The manufacture of plastics has come a long way in the last few decades. With streamlined manufacturing processes, plastic has become one of the most commonly used materials in realms in which only metal would do in the past. Plastics are now used in automobiles, home appliances, and even airplanes. You’ll find it is siding for the house, and even in landscaping in the form of large plastic planters or heavy duty edging. But, just how durable is all of this plastic? Here are some interesting and perhaps surprising facts about using plastic as a substitute for metal.
The sun put out radiation. Ultraviolet light is invisible, but very powerful, and can greatly influence plastic. Modern commercial roofing uses PVC materials to keep the structures beneath safe from water damage. The PVC, or plastic materials are usually covered with gravel and pitch. This type of roof will last for five decades or more. However, if a section of the covering becomes cleared of the gravel, it will soon rot from exposure to UV rays, causing failure of the roof.
This damage will occur to other types of plastic, too. Vinyl siding on a house will gradually become more brittle as it is exposed to the sun. While it may appear to be all right, it will lose its impact resistance. This means that something like a hail storm or strike from an errand baseball may cause the siding to shatter. The roof is the same way, with sections that have been sun damaged shattering on impact from hail stones or branches from overhanging trees.
Plastics will also fade over time. While some items are fine, such as large plastic planters, and can be replaced when needed, other items, such as house siding, cannot be replaced on a budget.
Most of these plastics are tinted when they are manufactured. The color goes all the way through, as in planters. But, if the planter is scratched, the darker color will show through. You get the same effect with siding. The overall fading may not be so noticeable, but if you replace a strip of siding, or a section gets a scratch on it, the new surface will be considerably darker.
These problems are not as bad with vehicles because of the paint job that is done at the factory. However, in very old vehicles, you will begin to see some fading, no matter how good the original paint job may have been.
With parts of your house or vehicle that may receive a great deal of contact, metal is usually the better selection. However, plastic can serve its purposes very well if you are aware that you may have to replace it in just a few years. Plastic edging will look great and be quite affordable at the time, but in about 10 years, you’ll need to start replacing it because it will become brittle. Flower post and platers are the same way.