There are two types of Plastics, namely Thermoplastic and Thermosetting plastics distinguished by the physical property.


This type can be softened by heating after they have been cured and remoulding cycle can in theory be repeated an indefinite number of times but in practice some defects may eventually take place. The curing process is that by which the shape is moulded by heat and pressure to form the hard shape.

Thermosetting Plastics:

The shape is first prepared by softening under heat and then cured with the use of further heat. After this stage, no further heat will deform the moulded shape once chemical decomposition has occurred. In general these plastics have giant three dimensional molecules.


Plastics are manufactured in different forms such as moulding pipes, sheets and films. They are formed or expanded to produce materials of low density. Dissolved in solvents or dispersed as emulsions, they are used in paints, varnishes and adhesives. At present, plastics find use in buildings mainly in thin coverings, panels, sheets, foams, pipes etc. skilful use of plastics will expand the usefulness and life of conventional building materials and help them to function more efficiently and economically.

A wide range of applications of plastics in buildings are given below:

Applications of plastics in façade panels, exterior covering, carpentry etc.

Façade Panels:

1. Sandwich panels covering with PVC (polyvinyl Chloride), plasticized plates and polyurethane foams.

2. Sandwich panels – asbestos cement covering and polyurethane foam core

3. Sandwich panel – polystyrene foam core and various coverings

4. Sandwich panel – covering with polyester laminated sheet and polyurethane foam core

5. Sandwich panel – enameled iron covering and polyurethane foam core.

6. Sandwich panel – covering with polyester laminated sheet glued to asbestos cement and polyesterene foam core.

Exterior covering:

1. Polyester coated concrete by moulding from an existing plates.

2. Sprayed polyurethane with sand and gravel agglomeration.

3. Epoxy resins and polyesters on various supporting media

4. PVC plasticized plates (spraying, coating or adhesive films)

5. Polyester epidermis available as permanent shuttering

Weather Boarding

1. Polyester

2. PVC

3. Polymethyl methacrylate


i. PVC casing on metal moulding

ii. Polyester laminated sheet on wooden moulding

iii. PVC – chlorinated polyethylene compound

iv. Methyl polymethacrylate

v. Polyester glass fibre and phenolic foam core

vi. PVC/ wood

Rolling Shutters

i. Plasticized PVC extruded sections

ii. Rigid PVC extruded sections

iii. Polyamide winding gear

Blinds and sun screens

Polyester, PVC

Interior Covering, Floors, Walls, Ceilings, Doors, Partitions Etc

Interior Covering

a) Wall Lining

i. Adhering films – vinyl coated fabrics or paper vinyl sheet doubling on fabric or paper etc.

ii. Sprayed lining polyurethane

iii. Laminabee – Molamine and phenolic plastics – polyester

iv. Wall tiles – polystyrene, PVC – tiles or mosaic

v. Coating – polyvinyl acetate

b) Floor Covering

i. Asbestos plastic slabs (asphalt tile type)

ii. Vinyl asbestos slabs

iii. Homogeneous semi-flexible vinyl slabs

iv. Flexible, homogeneous or multi-layered vinyl slabs.

v. Homogeneous vinyl carpets (a) stuck, (b) laid

vi. Vinyl carpets on felt (applied or coating)

vii. Multi-layered coating with cellular structure on fabrics

(a) Multilayered coating on cork structure

(b) Vinyl carpets on jute cloth.

viii. Thermosetting resin based covering

ix. Rubber covering

x. Synthetic fibre tensile covering (polyamides, viscose etc.)

Ceilings and Counter Ceilings

i. Translucent – polyester, PVC, polyamides, polyurethanes

ii. Opaque, extruded polyesterene or vinuyl co-polymers, impact type polystyrene

iii. Lighting – PVC, polymethylmethacrylate

Roof Coverings, Tightness, Domes and Lighting elements

Roof Covering

i. Flat or corrugated sheets – polyester, PVC, polymethylmethacrylate

ii. Curved sheets – reinforced polymer

iii. Domes – polyester, polymethylmethacrylate

iv. Casements – polymethylmethacrylate, reinforced polyester

v. Troughs – class / polyester

vi. Gutters – Rigid PVC polyester

vii. Downpipes – PVC

Roof Tightness

i. Polybutylene with or without glass cloth armature

ii. Butyl rubber

iii. Multilayered bitumen with PVC film screens and armatures

iv. PVC sheets

v. Welded polyester

Sanitary Equipment and Piping

Sanitary Equiment

i. Appliances

(a) Sinks – polymethylmethacrylate, polyester, polyamides

(b) Basins – polyester, polymethylmethacrylate – polyester / glass fibre

(c) Baths – polyester, polymethylmethacrylate

(d) Showers – polymethylmethacrylate, polyester

ii. Pipe works – PVC, phenolics, ABS – terpolymer

iii. Fittings – PVC and ABS – terpolymer – phenolic plastics

iv. Traps – polyamides

v. Water – finishings – polysterene and copolymers, polymer and copolymers, polyethylene


Insulation materials and application of foams

i. Polystyrene

ii. PVC

iii. Phenolic

iv. Formaldehyde urea

v. Polyurethane

Other Prospects

Some noteworthy trends in use of plastics are given below:

i. Concrete and mortar with thermosetting resin bending agents

ii. Thermoplastic and thermosetting resin covering applicable to facades and concrete epidermis

iii. New roof covering and roof tightening materials (accessory covering materials, tightness network), easy to place and standing up well to normal to wear

iv. Large foam component units and new shaping techniques

v. Developing techniques for quick shaping of plastic into large components

vi. Assembling and fixing processes more suitable for plastics

vii. New developments in sanitary equipment and piping, applying thermoplastic and thermosetting resins.

viii. New developments in the way of shuttering and of elements in permanent shuttering

Solar plastic sheets in buildings

Figure: Solar Plastic Sheets


Table: A uses of plastics in buildings




Form in which it is commonly used

Normal colour


Expanded polystyrene

Thermal insulation

Thin sheets in slabs 12mm thick



Expanded polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

Thermal insulation

Boards 20 to 50 mm thick

Yellow brown


Foamed urea formaldehyde

Thermal insulation

Foamed in situ



Foamed phenol formaldehyde

Thermal insulation

Sheets and blocks

Deep red


Foamed polyurethane

Thermal insulation

Sheets and blocks or foamed in situ



Expanded ebonite

Thermal insulation


Brown or black



Damp-proofing, plumbing

Thin sheets, pipes, cisterns

Transparent to black


Poly propylene

Domestic drainage, but water overflow tanks




Unplasticised PVC

Rainwater goods, ventilation, ducts, pipes of water mains




Acrylic resins

Sinks and baths





Cold water fittings, window furniture




Phenolic resins

Adhesives for laminates