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Dr. Christopher S. Baird

Why is plastic not used in home construction?

Category: Chemistry      Published: February 26, 2014

modern home
Modern homes are constructed using plastic for various roles. Public Domain Image, source: Christopher S. Baird.

Plastic materials are used in several ways in home construction. Plastic has useful properties such as water resistance, corrosion resistance, electrical insulation, and durability. Here we are using the common meaning of the word "plastic": a synthetic moldable solid. Among the uses of plastic in home construction are:

While plastic is used in various roles in home construction as listed above, it is true that pure plastic is not used for structural components. Pure plastic is not used as the beams, planks, and wall studs that hold up a house for several reasons. First of all, plastic is simply not as strong as wood, metal, or brick. Also, plastic permanently deforms under stress (creeps), and is harder to nail, drill, and screw than wood. Many of these structural limitations can be overcome by mixing plastic with other materials to form composite building materials. If the structural components of your house are made out of composite materials, there is a good chance that a lot of your house is made out of plastic.

Topics: construction, insulation, plastic