We are the Industry Leader in Recycled HDPE Plastic Lumber
Feel free to call us: 1-630-264-1110
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FABRICATED PRODUCTS   :   RESIDENTIAL DOCKS & PIERS   :   WATERFRONT STRUCTURES   :   PCR RECYCLED CONTENT
GENERAL
INFORMATION:

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Is Tangent Technologies a manufacturer, distributor or reseller of recycled plastic lumber?

We are exclusively a manufacturer of recycled plastic lumber and structural grade recycled plastic lumber. We do not wholesale, carry general inventory or sell directly to the general public.
What are the different plastic lumber products that Tangent Technologies LLC offers?

Tangent manufactures non-structural and structural grades of "recycled plastic lumber“ which can be customized to meet a variety of applications in three distinct product brands.

  1. PolyTuf™ Premium Recycled Plastic Lumber is for non-structural outdoor end products and primarily used by our OEM business customers to fabricate a variety of end products such as outdoor casual furniture, playground equipment and other similar products where high quality color, finish, uniform cell structure is critical to fabricate and build components of end products with high value fit & finish. PolyTuf utilizes 100% PCR recycled plastic resin we produce internally called PolyPure as well as pre-consumer recycled resin pending the particular color and performance requirements. Commonly referred to in our industry as: plastic lumber :recycled plastic lumber: HDPE plastic lumber: Poly Lumber: Polywood

  2. PolyForce™ Structural Recycled Plastic Lumber is available in a wide range of cross-sections, colors and technical specifications which can be customized to meet the end use strength requirements unique to its targeted application. Utilizes combinations of PCR and pre-consumer recycled resin and chopped fiberglass filaments and continuous fiberglass rebar in the most demanding applications. Commonly referred to in our industry as: FFRCL-Fiberglass Fiber Reinforced Composite Lumber: FFRP-Fiberglass Filament Reinforcement Plastic Lumber: FRP- Fiber Reinforced Polymer composite: FRPL-Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Lumber: SGPL-Structural Grade Plastic Lumber: Composite Marine Timber

  3. TanDeck™ Ultimate Marine DockBoard is made from a special composite formulation of chopped fiberglass filaments, PCR & pre-consumer HDPE recycled resin. Available in 2x6 and 1x6 sizes and sold exclusively through Tangent approved Marine Dealers for the residential boat dock and public/private marina market.
What are the available sizes, colors and lengths that Tangent has on hand to supply customers?

There are over 170 different sizes for PolyTuf™ Premium Recycled Plastic Lumber – See PolyTuf™ Product Page for sizes, description & colors. PolyForce™ Structural Recycled Plastic Lumber is more limited to typical sizes associated with load bearing and structural applications. See PolyForce™ Product Page for sizes, description & colors. TanDeck™ Ultimate Marine Dock Board is available in nominal 2x6 and 1x6 cross sections and four standard colors with custom color options. See TanDeck™ Product page for more information. NOTE: Tangent has in-house tool making capability and can create a new tool and cross section to quickly meet customers needs if the tool / shape is not in inventory in any of Tangent recycled plastic lumber brands. Any color if not available as a standard in house color can be match and offered.
What if I have an idea for a small project or a new product application and I want to buy only a few pieces or small quantity from Tangent? Do you have a minimum order requirement?

Tangent welcomes new product ideas and concepts on how to expand sales of our plastic lumber products regardless if we have the tool or color in house. If you are a manufacturer considering using recycled plastic lumber to build upon existing or developing new products with call us right away to collaborate and confirm the suitability of using our product brands in your application. Once we understand suitability and both qualify the opportunity we will do what it takes to get your product to experiment with – regardless of quantity. If you are inquiring to look for a very small quantity for a one time project around the house we are not your best fit. There are plenty of companies in the market that buy plastic lumber from manufacturers like ourselves, warehouse in inventory that cater to the retail and small one time projects. Call us and we would be happy to direct you to those distributors and resellers.
Will the color of your product fade or change color rapidly once it is installed like I have heard some plastic wood composite lumber products do?

No, all Tangent recycled plastic lumber products have Ultra-Violet (UV) stabilizers compounded into them to help protect the color and integrity of the base resin for years to come. Because Tangent products are wood free and contain no organic fibers you will not observe a rapid color shift or fade to grey due to exposed wood / organic fibers at the surface as is commonly experienced with some wood composite decking and other shapes. Persistent and aggressive UV exposure to sun and heat cycles does affect polymer based product's surface finish and color stability over long term life cycle as with most all materials.
How does the cost compare to wood and other alternative wood composite products?

