Wetlands are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world, after rainforests and coral reefs. In the United States, coastal wetlands and inland wetlands exist, providing ecological support for an incredible number of plants, fish, amphibians, birds, mammals, and microbes.
Protecting our wetlands is vitally important. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Forest Service, has created trail structures and boardwalks through wetlands in national parks, hoping to encourage visitors who will learn about this valuable resource.
Traditionally, wetland boardwalks are made from treated wood. This poses several problems. First, wood breaks down when exposed to water and humidity. Second, the natural breakdown of wood results in costly upkeep, the regular replacement of boards, and hazardous conditions for visitors. Third, the chemicals used in treated lumber leech into the surrounding soil and water.
Thankfully, with miles and miles of boardwalks in disrepair, the lumber industry now has alternatives to wood.
Why Is Plastic Wood A Good Choice For Wetland Boardwalks?
Here’s why plastic lumber is a great building material for boardwalks:
Plastic Lumber Can’t Rot
Plastic is waterproof is plastic lumber is made from 100% plastic. Even when placed directly in water, plastic won’t break down.
These boards also don’t need to be treated with chemicals to prevent rotting so the surrounding wetlands are safe from pollution.
Wildlife Doesn’t Harm Plastic Boards
Wood is naturally a source of food and bedding for many types of wildlife but the same can’t be said for plastic. Boards won’t be disturbed or weakened as a result.
Plastic Requires Little Maintenance
A simple cleaning is all that is needed to maintain plastic lumber.
Lumber Made From Plastic Is Easy To Work With
Lumber made from HDPE can be drilled and cut like any other board. No special tools are required. It can easily be cut and modified in the field when adjustments need to be made.
Plastic wood can last for decades. Ultimately, investing in plastic lumber provides great savings in time and money. The longevity of the boards also helps the wetland habitat as the lack of maintenance and replacements mean that the wetlands don’t need to be disturbed by construction.
Is Plastic Lumber Strong Enough For A Boardwalk Understructure?
There are many grades of plastic lumber, each suitable for various projects. Premium plastic boards are best used for the actual walkway. Structural lumber is reinforced by fiberglass, making it much stiffer than other grades. Structural lumber can be used for joists, posts, sea walls, and more.
The team at Plastic Lumber Yard is happy to help with the selection of plastic boards for your boardwalk needs. Contact us today for a custom quote.