

At American Plastic Lumber, we do our best to ensure you are quoted the appropriate product and satisfied with your purchase, however: All sales are final. Orders cancelled after placement, during production or post-production require management’s review and may be subject to a 50% Restocking Fee for lumber or sheet goods and 60% on furniture or unassembled products. Please check your item(s) as soon as they arrive and contact us in writing immediately if order is incorrect or damaged, with notice of damage noted on freight bill before signing for delivery. Photos of damaged goods is required.

All returns or cancellations are subject to approval and require a Return Authorization (RA) number in advance. Return shipping costs are the responsibility of the purchaser unless damages occurred in transit.

Expansion & Contraction
Our plastic lumber is less rigid than wood and as such may require more support and/or possibly a larger size or structural grade material. Because of the higher rate of expansion and contraction it may be recommended that the material be pre- drilled with a slotted hole to allow the material to move and prevent fasteners from breaking. We recommend high quality stainless steel screws and fasteners. Stainless screws are most commonly recommended.

It is recommended that an engineer review the design prior to installation in order to comply with technical specifications provided, relative to the expansion and contraction characteristics of the material(s), as well as the fastening method(s) used.

Recommendations for Installation:

  1. Pre-drill and oversize all holes in order to allow for the expansion and contraction of the material.
  2. Use good quality stainless steel or galvanized hardware.
  3. Do not over tighten the hardware–the material has to be able to move.
Maintenance or Cleaning
The beauty of plastic lumber is its “maintenance-free factor”. Since it is impervious to stains and does not absorb water/moisture, grease/oil or any liquid for that matter, the product requires little maintenance other than perhaps an occasional washing with soap and water.


Cleaning may be done with a power washer, taking caution to ensure nozzle does not get too close to lumber or using a brush with a mild soap/cleanser and water.

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 over a quarter century.

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
Email: sales@aplinc.us

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