Tangent recycled plastic lumber products will have a higher initial cost than lower grades of standard and treated wood products. If you desire a long life cycle, stable appearance and performance a side by side ROI comparison will favor Tangent’s product line when you factor in reoccurring maintenance costs with wood based products. If you’re considering premium & tropical hardwoods Tangent will be less costly on your initial costs and there is no need to reapply oil each year to maintain a rich and stable appearance as is needed with Oh, did we mention your not cutting down any trees when you buy Tangent products – when you purchase recycled plastic lumber products you are "closing the loop" by providing a market for post consumer recycled plastics which are being collected in community curbside recycling programs.
Do I need special tools to work with Tangent Products?

No. Standard woodworking tools are fine. Our products can be cut, drilled and milled in the same manner as wood. As always, use tools according to their manufacturer’s instructions; wear protective clothing, including safety glasses and follow all shop safety guidelines. Refer to our install guidelines for more detail regarding handling and safety.
Can your products be stained or painted?

No. Stain and paint will not adhere well to our products. The stability of color and finish on the surface and in our core through the addition of UV stabilizers reduce and mitigate the need for typical recurring maintenance as is needed for wood and wood based composite products.
What type of fasteners are recommended when working with your products?

We highly recommend stainless steel screws and fasteners. Why invest in a beautiful and long lasting product and then see rust emanating from a metal fastener susceptible to corrosion or oxidation? Pre-drilling is typically not required but it might be advisable as in all professionally installed projects where “fit & finish” is highly desirable. We suggest you review all viewable documents associated with Tangent plastic lumber brands to be sure you are fully informed before designing and working with our products. Our staff is always available to assist.
Will the color and finish of each piece of plastic lumber be “exactly” the same?

Tangent is the best in our industry at controlling lot to lot color in our process. Our customers could not build products from several shapes of the same color if we were not consistent in our manufacturing process. However we do utilize 100% HDPE post consumer recycled milk bottles and a variety of pre-consumer recycled plastic resins in all our product lines. As a result we do manufacture to a standard allowable variance acceptable to our customers which may result in very slight differences but with meeting with their approval. No one else in the industry internally controls their recycling process and bulk blends feedstocks in the size and quantity as Tangent.
Is the product slippery when wet?

Tangent plastic lumber products are not any more slippery than painted or sealed wood. For high traffic applications we do have a wood grain or knurled embossed finish that will improve the COF or coefficient of friction to assist in meeting the appropriate standards set for the application intended.
Will your materials expand and contract with temperature changes?

Yes. Thermal expansion and contraction is a fact of life for all materials and is a naturally occurring phenomenon. Resin based products such as our recycled plastic lumber products will exhibit predictable thermal expansion and contraction. The key is to quantify and understand it to accommodate in the design and implementation of your end use. Our Technical Data sheets are available for each product which document the amount of thermal expansion and contraction to expect according to ASTM standard test methods. We will be happy to discuss options and the best custom grade for your application and technical needs.
Can static electricity build up when walking across a surface from your products?

Yes, given a perfectly dry or extremely low humid environmental conditions static electricity is a naturally occurring phenomenon. The potential to occur is no different than walking across your brand new carpet inside your house in the same conditions. Tangent adds an anti-stat additive which greatly reduces but cannot entirely eliminate it to all products where this may be of concern.
Can all your plastic lumber products be used for structural applications?

No. PolyTuf™ is a nonstructural plastic lumber product and should never be considered for structural end uses. PolyForce™ Structural Recycled Plastic Lumber is designed for specifications needing structural properties. We would never recommend using any of our products for structural applications without first reviewing our technical data sheets and consulting with a certified engineer to determine the material’s suitability for your design and application.
Can I notch Tangent’s plastic lumber like wood?

The answer is a qualified - Yes. We do not recommend you saw cut inward to notch at a sharp 90 degree angle with overlapping cross cuts. This method produces a sharp concentrated stress point and over time will propagate a stress crack emanating from it regardless if the material is wood or polymer based. You should always plan your notch by drilling a hole and saw cutting from each side towards the drilled hole to allow the radius at the intersection to be your notched corner. This technique should leave space for any expected thermal expansion & contraction, particularly if you are notching to go around a stationary post or other immovable obstacle. Keep in mind when you drill holes and notch out a cross sections of our product you will affect the overall physical properties of the product cross like any other product.
I’ve heard of TanDeck™. What type of plastic lumber product is this?

