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Wood vs High Density Polyethylene

In: Miscellaneous

Submitted By thomaschrome
Words 1107
Pages 5
Wood
VS.
High density polyethylene (HDPE) Plastic Lumber.

This paper is not to persuade the use of either Conventional, or “Green” building materials it is simply a comparison of the pros and cons of your design choices.

Wood has been a standard building material for centuries. Craftsmen, suppliers and manufacturers always want to see more wood used in materials and goods. The high market value of a real wood floors, furniture, accents and finishes will always be a selling point in any big purchase. There is something wood; unlike other materials, brings that warm, rich inviting look no matter the application it has been implicated in. Even with the pride of ownership and demand for high price; Wood is also the highly coveted material of choice in the cooking profession when it comes to choosing utensils. Wood of course is an essential material in manufacturing instruments, wither it be jamming on a guitar or playing a musical-toon on an oboe. Also let us not forget all those number 2 pencils destroyed during ones educational career. Even with all these wonderful applications for wood just mentioned in this paragraph and the many more items wood can and still is used for; still cannot help it over-come its true fate in nature. Wood deteriorates. It cracks, it rots, its splinters, it is prone to mildew and mold, the list goes on. Of course one would argue that not all of these negative aspects of wood pertain to all of said items, sure it depends on where, what and how it is being used. But the majority of Wood applications come from the Architectural field. It is exposed to the elements across the globe in all climates. So when looking at this organic material from an drafting and design standpoint, one could not help to point out that it’s a possible breeding ground for bacteria and a hearty meal for termites and other insects. After a short period of time, your wood lumber looks old and needs replacement. It also should be noted that from an environmental standpoint, wood cannot be recycled, and its production leads to deforestation.
(HDPE) Most plastic lumber products on the market are made from a single resin, polyethylene, which is available in high and low densities (HDPE and LDPE). Some manufacturers are also using polystyrene (PS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Still others rely on a commingled mix of different types of plastics (largely collected from municipal recycling programs). All plastic types (also called plastic resins) currently used for lumber share a common origin in fossil fuels and thus a common set of initial environmental impacts. Many of these types of plastic lumber can come in several colors to fit a desired application and is fast becoming a common building material, just like conventional lumber. Plastic lumber is becoming more popular among businesses and future homebuilders wanting to make a difference where ever they can and build greener projects. Since plastic lumber first started being used for commercial building in 1990, many builders have found out how beneficial this green product is. They realize that plastic lumber does not fade or warp it does not grow structurally unstable over time due to the elements and nature in general and does not attract bugs, such as termites. These are all common problems when building with wooden materials. Plastic lumber is a lot more user friendly as in easy maintenance it does not need to be stained, treated, or painted and can be cleaned with water. Workability is another advantage to plastic lumber. It holds nails and screws more soundly than wood, and it can be bent and formed into shape more easily. But again, just like in the Wood category (HDPE) plastic lumber has a list of disadvantages too. We will start with the most notable one Cost; expect to pay twice the cost of treated wood for most composites, and even more for all-plastic planks. That's often a stopper, even though you'll save on resealing and possible repairs in the long term. Construction problems, the main problem with plastic lumber is that it is not as strong as naturally-occurring wood. Therefore, a lot of problems arise when using the material in real world applications. The contractors must take special precautions when handling it because some are unaware of the difference, hence building process may be delayed. It is essential that the manufacturer supplies instruction for proper handling of the wood. There is also the issue of the chemical make-up of the (HDPE) lumber and over time some of that combination can become toxic. So whether you choose conventional or alternative the product selection process is the same for green products as for standard non-green products. All of the typical considerations for the quality, performance, aesthetics, and cost of a product are explored as usual. Add to this list, green. What are the environmental?
Impacts of the product,
The standard product selection process includes the following steps:
1. Identify material categories.
2. Identify performance criteria.
3. Identify building material options.
4. Gather technical information.
5. Review submitted information for completeness.
6. Evaluate materials

Obviously, some basic understanding is required at each step. You must understand requirements for how a building is put together in order to identify the material categories necessary for a project. Also, you must have a working knowledge of current construction techniques in order to assess building material options and to know what technical information is necessary for proper evaluation. Concrete, for example, has different performance criteria than does waterproofing. Some considerations, such as durability and cost, are common to all material categories, but the expectations for different materials will be different. A building owner may expect the roof to last 10 to 20 years with relatively little maintenance but may anticipate replacing the carpet every 5 to 7 years.
So in a nutshell or a 4 page research paper such as this one choosing a high quality building material is essential, either it be wood, plastic, glass or steel. You will always ask the same questions what is the purpose of said building, how much money can I afford to spend, do I or do I not care about environmental impact and if any how far are you willing to go with your venture. Like I said in the beginning this is not a persuasion paper for green design or conventional design. All materials have their place; this just gives you an idea on 2 different forms of building it is up to you to determine what is best for your personal use.

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