The 12 Types of Polymers Used As Building Materials in Construction

Here are the top types of polymers that are used in construction as building materials.

Polymers are widely used in the construction industry for a variety of purposes. The most common polymers used include Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polyethylene (PE), Acrylic, and Polypropylene (PP).

PVC is a versatile and cost-effective polymer highly resistant to corrosion and chemical damage, making it an ideal choice for outdoor applications.

PE is a lightweight and durable polymer used for roofing membranes and waterproofing.

Acrylic is a transparent thermoplastic often used to create skylights and windows.

PP is a strong and lightweight polymer used to produce carpets, flooring, and other interior components.

But there’s more.

Ethyl Vinyl Acetate

solar panels

Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA) is a type of plastic polymer with a wide range of uses in construction. It comprises two monomers, vinyl acetate, and ethylene, which gives it excellent adhesion to many non-porous and polar surfaces.

EVA is widely used in construction because it is relatively low-cost, flexible, crack-resistant, puncture-resistant, and heat-sealed. One example where EVA is helpful in construction projects is encapsulating solar panels.

This process involves wrapping the panel with a thin layer of EVA material to protect it from weathering and other external factors while allowing light to pass through the material.

Other common uses for EVA include various plastic sheeting applications such as:

  • Roof underlayment or vapor barriers around windows.
  • Metal surface protection.
  • Coated paper lamination.
  • Hot melt adhesive film.

Polyethylene (PE)

pe roof cover

Polyethylene (PE) is a type of plastic that has become increasingly popular in the construction industry due to its durability and lightweight properties. It can be molded easily and recycled multiple times, making it an ideal material for many applications.

In construction, PE is used in a variety of ways. As a vapor retarder, it prevents moisture from seeping into a structure’s walls or ceiling.

It can also be used as flooring, window films, countertop protection, and roofing material – all with excellent results! For example, PE roofing protects against extreme weather conditions such as heavy rainfall or hail storms.

Polycarbonate

polycarbonate roof

Polycarbonate is a versatile material with many applications in construction. It can be used for roofing, siding, and glazing.

Its high impact resistance makes it ideal for safety and security glazings, such as bulletproof windows or barrier walls to protect against sound or wind. Its transparency also makes it an attractive option for skylights and conservatories.

Moreover, its durability allows it to withstand extreme climates, making it suitable for indoor and outdoor construction projects.

As a thermoplastic material, polycarbonate can be melted down and reused multiple times, increasing its sustainability compared to other materials.

Polypropylene

polypropylene pipes

Polypropylene is a type of plastic that is used in many construction projects. It has several benefits because of its durability and affordability.

This versatile material can be used for carpets, electrical insulation, piping systems, and machine parts. Polypropylene is well known for its heat and fatigue resistance, making it an ideal choice for many construction materials.

It also has excellent shatter resistance, making it ideal for use in high-traffic areas or areas exposed to extreme temperatures.

Polyvinyl Chloride

pvc pipes

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is a plastic material used in construction for various applications. It is an economical and durable choice for many building projects.

PVC is typically used to make pipes, fittings, flooring, window and door frames, and roof membranes. PVC has many benefits as a building material.

It’s inexpensive compared to other options like metal or wood, making it more cost-effective over the long run. Its durability also makes it ideal for use in areas exposed to harsh weather conditions.

Acrylic

acrylic block

Acrylic is a plastic material with many uses in construction projects. It is highly versatile and lightweight yet firm and durable.

Acrylic is known for its optical clarity, scratch resistance, and rigidity, making it an ideal choice for use in many different building materials and applications.

One example is light fixtures — acrylic can create transparent sheeting applications such as windows or LCD screens. Its high transparency makes it perfect when creating walls with glass or other see-through building blocks.

Composites

composite wood

Composites are materials made up of two or more constituent parts. They are often used in construction to provide strength, durability, and other benefits, such as lightweight construction and corrosion resistance.

One type of composite material that is commonly used in construction is a fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP). This material combines plastic with fiberglass strands to create a strong yet flexible material that can be used instead of heavier metals for load-bearing applications.

Due to their weight savings and durability, FRP composites have been successfully used for bridges, buildings, boat hulls, and even spacecraft components.

Other composite materials include:

  • Reinforced concrete, which combines steel bars with concrete to provide additional strength.
  • Composite wood, which uses glue and particles of wood to form a stronger board.
  • Reinforced plastics, which combine plastic resins with fibers like glass or carbon.
  • Ceramic matrix composites, which use ceramic particles embedded in a resin matrix.
  • Metal matrix composites, which incorporate metal fibers into a metallic alloy.

And many other advanced composite materials that are developed specifically for specific applications.

Overall, the use of composites provides many advantages when it comes to constructing structures: they offer enhanced load-bearing capabilities while also being lightweight enough for aircraft applications, plus they can help reduce costs associated with building structures due to their relatively low cost compared to traditional materials like steel or aluminum alloys.

Epoxy Resins

epoxy floor

Epoxy resins are widely used in construction due to their durability and strength. One common use is as a coating for floors, such as terrazzo flooring.

The resin forms a strong bond with the floor’s surface, protecting it from scratches, chips, and other damage while providing an attractive finish.

Epoxy resins can also anchor fixings in structures such as walls and ceilings, allowing them to be securely held in place without damaging the substrate.

Expanded Polystyrene

expanded polystyrene floor insulation

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a versatile material that can be used for many different construction applications. One of the most common uses for EPS in construction is as a form material for concrete molds and castings.

EPS is lightweight and rigid, which makes it an ideal choice for forming shapes in concrete projects such as footers, walls, pillars, and even entire buildings. Another popular use of EPS in construction is insulation.

Polyisobutylene (PIB)

insulation tape

Polyisobutylene (PIB) is a synthetic rubber material that is used in a variety of construction applications. It has excellent resistance to weathering, aging, and chemical exposure, making it an ideal choice for outdoor construction projects.

One of the most common uses of PIB in construction is as a glazing sealant. It can be applied around window frames and other openings to ensure airtight seals resist water, dust, and wind penetration.

Polyurethane (PU)

pu varnish

Polyurethane, or PU for short, is a versatile material used in many construction aspects. It can be formed into various shapes and sizes, making it an ideal choice for use in various applications.

One common use of PU in construction is as a sealant. This can be used around windows and door frames to provide an airtight seal against the elements and help keep energy bills down by preventing heat from escaping.

Rubber

rubber flooring material

Rubber is a versatile material with many applications in the construction industry. It can provide insulation, reduce vibration and noise, create waterproofing seals, and more.

One of the most common uses of rubber in construction is bridge bearings. This type of bearing uses a layer of rubber between two metal plates to allow for movement within the structure while still providing support.

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