5 Things You Need To Know About Plastic Lumber

Posted: September 11, 2018 in Plastic

Plastic lumber is a product that is of interest to many in the DIY community. As a recycled and durable replacement for wood the appeal of the product is obvious and applications are only limited by the imagination. However, plastic lumber is only suitable for certain applications and unlike lumber is not “one size fits all”. Here are three important things you need to know about plastic lumber:

1.) There are structural and non-structural grades.

Not many people know that some plastic lumber cannot be used for a load-bearing structure. This means that it is not safe to make into benching or a picnic table for example. Structural grades DO exist but you need to request them and ensure what you’re buying is “structural”. This usually is a fiberglass reinforced product.

2.) Color affects cost

This trait about plastic lumber is even less known. Yes, the product can be obtained in a veritable rainbow of colors; however, certain colors are expensive and it’s not simply a choice between “black or color”. Some colors such as yellow may cost up to 50% more than black! As a customer, you need to know this and consider the cost colors may add when you request a quote.

3.) It’s rarely stocked

With so many colors and profiles of lumber (dozens) it’s rare to find it stocked. It is usually brought in on a special order, so know how many lengths of each size you require for your job when making a request for quote. This also means you can expect up to 4-6 weeks for your shipment to arrive, so plan ahead!

4.) It’s expensive

This is a biggie. As a “recycled” product that’s also “just plastic” many customers unfortunately get sticker shock when quoted. Make no mistake, there is no hiding it, plastic lumber will not at all compete with the price of wood: full stop. Certain lumber profiles can reach into several hundred dollars per length and even the humble 2×4 will be close to $100.00/length landed cost. Before getting your hopes too high for your application – understand that you are buying a premium, small-run, product that is priced accordingly.

5.) It’s awesome

For those that invest in plastic lumber it really is as good as advertised. Resisting insect attack, rot, rust, mold, and splintering – the product really is excellent! You just need to make sure you have realistic expectations of the cost, the timeline for your order, and ensure you’ve selected the correct grade.


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