Wood plastic exterior wall panel
Wood plastic exterior wall panels are large prefabricated wall and floor assemblies that are used in a variety of building types for the residential and non-residential markets. They can be assembled in a platform-frame fashion to create buildings with structures that are analogous to concrete suspended slabs, spanning between load-bearing concrete walls to resist gravity and lateral loads. The panels can also be used in combination with post-and-beam wood frame or steel frame components. The vertically-oriented panels enclose the building, similar to tilt-up construction, while the horizontally-oriented panels span across beams to create the floor plates. Another option that takes advantage of the large panel dimensions, and is sometimes used for industrial buildings, is balloon-frame construction, where the floor assemblies are hung from multi-story wall panels.
Wood plastic exterior wall panels were developed in Europe and Scandinavia over a long period and as a result, there are many manufacturers who make a wide variety of panel types. The focus on Wood plastic in the U.S. and Canada is a result of the many proven advantages of using Wood plastic in the European market.
Wood plastic panels can be manufactured up to approximately 10 ft. by 60 ft. and then cut to size for each project. They are normally produced in thicknesses from 2-in. to 16-in. although thicker panels are available. The laminates that make up the panels are pieces of dimension lumber (such as 1 x 4, 1 x 6, or 2 x 4, 2 x 6 or similar) that are either glued using radiofrequency presses or fastened to each other. The lumber is stacked in its flat orientation into 3-, 5-, 7-layers or more on a forming bed and then subjected to uniform pressure using hydraulic or vacuum presses. The outer layers tend to use higher grade lumber for strength and appearance, while lower grade material can be used for the inner layers. Each layer is perpendicular to the adjacent layers (cross-laminated) and this leads to the first of many great ideas surrounding this product: when the lumber in each layer tries to expand or contract due to shrinkage or swelling, the adjacent layers restrain any movement. This contributes to the superior dimensional stability of the Wood plastic panel.