When building a new home, apartment complex, or commercial store, a wide variety of materials are used. When it comes to the skeleton of the building, wood, steel, and concrete are king, but the rest of the details are likely to feature different materials, including plastic.
As the years have passed, plastic has taken a bigger role in the building process, especially when it comes to residential projects. The beauty of plastic is that it can be customized to meet a wide variety of needs, making it a good practical and aesthetic choice.
Why is plastic used so often in the home building process?
- It is strong and lightweight, so it’s easy transport, and it’s cost-effective
- It is durable, scratch-resistant, and will not rot or corrode
- It is easy to install
- With extrusion, bending, and molding, you have many different design options
- It comes in many different colors and patterns
- It is a low conductor of heat
- It can achieve tight seals
- It can easily be removed and recycled
- It isn’t good at conducting electricity
With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why plastic is used by contractors and requested by homeowners so frequently, but some applications are more popular than others.
In the past, plumbing lines were created out of brass and copper, which isn’t very pleasant to look at over time, and these materials can be very expensive. Today, plumbing valves, pipes, decorative handles, seals, and more are usually made out of plastic because it is less susceptible to corrosion and disfigurement, especially compared to traditional metals.
Most homeowners dream of granite countertops, but no one dreams of spending the kind of money it takes to install them. In addition, many people don’t realize how much maintenance they require. A more cost-effective option is a plastic or “laminate” countertop.
Plastic laminate can look just as good as other materials, mimicking granite and stone, but for a lot less money. Plastic laminate counter tops are scratch resistant and extremely easy to replace. They’re exceptionally durable and many plastic countertop products are able to resist the growth of bacteria making for a cleaner, healthier kitchen.
Plastic can easily be found inside the home, but it is a popular product outside the home as well. Especially when it comes to deck spaces.
Traditionally, decks were made out of stained wood. This created a beautiful space, but wood requires regular maintenance if you want your deck to look like new for years to come. A lower maintenance option is plastic. It is made to look like wood, providing you with the same beauty, but it doesn’t require scrubbing and restaining every year or two.
That’s not all. Railings are often being made out of plastic, especially when placed outside. However, their durability and affordability mean handrails in foyers and landings are often made out of plastic too.
Don’t forget about siding! Plastic siding is better able to stand up to the elements when compared to other materials, ultimately protecting your home from the wind, rain, and snow. It comes in many different colors and designs too, allowing you to create some serious curb appeal for your home.
The list doesn’t end there. Many doors and windows are now made out of plastic materials. Even modern roofing materials utilize plastic.
Plastic is taking center stage when it comes to home decorating, but it still does plenty behind the scenes. Not only is plastic plumbing found in your walls, plastic insulation can be found in the walls too.
Plastic insulation is an effective way to increase energy efficiency, which makes homes more affordable and comfortable, no matter what the weather. Plastic is also being used to seal and shield structures on the home from the elements. It’s malleable and durable, which means we’ll see it used more for insulation purposes in the future.
Why wouldn’t you use plastic materials in construction?
Sold on the idea of using plastic in your next home build? Not so fast! Plastic has many wonderful benefits to offer, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only answer. There are at least a few reasons why you might want to consider a different kind of material:
- Direct sunlight can reduce the mechanical strength of some kinds of plastics
- Some untreated plastics are flammable
- They are not good for load-bearing applications
- Thermoplastics are subject to creep and can soften at moderate temperatures
- Thermal expansion is a common problem with plastic materials
The key is to understand that not every detail of a home building project can be enhanced by plastic, and when it comes to the projects that can be enhanced by plastic, you have to find the right kind.
If you’re looking for plastic fasteners for your next residential or commercial job, we can help. Just give us a call and we’d be happy to share our knowledge of plastic parts and components with you.