These are our tips for working with recycled plastic. (You may also be interested in our FAQs section here)
In many scenarios, recycled plastic lumber can be worked like hardwood, however it is worth noting that it should never be cut lengthwise. This is to do with differing tensions between the “skin” of the recycled plastic and the inside. Nor should deep notches over 50% of the width of the plank be cut into it. Cutting a notch into a lumber plank weakens it as would be the case with timber. Therefore if notched planks are integral to your design, we suggest this is only as part of a finished product which remains static, ie. not something which is regularly moved or dismantled.
Our recycled plastic profiles can be worked in principle in the same manner as wood with the same woodworking tools. For sawing and drilling we recommend working the recycled plastic steadily and slowly. The general rule is to choose a cutting speed which prevents the material melting on the surface of the tool.
At low temperatures, the recycled plastic will be slightly stiffer. However, due to the combination of materials used in the construction, the recycled plastic exhibits good physical properties to at least 20 degrees below zero. In warm weather conditions the material tends to become slightly tougher and more flexible.
Use metal or wood bits (HSS or HM type). Spiral or speed bits are both acceptable – do not use a high drilling speed. See table below.
Recycled plastic sections (profiles) can be sawn with a handsaw, circular saw or a chop saw. See table below.
All of these techniques can be used with our profiles. Care is required and experimentation on scrap material is advised.