Why isn't plastic used in the construction of houses?

If plastic can be customize to our needs, why can't plastic be customized to be non flammable, UV resistant, non toxic and thermally insulated to be used in house and bulding constructions? Petroleum based plastics are non biodegradable and would last for hundreds of years. Any reason why we do not see more houses built with this versatile product?

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orksecurity6 years ago
For more information on why plastics might not be the best choice for homes, consider this news item:

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2011/01/24/17007276.html
Structural plastics are very expensive. Plastics are inevitably toxic when burned, and there are no non-combustible ones either.
well said
orksecurity6 years ago
"Non-biodegradable" does not mean "will not wear out". It just means that it doesn't get reused by nature. Stone has been used in the construction of houses; stone wears out too, over time.

Frankly, wood holds up remarkably well over "hundreds of years." I live in a part of the US that still has some houses going back to the early 1700's, There are older structures in Europe. Most of my own house dates from about 1860 and the wood is fine -- the place where it had a problem (now corrected) was mostly ground subsiding under it, slightly abetted by some sloppy masonry.
mikeasaurus6 years ago
Actually plastic is used in construction, more than you may realize.
They wrap homes in a thin poly which acts as a vapour barrier (replacing impregnated tar-paper typically used), there's vinyl siding, synthetic carpet, melamine counter tops, plastic forms for concrete, UV-resistant window frames, interior doors with plastic facades, along with countless other smaller applications. I've even seen chipped recycled plastic used as insulation.

If you're thinking about the next wave of construction using plastic in innovative new ways, it's already happening. The reason you don't see more of it comes down to cost. In many areas it's still cheaper to get lumber from Mega-Mart  than it is to source a boutique supplier who will have all the materials you need.
rickharris6 years ago
Plastic is used extensively in house building, windows, insulation, wiring, fittings. For structural parts other materials are better suited or cheaper. (Most) plastics for example can't be nailed into. They are relatively expensive in large sheets as well. where as ply wood is cheap(ish)

We have many houses and churches in the UK that are hundreds of years old and still standing made from traditional materials.

The house across the road from me was built in 1803 the one round the corner in 1680 for example.