View Full Version : Anyone with experience using 3/4" thick PVC trim?

Jim O'Dell
02-04-2013, 12:01 PM
If you do, I have some questions. I test built an antenna with the structure out of scrap wood. This will NOT hold up to the elements, so I want to use something a little more permanent. I can get some 1 X 4 or 1 X 6 (actual .75 X 3.5 and .75 X 5.5 respectively. Do they plane down PVC trim to get to size like wood? :rolleyes: :D:D ). http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100004781&R=100004781#.UQ_oSjmn9pU PVC is good because it is an insulator and does not conduct electricity. I know you can finish nail PVC trim onto a wood structure, but will it hold staples and screws like wood does? For this antenna, I will use part of the trim to hold some light weight wire small animal fencing a specific distance from the antenna whiskers. Also, how does this material react to being ripped? Do the ripped edges stay solid, or do they disintegrate over time? I know it won't have the slick finish, but will that create problems? Anything else you can think of would help. Jim.

Mel Fulks
02-04-2013, 12:24 PM
I have a similar,and unanswered, post about PVC. It rips fine, but the inside is more porous .Ive decided to paint my project with a primer for that purpose and top coat with acrylic paint . Considered Krylon Fusion which does not need primer,decided against it because I was going to have to order it in a quantity exceeding what I need. My project is decorative and I figured the more porous parts would hold dirt; if you just need structure I think it's OK without paint.

Rick Potter
02-04-2013, 1:22 PM

I have only used PVC baseboard for the bottom trim on porch columns, and in the bathroom of a rental. In both cases I used it to avoid water damage. The stuff I used was very brittle, and I doubt it would hold screws. I have seen the 'boards' you are talking about, and I also doubt they would be of any structural use. I think if it was very tall, a wind would break it, at least the way I have your antenna pictured.

I have also seen 4X8 sheets of it available at my plywood supplier. Don't know what they use it for.

Hope this helps,
Rick Potter

Mel Fulks
02-04-2013, 2:15 PM
Jim is right 'structure ' would have to be 'light structure'.I have not tried any screws yet,all glue to this point.

Jim O'Dell
02-04-2013, 2:40 PM
Thanks for the quick answers guys! I would need to rip one piece to about 72" long by 2 1/4" wide. This would be supported in three places by pieces ripped to 24" long by 1 3/4" wide. Here is a drawing. Hopefully you can read what part is what material. Looks like it is legible if you click on it.253488Maybe this will illustrate what I'm trying to use it for. There are 20 feelers attached to the center PVC section that are about 16" long each and it is either 6 or 8 guage copper wire. Each held on with a 1 1/2" stainless steel screw, 2 stainless steel washers, and one stainless steel lock nut. My prototype of this section is made up of 2 pieces of 3/4" plywood and backed by 4 smaller pieces of 1/2" plywood. This part of the prototype is mounted on the 3 horizontal pieces, constructed of 3/4" pine 1" thick . The large square part has some small animal fencing that is on a 1" grid and is 76" X 24". Not a lot to catch the wind. The square aluminum tubing mast is mounted to a 1" steel antenna mast. The short aluminum section sits on top of the steel mast. There will be 3 antenna U bolts to hold this together. I can see the prototype sway slightly in the light breeze, so may need to attach 3 guide wires. Just not thrilled about doing that, but may need to to be safe. Let me know if you think the PVC trim material will work with this. If not, I'll have to use PVC pipe per the original parts list. Thanks! Jim.

edit: Or can you think of another material that would be light but work better? And I can join most of this by drilling holes and putting threaded screws through the two pieces. All but the two sides to the box that frame the fencing material, but I might not need that anyway. The original plan just shows the fencing not attached to anything on the sides. My prototype has two strips of thin pine just attached to the fencing material with staples and a screw at each horizontal member.

Jay Jolliffe
02-04-2013, 3:11 PM
I guess it depends on what part of the country your in as to what it is called....On the east coast they use Azek which is pvc like. Comes in all different thickness & sizes....

Jim O'Dell
02-04-2013, 11:24 PM
Jay, I haven't been able to actually see this material yet. But HD does sell Aztek stuff, so that may be what this is. I know they have a kit with bit, screws and plugs. I'm just curious especially if it is cut, what happens. Thanks for the note. Jim.

