This Is Plastics: Plastics’ Integral Role in Building and Construction

Plastics 101

Plastics’ Integral Role in Building and Construction

The construction industry is America’s second-largest consumer of plastics. Plastics are selected and trusted by the people who build homes and infrastructure across the nation.


Top 3 Takeaways

Plastics’ versatility makes them a must-have material in building and construction. Their wide functionality offers distinct advantages over many other traditional building materials in terms of resistance to weathering, flexibility for many uses and lower costs.

Though basic construction materials such as metal, wood and masonry are staples in construction, many plastic materials are as strong as—if not stronger than—certain metals. Plastic hardware doesn’t rust, so it can survive outside in any weather, indefinitely. Plastic components used in construction include electric wiring, flooring, wall covering, waterproofing, fasteners, pipes, valves, fittings, hinges and decorative touches.








Wiring & Cable




Vinyl Siding






Solar Shingles


Hardwood Flooring


Laminate Flooring


Toilet Seats




House Wrap


Cooling Film

Click above to learn about all the roles plastic plays in a modern home.

Additional Information


Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam and extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam are often made from recyclable products, helping with LEED points. The material is made to resist mold and mildew growth.

Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation fills small cracks in buildings, helping homeowners save on heating and cooling costs by blocking air leaks. This reduces condensation and mold growth and helps prevent pests and insects from getting into homes. It’s stable, which means it’s less likely to settle over time, and it can help achieve green certification.


Leaking pipes lead to wasted water and billions of dollars in repair costs across the U.S. each year. Pipe problems can also cause contaminants, or leach lead or concrete compounds, which may have negative effects on peoples’ health. Tough and flexible, plastic pipes are more reliable and more functional than metal pipes. Additionally, plastic pipes are often used in areas prone to earthquakes and floods. PVC water pipes used in infrastructure projects can safely carry water for more than 50 years.

Concrete/Plastic Hybrid

Irradiated plastic not only helps improve the strength of concrete but also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Concrete production is responsible for 4.5 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Replacing 1.5 percent of concrete with plastic can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.0675 percent.

Solar Panel Shingles

Solar shingles aren’t as bulky, heavy or expensive as traditional solar panels. They can even be printed onto walls, windows and curved surfaces.

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