I used a piece of expanded PVC to shim a door I installed 3 years ago and it has been fine. However, if I had known it was XPVC when I bought it, I would have used something else. I had to mortise in hinges and it machined with no trouble.
I wouldn't recommend it but it works if you must use it. As for a general wood substitute, how are you going to glue it, regular woodworkers glue isn't going to stick, so you'll have to use ??epoxy??
My application is not exposed to sunlight so UV is not an issue. In addition to discoloring, UV makes PVC brittle causing it to fail easily.
I’ve used a lot of it outside ..... Brickmold around all the outside doors, framing around the overhead door,
and the risers on these steps.... Several years old and no sign of discoloration..... Great stuff to work with ...
They are making stair rails and banister spindles for outside porches and stairs out of this stuff. My Dad had some installed a few years ago and it is not suppose to discolor, crack, peel and never needs paint. So they say. So far os good. One thing I noticed is that you cannot sit on top of the railing because it wants to sag. I don't think there is much strength to support my weight although maybe a child could sit on it. It is quite more expensive than wood, but if you never have to replace it, you will save in the long run.
PVC fencing lasts just a few years up here in the high desert. Our UV levels are extremely high, and when you drive around you notice that PVC fences are cracked and sagging before very long. Might work fine in a different climate, but not here.
I used it for a lot of trim around the rear porch on my previous house. What I used was from Lowe's, worked great and didn't yellow. I liked the wood grain look. I also used a 10" wide piece for the top of the "rail" down to my basement (it would be better if I can find a picture. I buillt a shed at my new home and used the PVC to frame the windows and the doors.
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