When it comes to choosing HVAC intake/exhaust vents for your next construction project, you will likely be comparing the options in metal and plastic. So, which material is the better choice? In recent years, new plastic technologies have created some significant advantages. Here are six of them:
- Weather resistance and durability
Outdoor vent covers must stand up to the weather. Modern plastic resins like polypropylene can be made with special additives that provide significant UV protection which prevents break down over time from sun exposure.
Plastic also does not dent, meaning your wall caps or roof vents will resist a barrage of hail and heavy snow or other impacts. In addition, corrosion free plastic is a great choice for wet environments where even galvanized metal could rust, especially if it sustains some damage. Flying baseballs or hockey pucks will simply bounce off. Carefully placed core-throughs and kiss-offs add strength, while maintaining a lightweight structure. Today’s outdoor plastic HVAC vents are designed to last for 30-plus years at peak performance.
Sometimes the vent cap or hood you buy from the factory needs to be modified to be more aesthetically pleasing or to fit an unusual location. Plastic can easily be cut and shaped to work in places metal simply won’t and provides more elegant curves. Different additives can also give plastics very specific qualities, meaning you can always choose an ideal material for the climate you are working in.
Plastic vents are relatively inexpensive to manufacture, and are light weight for efficient transport and easy installation. Those benefits can help create significant cost savings for the end user.
- Sealed building envelope
Because plastic weighs less than metal it is cost effective to incorporate oversized flanges and extended base models. Those advantages will help establish a reliable seal with vital elements inside a wall or roof, like a rainscreen. Plastic can also be molded in one piece, without seams or joints which could encourage water ingress.
Plastic wall caps and roof jacks are available in a variety of colours to match a home’s indoor or outdoor palette. The color dye additives form an integral part of the entire molded piece, meaning scratches and wear will be less apparent than on painted metal surfaces. That will also limit maintenance requirements down the road.
Plastic vents can be designed without sharp edges, making it safer to work with on construction sites.