6 ways plastic is being used in our homes

Category: Home Improvements

The next time you have a home improvement project or something to fix, think about plastic.  Perhaps not an obvious choice but plastic has many uses in the home and garden. Here are the most popular ways it is being used by customers at plastic specialists, The Plastic People.


acrylic splashbacks are perfect for shower cubicles

Add acrylic splashbacks to your kitchen or bathroom for a quick and easy DIY home upgrade.  Acrylic comes in many different colours, shades and tones including glossy, matt and pearlescent.  Something for every décor.  Because acrylic sheets are so light and strong (half the weight of glass but much, much stronger) the splashbacks are easy to fit to your wall yourself.

Greenhouse Glazing

UV protected polycarbonate is ideal for glazing

UV protected polycarbonate is ideal for glazing

Pause before you replace any greenhouse or shed windows with glass. Polycarbonate is becoming a popular choice because it is 290 x stronger than glass and virtually unbreakable.  So, you can have the glass loo without the glass fragility :)



Secondary Glazing

fitting acrylic secondary glazing

Especially popular with renters wanting to improve the warmth of their rental property and owners of listed buildings, secondary glazing uses clear as glass plastic glazing in a magnetic, screwless system to add another layer of glazing to existing windows.

Pictures and Frames

Place acrylic cut to the size you need into frames instead of glass to create  a much stronger and safer cover than glass.    Create a floating frame, trapping artwork between two pieces of cut to size acrylic with holes drilled in the corners. Hang on your walls with wall mounts.


Replacing Glass

Replace broken glass with acrylic or polycarbonate which looks just like glass but which are much stronger, preventing the likelihood of future breakages.  For use with food, choose PETG which is clear like glass and food safe.

Safe Mirrors

Substitute glass mirrors for acrylic mirrors or polycarbonate mirrors when you need something safer and less likely to break.  Polycarbonate mirror is a great problem solving mirror in areas that may come under destructive threat!  It is much stronger than acrylic mirror and comes with anti-graffiti properties.

acrylic garden mirrors


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What are acrylic sheets used for ?

Category: clear acrylic, coloured acrylic, Home Improvements

What are acrylic sheets used for?
Acrylic sheets are used in so many different ways. Five-star plastic supplier The Plastic People reveal the most popular ways that customers are using this material in their homes:

  1. To protect furniture.  Acrylic sheets look just like glass and are much lighter and much stronger making them a safer way to cover the surfaces of much loved furniture so it does not get damaged.
  2. Wooden table protected with an acrylic table top

    For splashbacks of colour.  Acrylic sheeting makes for great kitchen and bathroom splashbacks, due to them being groutless, durable and waterproof. DIY installation is very easy too, making acrylic splashbacks a practical and affordable way to make over kitchens and bathrooms.

  3. To replace glass. Acrylic sheets are worthy alternatives to glass on bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors, due to them being more durable in their designs.  Broken glass is being replaced with acrylic becoming the popular choice because it is so much stronger and less likely to break than glass whilst looking just like it.

  4. 4. Picture frames are being created using acrylic sheets, with the material lighter as well as more durable than frames designed with glass.

5. Acrylic sheeting is being used to create wall shelves,.  Customers are choosing a material that is more cost-effective, easier to install and able to stand the test of time much better than glass and plywood alike.

6. Coffee tables and end tables are being designed using acrylic sheets are able to hold up better against general wear and tear when compared to traditional glass alternatives.

Acrylic splashbacks are seam free making a hygienic, easy clean solution

Read about acrylic (or Perspex) and get help and advice from the friendly team at The Plastic People.


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Ways to Protect Your Garden Tables

Category: Recycle

Most wood and metal garden furniture requires some maintenance cleaning every year and protection throughout harsher winter weather.  Common advice is to store your garden furniture indoors over winter but if you are not able or don’t want to do that, what solutions exist that will protect your furniture ?  Especially that will help make your cleaning maintenance a little easier when the time comes to do that.

Solutions people turn to typically include applying protective paints and treatments which vary depending on your choice of garden furniture.  Metal furniture needs to be protected from rusting and applying a rust preventing paint around every two years can maintain a barrier to weather.  Wooden garden furniture needs to be protected from rotting and dirt build up.  Hardwood furniture (eg. teak) is naturally more weather resistant than soft wood furniture and can can last for many years with no treatment at all but an annual wash with soapy water to remove lichen and dirt build up helps.  Softwoods need more maintenance to keep good condition. Surfaces need regular washing with a wood-cleaning product and treating (in dry weather) with a wood stain or paint containing preservative.

Heavy-duty waterproof covers are also a popular option to keep out the worst of the winter weather.

For something which looks a bit nicer and less like a cover, acrylic table covers are growing in popularity.

Wooden table protected with an acrylic table top

Looking just like glass but 100 x stronger,  acrylic table covers sit on top of your table protecting it from rain and debris while at the same time looking like a high end glass table top.  Because they are 100 x stronger than glass they are unlikely to break – and if they do, they are much safer, shattering into a few large pieces not lots of tiny shards like glass.  Acrylic table covers can be delivered to your home ready sized to cover your table (see them here) and acrylic cut to exact sizes can be bought easily online.  Check out sites with lots of positive customer reviews to be confident of a good service.


