There is great pride in taking care of a home and building an environment for friends and family. Creating a personalized environment often is accomplished through adding those extra touches and finishes found on both the exterior and the interior, such as moldings and landscaping. Plastic provides an attractive and durable source for these elements, while at the same time helping save time and money.

Today’s plastic moldings are “forgiving”—they bend slightly to cover a less than perfect application and allow the use of beautiful molding to be easily installed in curved wall applications. Today’s flexible molded plastic crowns, finishes, doorway lintels and posts, architectural framing, fireplace framing, wainscoting, and more make work easier and professional looking for Do-It-Yourselfers. Additionally, plastic materials don’t warp, are easy to saw, nail and caulk, and can be painted as easily as traditional materials.

There is much talk today about the importance of an “air-tight home” to both energy efficiency, as well as favorable Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Air infiltration occurs when gaps in walls allow cold air in and warm air out during the winter, and hot air in and cold air out in the summer months. This unwanted air flow creates drafts throughout the house that cause the heating and cooling system to work less efficiently.

Plastics—in the form of housewrap, sealants and foam sheathing insulation—can serve as air infiltration barriers, reducing infiltration of outside air into the average home by up to 10 to 50 percent. These products can significantly reduce the energy required to heat and cool the home. Furthermore, plastic filters for water, air and vacuum units in the home allow for the easy removal of large particles, helping to provide safer water and air for our families.

Geotextiles, Recycled Plastic Lumber, Geofoams

Long-term durability and ease of maintenance are useful attributes for landscaping materials. Gardeners want to leave a lighter footprint on the environment—whether in the form of professional landscaping firms or amateur green thumbs. They often select plastics for geotextile (weed-prevention fabric) and landscaping needs. Plastic solutions come in the form of backyard composters, weed barriers, piping, edging, decorative products, decking and rails, trellises, tables and chairs that will not warp, crack, splinter or peel. In fact plastic lumber is about the only material that can claim it actually grows stronger over time!

The use of recycled plastic lumber is an attractive option not only because of the inherent benefits of recycling, but also because of the savings offered in the labor and expense of replacing rotted, warped or splintered wood. Additionally, stain is not needed (because the color can be molded in) and sealants are not necessary (because plastic is inherently water- and pest-resistant).

Another solution for use in the environment is expanded polystyrene (EPS) and the variety of products now available—such as geofoam. Used as lightweight fill, thermal insulation, compressible inclusion, or drainage, geofoam provides noise and small-amplitude vibration damping, as well as structural and soil stabilization. Plastic geofoams have a density that is only one to two percent the density of soil, yet can be designed to be sufficiently strong and stiff enough to support road, rail, and aircraft loading.

Vinyl textiles used for wallcoverings now sport numerous “blended-in” fabrics and three dimensional designs. Visit Vinyl In Design for more information.

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