Can PVC Brackets Handle Your Climate?

The answer is YES! That’s the beauty of vinyl/PVC. Because it is a plastic, of sorts, it is water proof, snow proof, sun proof— weather proof. Durabrac brackets can be found on structures from Canada to Texas to the Caribbean; from the snowy, wet cold to the hot, dry heat to the high, high humidity. And the brackets maintain their original shape and look. They may get dirty over time, but the bracket hasn’t changed.

Below are some pictures of Durabrac brackets in various climate locations. Give us a call. We’re sure our bracket can handle your weather. Well, unless you’re Dorothy and you have a bracket on your house that ended up in Oz.

Durabrac Market01 copy

Picture on Left: Durabrac 0518 Post & Beam brackets installed on Pensacola Beach building – early 2004. Picture on Right: Same brackets. Same building – July 2018. They have survived 2 major hurricanes.

Meyer02 copy 2

Durabrac Palmera porch bracket installed on a beach home.

McLaughlin copy

Durabrac Cortez porch bracket.

Cottage Pic

Durabrac Sol Nuevo Extended in Grand Cayman

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Ask the Expert: Can a PVC Bracket be Structural?

We recently talked with Durabrac owner, Mike Sheehan, about the properties and abilities of cellular PVC when it came to load bearing issues. Mike has worked with PVC/vinyl for over 25 years, first molding it into various creations for his custom sign business then eventually taking his knowledge and applying it to a full-time manufacturing business of exterior components such as brackets, rafter tails, sawn balusters and more.

Q: Some refer to PVC as “plastic wood”. How similar is PVC to wood when it comes to building brackets and other components?

MIKE: Cellular PVC has a density weight similar to pine. This similar density makes it easy to alter its shape with wood-working tools. I like to think it’s the perfect marriage of wood and plastic. Cellular PVC’s main quality is its uniform density. It’s the same board after board. A painted cellular PVC component crafted by a skilled woodworker is very hard to distinguish from wood. But really, cellular PVC is nothing like wood. It’s 100% plastic. That can be good and bad. As a vinyl resin, it is unaffected by moisture which allows for excellent paint adhesion with no swelling or cracking. But, because it’s plastic, it can become very malleable when heated. That’s great for forming, but risky for handling weight.

Q: That leads us to the next question: can cellular PVC be load bearing?

MIKE: Some will argue that if you laminate enough thick layers together, it will hold a fairly heavy load. This is true… at first. Because it’s cellular, over time those cells of PVC will compress and begin to sag under the weight. It will take time, but eventually gravity will win. Cellular PVC has none of the interlocking fibers and grain that give wood it’s load-bearing strength. Cellular PVC is made up of individual expanded PVC cells. Each cell is bonded to adjacent cells to form sheets and boards. This configuration is great for material that will be cut or machined, but not so good for material that needs to provide support under stress.

Q: So, it’s not possible to have a structural support with PVC?

MIKE:  I wouldn’t say impossible. We’ve actually come up with a solution to achieve the durability of PVC decorative brackets while maintaining structural support: use traditional angled braces of wood or steel to support the load and cover the structure with the PVC bracket. It may not sound original, but how it’s done is and solves a major installation problem in the field

Q: So, what makes your solution different?

MIKE: Architects and contractors use faux covers all the time. The difficulty arises when you want to hang a decorative bracket with an open center (such as the Durabrac 0512) between a load-bearing brace and the supporting wall.

Our solution is to allow for the walls of the open center to be installed in the field after the bracket is slipped over the load-bearing brace. We create a notched ledge for the inside faces to rest on; providing a secure and accurate positioning in the field. Without the ledge, a potentially ugly seam where the covers meet the sides would be seen.

Q: So what adhesive do you use when adding the center covers?

MIKE: PVC doesn’t bond well with many adhesives. You could use traditional PVC cement or epoxy designed specifically for PVC, but those tend to be messy and hard to use. Cleaning up PVC cement that squeezes out is not an option. Epoxy requires mixing, is expensive and requires a time consuming additional step to clean off the exposed epoxy that squeezes out. A better way is to adhere the faces in place with latex caulk. Latex caulk is not traditionally used as an adhesive. You wouldn’t think it has a lot of bonding strength, but it has a surprising amount of holding power when used for this type of installation. Apply a bead of caulk to to the inset notch. Clean up any that squeezes out with a damp rag. Use masking tape to support the faces in place while the caulk dries. The caulk is perfectly suitable for this type of adhesive situation.

So, Durabrac has created a clever way to create “structural” PVC brackets. Refer to the installation video here to view a graphic demonstration on how the installation and final product works.


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Top 5 Most Asked Questions

We’ve been exhibiting at the NAHB International Home Builders Show for several years now. Our booth is crowded with Architects, Builders and General Contractors checking out our products. It’s funny, so often we hear “Where were you guys 3 months ago? I just had a project I could’ve used you on.” Or, “I’m so glad I found you. I’m tired of making these things myself.” Well, we’re here. No need to sweat the brackets anymore.

So, then the questions come next. Here are the top 5 questions asked:

  1. What is the Fire Rating? Durabrac brackets have a Class A fire rating while wood is Class B and polyurethane foam is Class C.
  2. Can we do custom work? Yes. All of our products are easily customizable or you can send us your drawing.
  3. Can they be paintedYes. But they don’t have to be. They can be left in their natural white state. 
  4. How do you install them? Very easily. Use stainless steel screws or nails (depending on the size of the bracket). The big builder brackets are hollow and easily slip over blocking. Our porch brackets can be nailed or screwed directly to a post or wall.
  5. How do your products compare in price to polyurethane foam brackets like Fypon? We have found that our products are much less expensive than their foam counterparts. Not to mention, will last forever and can’t be punctured or destroyed by burrowing bees or woodpeckers. In the end, their long-term value is undeniable. Click here to see a COST COMPARISON chart.