Our TanDeck™ is our Ultimate Marine Dock Board recycled plastic lumber product available today in 2x6 and 1x6 sizes and sold exclusively through Tangent approved Marine Dealers for the residential boat dock and public/private marina markets.
What is the real difference between your plastic lumber products and wood composite decking and alternative composite products I hear so much about?

Wood composite decking and lumber products that are offered in the marketplace, like Trex™, are made from high percentages of roughly waste wood fiber and the balance of a polyethylene plastic resin like recycled grocery bags which is used primarily as a binder to hold the wood particles together. This highly filled percentage of wood fiber makes it a challenge to completely encapsulate the wood with plastic and prevent it from coming in contact with normal UV exposure, moisture, mold and all the things nature throws at outdoor products. Wood composite products have gotten much better over the years from when they were first introduced. The higher priced products today are co-extruding solid layers of plastic around the surface to be more color stable and protect the wood from exposure to UV and moisture. However, if the surface is nicked or gouged then the barrier is broken and the original problems has the potential to resurface.
All of Tangent’s plastic lumber product brands – PolyTuf™, PolyForce™ and TanDeck™ are free of wood and alternative organic fillers so we do not keep spending more money trying to solve a systemic problem – we never had it to begin with!
Do Tangent Products have warranties?

Absolutely! All Tangent plastic lumber products have established warranties. Please refer to our Products brand page for reference to our array of documents supporting each brand.
Can different Tangent Products be used together to build a product or system?

Certainly! Combinations of PolyTuf™, TanDeck™ and PolyForce™ can be used together to take advantage of the unique properties of each material in an overall system, application or end product. We are happy to collaborate and make recommendations to be sure that the design and use is appropriate for each material.
FABRICATED
PRODUCTS:
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What markets do fabricated products serve?

Fabricated products utilizing recycled plastic lumber can be made to suit a wide variety of outdoor living applications both for residential and commercial uses. Casual furniture, golf course accessories, urban site amenities (public parks, state lands, etc), playground systems, transportation, industrial settings, agricultural settings, and more evolving each day!
What is PolyTuf™? And what is it used for?

PolyTuf is our Premium Recycled Plastic Lumber brand which is used primarily to build a myriad of products used by our OEM customers that design and fabricate high value demanding products for what we call the "Fabricated Products Market. For more weight bearing applications, we recommend using PolyForce™. Your specific needs will inform which product is best used and we are always available to guide you through this design process.
I am looking to buy an Adirondack chair. Can I buy it directly from you?

No, Tangent supplies original equipment manufacturers with materials to build and sell these type of outdoor products.
RESIDENTIAL
DOCKS & PIERS:
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I am a homeowner looking to build a personal boat dock & pier. Where can I buy Tangent TanDeck?

Tangent works with exclusive speciality marine dealers in waterfront communities which service the professional marine contractor trade. Please go to the Residential Docks & Piers Market for existing dealers. If your area is not served, Tangent will gladly work with you to figure out how to install TanDeck in your area.
I have a very particular color I want my dock board to be. Can you do that?

Yes! Tangent recycled plastics can be made in virtually any color or shade imaginable. We will work with you to discover your needs and can provide a custom solution.
What is the difference between TanDeck™ and wood composite and cellular PVC decking?

Leading wood composite decking is made from a mixture of plastic and waste wood or other organic fibers. Wood and other organic fibers when exposed to the environment absorb moisture, making composite decking susceptible to fading, staining and swelling. TanDeck™ is made from a proprietary blend of recycled HDPE plastics, strengthening agents, UV inhibitors and anti-static additives. It has no wood or organic fibers and is not susceptible to moisture that can cause staining, swelling, warping or splintering in typical wood and wood filled products.
How is TanDeck™ secured to the deck structure?

TanDeck™ can be face-screwed using high-quality stainless steel screws (we recommend Simpson Strong Tie's #10 Dexter x 3" long, 316 stainless steel) that will last the life of the deck. No pre-drilling is required. The CAMO Hidden Fastener System (www.camofasterners.com) has been approved by Tangent for those who are looking those the hardware on the dock board surface. Refer to TanDeck™ Installation Guidelines for more complete and up to date information.
Can I build the deck structure from TanDeck™?

No. TanDeck™ has structural properties but is not suitable for structural support. PolyForce™ Structural Recycled Plastic Lumber from Tangent can be used for the deck structure pending the application.
Will TanDeck™ fade of change color once installed?