Rick Potter
02-05-2013, 1:46 AM
I think your plan would work. I would drill it and use nuts and bolts though. You could even reinforce the corners with lightweight corner plates to be sure. That aluminum strut in the center is the one I had pictured as being the weak link.

Rick P

Sam Murdoch
02-05-2013, 8:54 AM
My concerns about PVC trim is that it has no structural integrity of its own. It will eventually sag or go misshapen in other and opposite dimensions. It is great for applying to a structure or to bigger pieces - no problem ripping or attaching with screws - but for what you are proposing I would call you lucky if in the long term this did not fail. I would why not consider using aluminum angle for all the frame work and I like the idea of 1" hardware cloth for the center panel. Does all this extra metal confuse the signal? If so, I would make a light weight wood structure out of cedar or teak or go with the PVC pipe plan and as Rick suggested through bolt everything. Guy wires will be essential.

Jim O'Dell
02-05-2013, 6:58 PM
Ok, I've got a message to Aztek asking how it might fair in this situation, but I think I know the answer, so I'm investigating alternate ideas. I think I may have found something that will work. UHMW is UV resistant, doesn't absorb moisture and is supposed to be great for outdoor use. I can get a small plank and cut it up and attach to the square aluminum tubing for each of the 10 feelers. Might have to use the aluminum for the reflector mounts. This might be a few dollars more expensive, depending on how much the UHMW is, but this may be the best route to go. Any ideas? Are there any holes in my thinking? Let me know! Jim.

Sam Murdoch
02-05-2013, 8:22 PM
Forgive me, I might just not have a clear picture of how you want to use this stuff. All this stuff is great for outdoor use but the pvc and/or Azak and the UHMW in small dimensioned pieces don't really hold up their own weight. Some extruded stuff like pipe would work. Maybe glue up some right angles.

The UHMW is very slippery and therefore dangerous to rip - especially on a table saw. McMaster Car sells it it a variety of sizes - might be best to buy it very near to what you need and use it as it comes. The only screws that I have been able to use successfully with it are the euro screws. Otherwise through bolts is the way to go. The PVC and Azak are better for holding screws and attaching to it. Again, (please see my opening line) why not use some light aluminum angle stock for the frame/panel? Can't wait to see photos of the finished project :) - maybe then I'll know what you really need.

Jim O'Dell
02-06-2013, 10:46 AM
Sam, the UHMW may be too expensive to do. I can get a plank of it from Peachtree that is 1/2" X 4" X 48" that I could rip in half, cut one piece down and mount two pieces to mimic what I did with the plywood for 20 bucks plus shipping. It would be a little narrower that I would like, but it would work. With all of these ideas I've thrown out I would use through bolt attachment with washers on each side, and the nylon lock nuts. 1/2" material would work great on the 1" square tubing I have, as the feelers are supposed to be 2 1/2" from the reflector material. And the UHMW would not be structural in this application, just used as an insulator and a place to mount the feelers. Being UV resistant, moisture resistant, it shouldn't deteriorate quickly. Weight is the only drawback in my eye. I don't know, I may just do the PVC pipe thing and see how long it will last, even though I don't like the idea of mounting the feelers on a curved surface. Thanks for bouncing ideas with me. It really helps! Jim.

Jerome Stanek
02-06-2013, 11:04 AM
You may want to check out using composite decking.

Jim O'Dell
02-06-2013, 10:33 PM
Jerome, I had but it is way expensive for the amount I'd need. But everything changed today anyway. I was adding up what I was looking at and I was getting north of 90 bucks. Time to pull back and rethink what I could do with what I have here, at least as much as possible. Looking for something to use to insulate the wires that are supposed to kept separate, I saw something that reminded me...I've got a gazillion cinch blocks in the attic with my old HO train stuff. Yep, I can make them work. So Azek trim, UMHW, the T-track, all of that is out the window. I can mount these directly to the 1" square tubing I'm using for part of the mast. It gives me the flat surface I want, and the block is insulated from the metal. I'll buy some 3/4" aluminum angle for the reflector frame and drill holes and use some screws and washers to keep it tight. I'll get out for around 50 bucks.
Thanks guys for helping with the creative juices! I often just need to talk it out with someone. Since I don't listen to myself very well, I come here! :D I'll post, with pictures, when I get it all put together. Jim.

Andrew DiLorenzo
02-09-2013, 12:18 AM
I used only for trim. I would not try to support anything with it.