Give us a call if you have any other questions. We’re happy to answer them and explain the value of Durabrac PVC products.

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Gauging Construction Since the Recession

I recently ran across this blog post written by John Caulfield from the Build Design + Construction blog. Pretty interesting and food for thought. What do you think?

Look to history warily when gauging where the construction industry may be headed.

As spending for residential and nonresidential construction has climbed, everyone’s trying to determine what the “new normal” will be. But should comparisons with previous spending peaks be relevant when we now know that some of those peaks bore little relationship to demand? – See more at:

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Architects Are People Too

In our business, our primary customers are Architects and Builders. Architects are the ones spec’ing our product into the plans or creating a design that calls for brackets, rafter tails, corbels, etc. Typically, it’s the Builder or General Contractor who contacts us for pricing and actually places the order. That’s who we talk to primarily. The Architects are just faceless names on a scan or large piece of paper that comes our way. So, we thought we’d take the time to get to know some of these guys who like to spec our product in their drawings. We like when they do that!


A Dalrymple Sallis Design on Pensacola Beach with Durabrac custom balusters and the Durabrac LaRua Porch Brackets

Say hello to Dean Dalrymple and Scott Sallis of Dalrymple Sallis Architecture in Pensacola, Florida. They agreed to play 20 questions with us.

1) Where did you go to school?
SCOTT: University of Arkansas
DEAN: I was approved to take the Architectural Registration Exam based on experience.
Continue reading

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Gingerbread Houses – Hansel & Gretel or Gothic Revival?

We recently ran across an article on Houzz by contributing editor  about Gingerbread detailing that featured some Durabrac homes. It got us thinking about “Gingerbread” and what it actually means to people.

The origin of “Gingerbread” goes back many centuries. Originally, wood was used to carve the Victorian or Gothic-style elaborate designs such as scrolls and spindles. Eventually, it was the bargeboards or vergeboards that decorated rooflines, porches, windows, and doorways, that became known as “Gingerbread”. And the term stuck.
Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.06.21 PM Continue reading

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Ask More Questions. Go Ahead.

“Asking questions is fundamental to successful communication, and gathering information as a product of asking questions is a basic human activity.”

Here’s a great blog post we stumbled across recently. Certainly merited reposting. It’s excellent advice for young people looking for work in the real world, seeking “real jobs,” and, really, for all of us. Since when did it become a sign of weakness to ask questions? Maybe if we asked more questions, we wouldn’t be in the state we are in right now–personally, professionally, politically, financially, nationally. It applies on all levels. Ask more questions.  We do everyday. We need to know who our customer is, what their project is and what their overall plan is. It’s crucial to our design work. What are the dimensions? What style are you looking for? Traditional? Modern? Craftsman? What thickness? How do you plan on using this product? Where is it going?

Asking questions is a form of basic communication. So communicate. Speak to people. Lift your heads up from those computer and phone screens and speak to people. Show them you care about their work or what they are doing.

There are no stupid questions

Bob Borson —  May 23, 2016

Some questions, as soon as I become aware of them, sit in the front of my brain and simply won’t go away until I do something about them. In this case, the question I have been thinking about for the last several weeks is actually about asking questions.

Why is it that people don’t seem to know how to ask questions anymore….

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Spruce Up the Exterior—Spring is Here!

The weather has finally started to change, for most of us, and it’s becoming Outside Season. The days are longer, the sun is shining, the grass is greener and the temperatures are inviting you to get out of the house. It’s time for backyard barbeques and cul-de-sac parties. And that means it’s time to clean up what winter did to the outside, even if you live in warm climates where winter weather (rain or snow) isn’t so harsh. Spring is just a good time to take care of some annual sprucing up—Spring cleaning for the outside.

Here are some quick and easy tips to liven up the house and yard:

  • Give it a good bath – pressure wash exterior brackets, knee braces, corbels, porch balusters, driveways, garage doors, walkways, sidewalks, etc. to remove the winter mildew and pollen. A simple spray down can make all the difference. And no chemicals needed! (However, for stubborn mold and mildew, a light bleach solution or mild soapy water works great!
  • Freshen up with paint and style – Adding a fresh coat of paint to the front door,
    shutters and mailbox brightens up the tired look from winter. Continue reading
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Nails vs Screws – Fastening Vinyl Brackets

One common question we get from our customers is what is the best way to attach their vinyl brackets. What do we recommend? Screws or nails? While that may be a simple question, the answer is a little more detailed. There are many variables that need to be considered before answering that million dollar question.

The size and weight of the component and the material it will be attached to are the biggest factors to consider.  For brackets over 40″, screws are best. Of course, no matter the size, if the bracket is going to be attached to brick or stone, screws are necessary.

In addition, seasonal weather needs to be considered.   Continue reading

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How to Turn Vinyl Into Wood

PROBLEM: You like the classic look and warmth of wood brackets, but you don’t want the upkeep and maintenance that comes with keeping them fresh and new looking. Not to mention, depending on the size, wood can be very heavy and very expensive. Vinyl is a good alternative. It lasts forever and requires very little maintenance, but it’s white. You could paint it, but that still doesn’t give you the look you wanted. What do you do?

SOLUTION: We recently discovered Continue reading

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