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How to replace your shed windows

Category: Glazing, Greenhouse Panels

Replacing shed windows is a task that most of us at some point will have to sort out.  Unless your shed windows are made from indestructible glazing – more about that below – then chances are those windows have broken more than once whether from a football, storm or wayward bird.

shed window glazed with clear polycarbonate with UV filter protection

If you are replacing a broken window or installing a new window, glass is not your only option.  Looking just like glass but much stronger and longer lasting are plastic glazing panels.  They’re so much stronger, in fact, they’re virtually unbreakable. Which might be music to your ears if you’re fed up replacing broken window panes.

clear acrylic used for window glazing in this summerhouse

Here’s a 10  point plan from The Plastic People to replacing shed windows with plastic glazing yourself:
1. Measure your window frame. Top tip: measure twice and check your measurements to the mm to make sure your new frame will fit perfectly.
2. Order your plastic glazing to the size you need.  You can do this in a local DIY store or online.  You can cut the plastic to size yourself but our top tip is to take advantage of a complementary online cutting service,  have it done for you and safely delivered to your home.  (If you’d like to include The Plastic People in your search, see their glazing here.)
3. When you have your plastic glazing and you’re ready to fit it, pop on eye protection and heavy duty gloves
4. Remove the broken glass from the  window frame, starting with the largest pieces first .  If it’s tricky to get all the pieces out by hand, then duct tape the window pane outside of the shed and punch the glass out with a hammer.
5. Gather up pieces of broken glass with duct tape too – top tip if those pieces are too small to pick up by hand
6. Use a knife or razor blade now to remove any  putty or trim that is there, used to hold your original window in place.  If it’s trim, you can re-use this to  install your new pane. Top tip: work gently and slowly so you don’t damage anything inc yourself.
7. Ensure your new window is the correct size – the most important thing of all.
8. Apply new putty to the borders of your frame, shaping it so there are no gaps and it covers top to bottom
9. Press your new window into the putty -  making sure it is held in firmly so it doesn’t fall out of the frame when your hands are not there to support it
10. Put some extra putty to secure and weatherproof the window. Top tip: downward slope the putty so rainwater will run off it.

clear acrylic makes an excellent alternative to glass for shed windows

polycarbonate glazing for shed windows

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Stop draughts (the lagom way ?)

Category: Glazing

As winter sets in it is natural that we look forward to the warmth of a comfortable home.  While 2016 was all about hygge, the concept for 2017 looks to come from Sweden: lagom –‘not too much, not too little’.  Translating to ‘enough, sufficient, just right’ lagom is an ethos of moderation. If you’re looking to strike the balance of a cosy home with rising energy costs and production then turn your attention to the two main offenders for heat loss: your roof and windows.  Once roofs are insulated, the popular next treatment is for windows, and because it’s so well known, double glazing – but it’s far from an automatic choice.

secondary glazing – use either acrylic or polycarbonate

Double Glazing
Usually factors which influence whether to go ahead with the double glazing option are the fitting process as sometimes this can involve the removal of existing windows and sometimes not permissible at all, aesthetics (some residents prefer to maintain feature windows rather than change them to double glazed units) and costs.  Costs of double glazing vary depending on supplier but some typical guidance is below.


Type of double glazed window 90cm x 120cm
- UPVC casement - £800
- UPVC sash - £1600
- Hardwood casement - £1300
- Hardwood sash - £1900

For residents looking to spend less or those living in rented properties or listed buildings, double glazing may not be a viable option and other considerations are needed.

Other options

If you’re after a ‘not too much, not too little’ lagom approach then Secondary Glazing is worth a look as it will provide some of the same benefits of double glazing at a considerably lower cost (both are said to prevent around 60% of window heat loss)


fitting acrylic secondary glazing

Where double glazing removes a single glazed window and replaces it, secondary glazing adds a pane of glazing to the existing window on the interior side.  The addition of this pane provides energy insulation and soundproofing. Typically this glazing pane is made from clear acrylic or PET which is a recyclable plastic.  The plastic looks just like glass but is much, much stronger and is half the weight of glass making the plastic a practical solution.
The secondary glazing pane is usually held in place with a lightweight frame which doesn’t really alter the look of the original windows and building – a great plus for residents with feature windows (which are often the draughtiest of all!).
If you are interested in secondary glazing take a look at some of the secondary glazing kits available.  Secondary glazing can easily be installed as a DIY project where the secondary glazing panel fits to your existing window with screws, adhesives or magnetic fixings.  Magnetic choices are probably the quickest and easiest to fit and take down again when the weather warms up – because the glazing is simply held securely in place by magnetic strips.
The key success factor for Secondary Glazing seems to be installing it so it achieves a thermal seal. So, DIYers / lagomers everywhere, check out installation instructions that are available for any Secondary Glazing kit you are considering. If you’d like some advice, talk to our helpful team at the Plastic People on 0113 249 2222 or via service@theplasticpeople.co.uk.

Curtains and draught proofing
Simpler solutions all have a part to play too.  Draught proofing strips can work well around windows and are another easy DIY choice.  Cracks can be filled with sealant to further reduce any draughts coming in.  Thick, thermal lined curtains  can block draughts too though perhaps an evening solution since they will block out light at the same time.

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