Jim O'Dell
02-23-2013, 3:12 PM
Well, I finished the antenna rebuild Tues evening after work. Last weekend I modified all the cinch plugs and mounted them. Took off the "feelers" from the temporary wood version and transferred them over to the new set up. Had to break and resolder most of the connections as the spacing evidently was slightly off, even though I measured the same distance center to center. I get home from work too late to crawl up on the roof to mount it, so I did that at noon today. Works great! Here are a few pictures:
1) This is the main section of mast with the cinch blocks.255211
2) A close up of the cinch blocks255212
3) A view of the antenna from the ENE255213
4) And a view from the WNW 255214
I totally forgot to take pictures in the shop of the antenna with the reflector. I used 3/4" angle to make the cross pieces, and some 3/4" flat to sandwich the wire fencing to the angle, and then screwed them together. It kept evolving as I built it because I used a 6' piece of 1X1" aluminum angle behind the cinch blocks. Felt this would strengthen the upper mast section without adding too much weight, and it did. The top of the chimney is about 5' above the crest of the roof, and the top of the antenna about 10 or so feet above the chimney. I guess I'm going to have to add some guide wires to the structure. My fear is that I'll trip over them when blowing all the leaves and dead fall off the roof each Fall!
Anyway, I'm 45 miles from transmitter hill south of Dallas, lots of trees, and it works perfectly. Hopefully getting leaves on the trees won't create a big problem with signal. I did try the temporary version in the attic before I purchased the items to rebuild, and it lost a few channels, only one I was really interested in. But the antenna is too tall to stand upright in the attic. Only missed by about 4". There are some other interesting designs for home made antennas out there that are really small. So if you are interested in building one, give it a try. I am pleasantly surprised and pleased with the outcome. Jim.

Sam Murdoch
02-23-2013, 3:21 PM
So this antenna is for over the air TV reception - no dish, no cable? This is on my list of things to do too. Why could you not chop off a mere 4" to make it fit in the attic? Are the specs so critical? Did you pick up the 2 lost channels moving from the attic to the roof? Finally, does it really seem so flimsy above the chimney that wires are essential? Too bad about that. Nice work.

Jim O'Dell
02-24-2013, 3:40 PM
Sam, I actually lost 7 channels from the temporary wood version on the roof to the attic. Only 1 channel was I worried about. Rebuilt version on the roof retrieved all lost channels. Yes, it is for over the air TV. I just killed cable TV, kept the internet. They went up three months in a row, wouldn't talk about lowering the price, and I lost 40 channels. Seems I was getting more than I ordered, but I thought it was right. To keep the channels before losing any, and the internet at the same speed it was going to be about 150.00 a month. LOML and I both said that is ridiculous. I built a temp version of the antenna to test reception, and I am picking up 29 English speaking channels. This is more than the basic cable TV had for 50 bucks a month. Satellite is not possible. 255291 See what I mean? :D I don't know how critical the reflector is, but being under the roof, I figured I'd need every advantage I could get. The main mast was already mounted by the previous owner, so it just made sense to rebuild with materials that would stand up to the weather and mount it back on the mast. When it's windy, it sways some. Doesn't affect the reception, but being that it is a 1" round aluminum mast with some thin wall 2" square aluminum tubing attached to it, I'm worried that it may get bent in a high wind situation with the extra 15-20 lbs on top of it. Maybe the trees break up the wind enough that it wouldn't be a problem...just not sure. I'm thinking the guide wiring is the prudent thing to do. Jim.

Sam Murdoch
02-24-2013, 4:59 PM
I will need to explore this option for myself. It would be awesome to be free of a monthly bill for TV - could use the savings in the wine budget :D.

Rick Moyer
02-24-2013, 7:18 PM
Jim, any concern or preparations regarding lightning?

Jim O'Dell
02-25-2013, 10:54 PM
Rick, I have the cable running through a surge protector. I also have an APC cable protection device that will get mounted on the cable at the antenna, and a ground wire running down a guide wire and tapped into the ground for the house. Beyond that the antenna mast doesn't actually touch anything but brick and shingles. Although if wet, I'm sure that could still conduct to ground. Hopefully the other two items will suffice.

Sam, if interested, this is the site I used to make this antenna:http://www.mikestechblog.com/joomla/misc/hdtv-antenna/127-build-high-gain-hdtv-antenna-plans.html
And this site is very helpful to know how far away from the towers you are, and where you should aim the antenna: www.tvfool.com/ (http://www.tvfool.com/) Jim.