Why is Plastic Lumber More Expensive than Wood?
The most common use of recycled plastic trash bags and waste wood fibers is plastic or recycled lumber. The main advantages of using recycled lumber products are that it is more durable than wood, is heat resistant, insect proof and versatile and comes in a wide variety of different styles and colors. Recycled plastic lumber products contain no toxic chemicals, unlike those in conventional lumber.
Recycled plastic lumber is manufactured using a 50/50 mixture of wooden fibers from sawdust and waste plastics which includes PVC, polyethylene and others. There are other attributes of plastic lumber and though it may be more expensive to manufacture than wood products, it lasts longer and is more durable. By eliminating the amount of virgin materials used, plastic lumber is not impregnated with toxic chemicals and makes sufficient use of resources and reduces the amount of waste used by utilizing recyclable materials.
Generally, recycled plastic lumber is cost competitive with other high end decking material such as pine and redwood, but it is more expensive than traditional treated wood products. Because there is no need to treat, paint or seal recycle plastic lumber, the costs are less to maintain than wood decks, fencing and railing. When using recycled plastic lumber materials, installation is easy and can be done using standard carpenter tools and once installed, the lumber can be left its natural color or painted or stained to match existing colors.
The warranty for recycled plastic lumber will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and most will last for 10-20 years. Some manufacturers will also offer a lifetime warranty on the product, but because the product is so durable, rarely will someone have to use the warranty. Composite or recycled lumber products used for railing and fencing are more likely to have a longer warranty, but are much more durable than traditional wooden lumber.
Though plastic lumber is more expensive than wood, it exhibits low moisture and is highly resistant to insect, decay and UV sun damage. Plastic lumber requires less maintenance than wood and has greater stability and does not expand and retract from moisture like wooden lumber. While recycled plastic lumber may be more expensive than some other types of products, the money and time saved on painting, stripping and staining the materials every few years saves considerable time and expense on the homeowner.
Recycled plastic lumber is available in a wide variety of colors and is resistant to fading, cracking, warping, and looks very similar to traditional, regular wood products. Recycled plastic lumber does not require staining or sealing, has an indefinite life span and does not rot, splinter or crack due to the elements. When thinking of the expense of using plastic lumber, it pays to weigh the pros and cons of recycled versus traditional wood lumber and while it may be more expensive in the short term, using recycled products will pay for itself in saved time, effort and expense for the homeowner.