Types of Plastics Used for Construction Applications
There are several popular types of plastics that can be used for building projects, many of which can be found right here at A&C Plastics.
Acrylic is known for its great optical clarity, scratch resistance and rigidity. As such, it is often used for light fixtures, LCD screens, windows and other applications that call for transparent sheeting. It can also be used for less obvious items like sinks, concrete coating and paint.
Composites are plastic construction materials made of two or more constituent materials that improve each other's characteristics when combined. For example, fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) can be used as a replacement for metallic materials in applications where great load-bearing strength is required.
Polycarbonate can be used to create sustainable plastic building supplies, since it is a thermoplastic that can be melted down and reused multiple times rather than burning or breaking down. It has high impact resistance and transparency comparable to acrylic, so it's often used for applications that require a high level of strength and clarity: safety eyewear, security glazing and noise barriers, among others.
After polyethylene, polypropylene is the most widely produced plastic in the world. It's used for a variety of plastic building materials products that require heat, fatigue or shatter resistance. Some common applications include carpeting, plastic machine parts, piping systems and electrical cable insulation.
Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC, is widely used for plastic construction materials thanks to being inexpensive and durable. As a building material, it is often used for pipes and fittings, flooring, window and door profiles and roof membranes.
Advantages of Plastic Building Materials
We've already listed quite a few advantages that plastic offers to the construction industry, but there are still many more that can make this material a game changer for all sorts of building projects. Plastic is:
- Lightweight without sacrificing strength.
- Easy and less expensive to transport because of lower weight.
- Easier to maneuver on site.
- Rot resistant.
- Corrosion resistant.
- Highly weatherable because of how tightly they can be sealed.
- Easy to extrude, bend, mold or 3D print to achieve a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
Disadvantages of Plastic Construction Materials
When considering plastic as a construction material, keep in mind that many varieties are not flame-resistant and have high thermal expansion rates, so they may not be suitable for high temperature environments or areas where flames are present. Unless added to a composite, many plastic building supplies also aren't suitable for load-bearing. Finally, consider whether the plastic you're using is recyclable to limit the environmental impact of your project.