HDPE Plastic Lumber FAQ

General Information

A: The color of most materials fades to some degree over time, from exposure to ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Plastic lumber is no exception to this, with brighter colors generally being more susceptible to fading than darker colors. To help reduce fading to an insignificant amount, Bedford Technology adds UV inhibitors to our plastic lumber to ensure our boards will last for years to come. 

Bedford products are designed to stay within 5∆E* from the initial color manufactured for a period of 5 years. This is not detectable to most customers and is in line with industry standards, representing a relatively small change over a long lifetime.

*∆E (DeltaE) is a metric for understanding how the human eye perceives color difference and describes the measure of change in visual perception of two given colors. Delta, a mathematical term, describes the change in a variable or function. 

A: Recycled plastic lumber made from HDPE plastic, offers a long-lasting solution. Studies show that products made from HDPE last in excess of 50 years. Examples of Bedford Technology products in applications like bridge protection, fender piles and shoreline stabilization have been in service in rugged environmental conditions for over 20 years with no apparent reduction in physical properties.

A: Since other molecules don’t adhere to HDPE (paint, chemicals, mold and fungus) like they do with traditional building materials, cleaning is a breeze. Most dirt and grime can be washed off simply with soapy water. For tougher spots, we recommend using a power or spray washer. 

A: Bedford Technology products are engineered to withstand extreme environments and temperatures to help prevent cracking or splintering. Since our plastic lumber is made from HDPE, it performs better than most plastics in low temperatures. HDPE plastic lumber maintains its integrity to below -40 degrees in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. However, by -50 degrees Fahrenheit, it may become significantly embrittled and could crack if struck. We recommend the use of our material in temperatures above -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

A: Yes, we are proud to produce all of our products in the USA and have three manufacturing facilities; two located in Worthington, MN and one in Winchester, Virginia. We also manufacture our fiberglass rebar in-house.

A: Material lead times depend on the product line and manufacturing process for your specific project. Typically, lead times range between 3-6 weeks, but color choice and secondary work can add to this timeframe. Our friendly and knowledgeable customer service team can let you know what the lead time is for your project and may even be able to help if you need your order rushed.

A: Absolutely. Bedford Technology products are recyclable and manufactured from recycled plastic. Sourced from post-consumer and post-industrial recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE), all products can be recycled after project lifecycle. Bedford Technology even offers a buy-back program for our products – please contact our customer service team for more details.

A:  Our plastic lumber is designed for commercial use and so, we supply our plastic lumber to commercial entities. 

 

For SelectPoly™ orders under a pallet of material, please contact Keystone Poly Products, who can assist with orders of under a pallet of material for smaller projects. 

 

Keystone Poly Products LLC

365 Lynwood Road,

Bird In Hand, PA 17505

sales@keystonepoly.net

Ph: 717-690-4618

FX: 717-299-1056

 

For our structural plastic lumber lines of SelectForce®, FiberForce®, and BarForce®, the minimum order is $250 to avoid additional handling fees.

A: No! Bedford Technology products do not contain organic fillers (like wood fiber or sawdust) that can rot over time and affect the performance quality of the material. Recycled plastic lumber is structural and durable and will not rot, mold or degrade over time.

A: Bedford Technology’s products are best suited for commercial applications due to the high-performance specifications. For most homeowners, the order minimums, price, longevity, and performance properties are higher than what they would need in their application, so we would recommend going with a brand developed for the residential market instead. 

A: Bedford Technology is a JIT (Just in Time) manufacturer, and due to the many profiles, colors and products we offer, our products are made to order.

A: Bedford Technology offers 7 product lines all with unique performance characteristics and technical properties. Consider project requirements to determine which product is best-suited for your specific project. 

 

Please contact our Customer Service team with specific questions. They are happy to answer any and all questions you may have to find the right solution for your project.

Or call: 800-721-9037

A: We do not use our own trucks. Instead, we utilize two common carriers: XPO Logistics and Old Dominion.

Installation Information

A: Yes, however we recommend that you use a carbide tipped drill bit and carbide tipped saw blades. We also recommend drilling and cutting a slower rate (high torque drill bit setting), than you would with wood. We also recommend pulling the bit out periodically to clean off excess shavings for a cleaner and more accurate hole.

A: We do not recommend welding or gluing with conventional tools. Please see our installation guidelines for more information on how to fasten our product.

A: Yes, you CAN use nails, however, we recommend using screws for a better hold. We recommend using stainless steel or outdoor treated screws to make sure the fasteners last as long as our material.

A: We recommend pre-drilling holes for the best finish. When installing our SmarterFence product, SPAX® PowerLag® can be used without pre-drilling.

A: The tools used vary depending on the project, however here are some commonly used: 

  • Compound Miter Saw/Circular saw – carbide tipped blade
  • Variable speed drill – carbide tipped blade
  • Impact driver
  • Router
  • Chainsaw – carbide tipped blade

Please contact us today to get your specific questions answered!

Marine Market

A: No, Bedford Technology products are resistant to marine borers, mold and crustaceans.

A: Yes, please refer to the Bedford Piling Installation Guide.

A: We recommend using a pile layout drawing to avoid coming in contact with the rebar. If the rebar is disrupted or damaged, it will impact the strength performance characteristics of the plastic lumber building material.

A: The SeaPile® can mushroom from impact hammering. We recommend using a driving hat to reduce the mushroom effect. Another recommendation is to order longer lengths and cut off the top of the pile once driven for a clean finish.

Wood Comparison

A: In a one-to-one size comparison, natural wood is stiffer than plastic lumber. However, it is possible to achieve a similar strength/deflection limits with structural plastic lumber; we recommend increasing the profile by one or two standard profile widths to reach the desired strength calculation. We publish our technical data so you can be sure our product will meet your project specifications. 

Please contact us with any product application questions and our team will be happy to help you select the right product and profile for your job. 

A: No, plastic lumber is denser than traditional wood and will weigh more.

A: That would be an exceedingly long span even for a wooden board, 5 or 6 feet would be a more reasonable span, depending on your tolerance for sagging of the board. Published span charts are available as part of our design guides, and can be found on our website.

A: When considering a wood alternative, a good place to start is with a comparable plastic board profile. Then, move up one or two standard lumber sizes. It is common that a larger profile will be required for the plastic lumber board. 

For longer lengths, weight and elastic modulus (flexibility) become important considerations. It is recommended that load calculations should always be performed by a qualified engineer in situations where high load or injury from failure is possible. 

For published specifications to help determine suitability for your design, please visit our Technical Information page.

A: HDPE plastic lumber expands at a much higher rate than traditional wood, so thermal expansion is an important consideration when using plastic lumber. 

For example, common lumber, such as pine, expands at 0.0000028 inches of length per degree (F) of temperature increase, and FiberForce® expands at 0.000033 inches of length per degree (F) of temperature increase. It is critical that this dimensional change is taken into account when using plastic lumber building materials.

Additional Questions?

Contact us today!