5 Common Plastic Building Materials

Construction may not be an industry where you picture plastic having such a significant role. However, plastic building materials are rapidly becoming essential for all sorts of construction projects, from exterior applications like windows and doors to internal elements like floor coverings and cables. But not all plastics make the cut for construction.

Types of Plastics Used for Construction Applications

There are several popular kinds of plastic that can be used for building projects, many of which can be found right here at A&C Plastics.

Acrylic

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

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

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.

Polypropylene

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

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.

Find Plastic Building Materials for Your Project at A&C Plastics

A&C Plastics has a massive selection of plastics that can be leveraged for an even bigger number of applications. Check out all we have to offer or continue learning about construction plastic in our information center. Want a custom quote? Contact us today.

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POPULAR PLASTIC TYPES

ACRYLIC

A&C Plastics stocks various grades of plexiglass acrylic sheet, such as extruded, continuous cast, and cell cast...

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POLYCARBONATE

Polycarbonate sheet is as clear as glass and 250 times stronger. It's also 30 times stronger than acrylic sheet...

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POLYPROPYLENE

Polypropylene plastics are an economical alternative to HDPE sheet or ABS. Polypropylene sheet provides good impact...

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PVC

Expanded PVC plastic is a foamed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sheet whose extraordinary combination of features makes it...

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