Is Plastic Lumber Strong Enough For Commercial Decks?

Commercial properties throughout the country can benefit greatly from adding a deck. Whether it’s a small entryway or large outdoor dining space, decks help to add value. 

Commercial decks are subject to stricter building requirements and regulations and depending on the circumstances, certain building materials are not appropriate choices. 

The International Building Code 

The International Building Code (IBC) regulates and determines how commercial decks are built. Additional measures must be taken to account for the extra capacity and foot traffic that is anticipated on a commercial deck. 

A few factors that the IBC takes into account include: 

The Type Of Construction 

The type of construction refers to the materials that are used to build the commercial deck. According to the IBC, there are five “types” of materials:

Type I: Fire Resistant

Type II: Non-Combustible

Type III: Ordinary Construction 

Type IIII: Heavy Timber

Type V: Wood Frame Construction 

Each of these types is categorized based on its combustibility and fire resistance. While it is technically possible to use any of these types to build a commercial deck, the structure design, the expected use, the maximum capacity, and the number and location of exits. 

Occupancy Type and Capacity

There are four occupancy types: 

  1. Business
  2. Assembly 
  3. Mercantile
  4. Residential

The majority of commercial decks fall under the Assembly type. The type and anticipated capacity must be calculated, then used to define the minimum floor area per person and the required strength can be determined. 

These factors also determine the number of required exits. 

Means Of Egress 

Means of Egress addresses the exits. Not only the number of required exits but also the lighting, signs, and accessibility. Exits might include stairs and ramps. These exits must be slip-resistant. 

Is Plastic Lumber A Good Choice For Commercial Decks? 

The answer to this question is an enthusiastic yes! HDPE lumber, commonly known as plastic lumber, is the perfect material for commercial decks of any size. 

Plastic wood is waterproof, making it durable and long-lasting. It won’t ever rot, splinter, or crack. Decks built with plastic lumber will last a lifetime. 

Plastic boards are fire-resistant and self-extinguishing. Premium Plastic Lumber is actually less slippery when wet. When combined with fiberglass, Structural Plastic Lumber is far stronger than any wood alternative. 

Plastic lumber can be used for both land and marine applications. 

Contact Plastic Lumber Yard For Your Commercial Decking Needs

If you’re building a new commercial deck or refurbishing an old one, be sure to contact the team at Plastic Lumber Yard. We can help you determine which plastic boards are the best option for your specific decking plan. Call (610) 277-3900 or email