The plastic lumber industry, as well as composite decking, has experienced substantial growth over the last ten years, largely due to its increasing popularity as a low-maintenance, long lasting alternative to wood. However, there are a variety of wood-substitutes, each with their own distinct properties and characteristics.
Wood has been a standard building material for centuries. However, with the rise of global warming and deforestation, wood-alternatives are increasing in popularity and use. Thanks to modern technology, we have been able to create a product that will decrease the need for wood materials.
Let’s face it—wood deteriorates. It cracks, it rots, its splinters, it is prone to mildew and mold…the list goes on. As an organic material, it’s a breeding ground for bacteria and a hearty meal for termites and other insects. From an environmental standpoint, its production leads to deforestation.
After a short period of time, your wood furniture looks old and needs replacement. While the initial cost of plastic lumber is higher, it is a more cost-efficient, long-term investment because it does not require replacement after a few years and requires minimal maintenance.
Traditional wood-composite materials are typically manufactured using 50% plastic and 50% organic wood material, such as sawdust or other recycled wood fibers. This makes the product harder to recycle, and still contributes to the destruction of our forests through the use of a wood-filler.
Wood-composites are susceptible to stains, mold, mildew, and insect problems. They require replacement more quickly than recycled plastic lumber, and require more maintenance and upkeep on the part of the consumer.
PVC has been widely used as an alternative to wood, however it is proven to be one of the most toxic, environmentally hazardous building materials available. It is not easily recycled, and typically leaks dangerous chemicals into the environment. It may be durable and long lasting, but this wood-alternative is more of a danger than a solution.
Plastic lumber’s combination of longevity and consumer friendliness makes it the leading alternative to wood, concrete and metal building materials.
Its resistance to decay and ability to withstand severe weather ensures a lifetime of use, without sacrificing the look of the product. In half a century, your recycled plastic lumber will look as good as new. Plus, no maintenance or replacement is needed which relieves the consumer of both a financial and physical burden. While the initial cost of recycled plastic lumber is higher, the product is a better value over time.
Plastic is typically softer than wood or wood-composites, and is susceptible to expansion and contraction from variable temperatures. To compensate for the decreased strength of recycled plastic lumber made from 100% HDPE, Bear Board manufactures its lumber using at least 50% recycled content and mixes the plastic with minerals that add strength, increase durability and decrease expansion and contraction. Since the minerals are not an organic material, Bear Board’s plastic lumber remains impervious to rot, mold, mildew, insects, water and other decay.