Cost vs Timber

Cost Comparison between Plastic Lumber & Timber

The graph below shows the outcome of a study undertaken by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) to compare the costs of using Recycled Plastic Lumber with Timber in the construction of a walkway over a period of 23 years.

Whilst the initial cost of plastic may be slightly higher than that of timber the graph clearly shows that over time, in this case a period of 23 years, using timber is by far a more costly material due to:

  • On-going maintenance (typically after year 2)
  • The life span of timber can be as little as 6 years whereas plastic will far exceed 6 years: within the 23 years the timber walkway will have to be replaced 4 times.
  • Timber lifespan combined with annual maintenance makes using timber compared with plastic far less cost-effective after just 6 years from initial installation. In more aggressive environments e.g. marine, payback can be significantly sooner.
  • So after 6 years of first using plastic lumber, any local authority will save more than twice their original investment over the following 17 years, saving money for future generations. The sooner local authorities invest in plastic lumber as opposed to timber, the sooner they will start saving substantial parts of their budgets, as well as saving carbon from landfill.

lumber vs timber cost comparison over time


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