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Commonly Asked Questions

What Is Plastic Lumber?

Technically, lumber is a material that is formed into beams and planks that can be used to build various structures. Traditionally, lumber is made from different types of wood but technology has evolved to the point where lumber can now be made from other materials like recycled plastic. Plastic lumber comes in the same shapes as traditional wood lumber, however, it is made from recycled plastics, including milk jugs, shampoo and conditioner bottles, and detergent bottles. These bottles are sourced from landfills.

How Is Plastic Lumber Made?

Basically, recycled plastic is collected, cleaned, and broken down into pellets. These pellets are then heated to 400 degrees at which point they melt and can be molded into any shape. You can learn more about the process on our page titled, “How Is Plastic Lumber Made?”.

Is Plastic Lumber As Strong As Wood?

Yes, plastic lumber is as strong as wood. Even better, exposure to the elements won’t weaken the structural integrity of the plastic lumber. The same can’t be said for traditional wood lumber which can be damaged by water, mold, and insects.

What Can Plastic Lumber Be Used For?

Plastic Lumber can be used for nearly any project. Just a few of the ways in which customers at Plastic Lumber Yard have used our products include:

  • Decks
  • Docks
  • Boardwalks
  • Benches
  • Amusement Park Walkways
  • Fences
  • Barn Stalls
  • Indoor Riding Rings
  • Aquarium Structures
  • Miniature Golf Borders
  • Landscape Edging
  • Bocce Court Border
  • Turf Nailers
  • Door Frames
  • Curbing and Bumpers
  • Dog Park Fence Lining
Porch made from recycled plastic lumber

Are Special Tools Needed To Work With Plastic Lumber?

Standard woodworking tools can be used on plastic lumber, including but not limited to saws, drills, and routers. Always use tools according to manufacturer’s instructions, and wear protective clothing and safety glasses for your safety.

Does Plastic Lumber Shrink & Expand In Cold And Hot Weather?

Yes, plastic lumber does expand in heat and contract in cold temperatures, however, that expansion and shrinking are minimal, roughly a quarter of an inch every 8 feet in length in regions with seasons. This movement should be taken into account when planning a project, as would be done with any material that moves. 

The Importance Of Understructure When Installing Plastic Lumber

Having a flat and fully dry understructure is important. Plastic lumber will reflect any imperfections in the understructure.

Does Plastic Lumber Really Produce Electrostatic Shock?

Yes, when walking across plastic lumber boards, an electrostatic shock is produced. Plastic lumber is an insulating material and typically, the materials that the soles of shoes are made from are also insulating material. When two insulating materials rub against one another, a charge is produced. When a conductive material is touched later, that charge is released.

While it is possible that a small shock might be felt after walking on a plastic lumber surface, the reality is that every person has experienced this sensation at some point in their lives and the electrostatic shock is not dangerous.

Our Premium Grade plastic lumber now includes an anti-static additive that all but removes the potential static charge buildup.

Can Plastic Lumber Be Painted?

Plastic lumber does not absorb water, oils, or chemicals and therefore does not like paint or stain. While some people have reported good results when using spray paints, the reality is that paint will likely peel off of the lumber.

Thankfully, plastic lumber is available in a wide range of colors, including purple and pink! The perfect color can be found for any project. Custom colors are available for large products.

Can Plastic Lumber Be Recycled?

Absolutely! Plastic Lumber is made from recyclable plastics and so is 100% recyclable.

How Long Does Plastic Lumber Last?

One of the great benefits of plastic lumber is that it engineered to last for decades! Plastic lumber doesn’t crack, peel, or splinter like traditional wood lumber. When exposed to water, the planks don’t rot or corrode and are resistant to marine borers and mold. You can expect that any project completed with plastic lumber will last for years to come.

Will Plastic Lumber Burn? 

Plastic lumber does have a higher kindling point than wood and if removed from flames will self extinguish, however, it will burn and melt when exposed to flames for a long period of time. 


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