PVC millwork is a generic term that is used to describe woodwork manufactured using polyvinyl chloride resin (PVC). PVC millwork is also called plastic millwork. Unlike wood millwork, PVC millwork is not cut from PVC lumber; instead, molten PVC resin is pushed through a die to create a standard millwork profile. Because PVC is a thermoplastic resin—it softens when heated and hardens when cooled—it can be manufactured in different shapes. For example, PVC quarter round is not cut; it is extruded directly into the shape and size of the desired profile. Also, PVC millwork can be manufactured in lengths that are difficult and expensive to produce in wood. In addition to specialty profiles like quarter round, PVC millwork includes boards and sheets in traditional construction sizes.
PVC millwork has a high level of chemical resistance, is strong, and resists water. Cellular PVC millwork also resists abrasion and can be touched up with light sanding, which makes it very popular in the construction industry. PVC millwork is lightweight, long lasting, and virtually maintenance free.
PVC millwork looks and feels like top-grade lumber. It installs like lumber and can be cut, shaped, routed, or milled with ordinary woodworking tools. It can be handled like any soft wood. PVC millwork can be cut with a conventional carbide-tipped blade that is designed for working with wood. When it is cut properly, PVC millwork will have a smooth edge. Excessive friction, a worn saw blade, or badly aligned tools can cause the millwork to have rough edges, but they can be rasped and sanded to restore a smooth edge. Standard woodworking drill bits work well with PVC millwork, but installers should avoid heat buildup from excessive friction. PVC millwork can be routed with a carbide-tipped blade and the edges finished with machine edging, sanding, grinding, or filing. For a more finished look, some installers spackle, sand, and paint the finished edge.
PVC millwork cannot be used in load-bearing applications, but it can be used in spanned applications like soffit and porch ceilings. Typically, when used as soffit, 1" thick (nominal) board or 3/4" (actual) sheet will span 16" to 24". Ceilings also require a minimum 1" thick (nominal) board or 3/4" (actual) sheet to span 16" to 24". PVC millwork cannot be used to span more than 24".
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