TanDeck™ is pigmented throughout and has ultra-violet inhibitors that stabilize the color both on the surface as well as the inner core. With no wood or organic fibers within to weather, TanDeck™ will maintain its color, fit and finish for years with only a slight change in color shift over the long life cycle of the product.
What shapes, lengths and colors does TanDeck™ come in?

TanDeck is strictly a marine dock board in 2x6 and 1x6 sizes which come in standard colors and lengths depending on the region your in and which dealer is servicing your market. Call Tangent for any additional information you might request.
WETLAND &
WATERFRONT STRUCTURES:
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What makes PolyForce™ stronger than PolyTuf™?

PolyForce™ Structural Recycled Plastic Lumber incorporates proprietary strengthening fibers such as fiberglass and other key additives within the core of the product to increase stiffness and reduce expansion & contraction. We can custom design the material and mechanical properties to meet your needs.
I have a commercial-scale waterfront construction project. Can Tangent supply large volume orders?

Absolutely! Tangent works directly with private and public contractors. No project is too big or complicated. We have over 10 year of experience in commercial sized builds.
What is maximum distance that PolyForce™ can span?

A number of variables affect the recommended spans. Please contact us, or have your engineer contact us, so that we may provide technical data to support their design.
Can PolyForce™ be manufactured with a custom color?

PolyForce™ is most commonly produced in black, or standard earth tone colors, although, depending on the project’s scope, any color can be customized to meet specific needs.
What tools can be used to fabricate with PolyForce™?

Standard woodworking tools are just fine. Our products can be milled in the same manner as wood. Always use tools according to their manufacturer’s instructions and wear protective clothing and safety glasses for your safety. For information refer to PolyForce Install Guidelines.
Where can I get technical/performance information?

Tangent has performed extensive product testing on a wide range of PolyForce sizes and formulations. Ultimately we can custom design and produce any shape and length to meet most technical performance needs. Please call Tangent directly for specific requests.
I have heard of PolyForce™ Plus, what is the difference of this versus PolyForce™?

PolyForce is reinforced with fiberglass filaments within the plastic matrix. PolyForce "Plus" has greater stiffness and strength than PolyForce due to the addition of continuous fiberglass rebar embedded within the cross section in order to meet the most demanding applications. These cross sections tend to be larger as in "timber" sizes such as 10" x 10" and 12" x 12".
What is the typical lead time for an order?

This is subject to production backlog at the time of order, however, with a wide array of multiple extrusion lines, we are typically able to comfortably support most construction schedules and we are willing to produce ahead and carry in our inventory to alleviate concerns about meeting delivery dates.
How do I cut and drill your material in the field?

With similar carbide tipped tooling used to cut and drill wood. Please refer to our Field Installation Guide.
PCR RECYCLED CONTENT:
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What is PCRPure™?

PCRPure™ is our trademark for our internally produced 100% Post Consumer Recycled Resin.
How does PCRPure™ relate to your recycled plastic lumber brands?

At Tangent we quickly realized that for us to continue to grow and adequately stay ahead of our customers regarding quality and delivery expectations we needed more control regarding the quality of our feedstock. Buying PCR plastic resin on the open market was challenging due to the inconsistent quality and availability we experienced year over year. In 2010 Tangent invested in a multimillion dollar expansion to build our own internal plastic recycling operation so we could remove these uncertainties for us and our customers.
Does Tangent sell PCRPure™ on the open market?

We do in fact. We purposely designed our recycling operation to have excess capacity so over time we could grow into it as well as enabling us to be in the marketplace as a supplier of HDPE PCR recycled resin. Conversely we are always in the market to purchase post consumer recycled milk bottles from communities across the country. Call us today to explore selling Tangent PCR milk bottle bales and/or purchasing PCRPure for your end product need.
Does Tangent purchase pre-consumer or post-industrial recycled plastics?

Yes. We are only interested in ongoing sources of reasonable volume and quality plastic scrap materials. One time good deals of uncertain quality we are not interested in.
What is Green Circle Certified and what is the relationship with Tangent?

At Tangent we wanted to keep our environmental marketing claims honest and transparent. Our customers in turn build their environmental marketing claims based upon what Tangent represents. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) updated their "Green Guides" in 2012 which set rules for the industry to follow and to put companies on notice who make invalid claims (greenwashing). We determined the time was right to demonstrate leadership in our recycled plastic lumber industry and be the first to reach out and engage an independent third party firm to certify our recycled content claims and to ensure we do our own due diligence to comply with the existing FTC published guidelines. For more detailed information go to the Certified Recycled Content section.