Polycarbonate vs. acrylic strength test


Polycarbonate vs. acrylic fire test

Ingenuity meets practicality meets beauty meets perfect engineering. Polycarbonate clear roofs are today’s solution for residential and commercial applications – from solariums to sunrooms, greenhouses to open deck covers. Traditional clear roofs are made of thermal glass panes, need to be thick and tempered or laminated to maintain durability and insulation, hence are heavy, requiring more support and bulkier structure. Furthermore, traditionally glazed units may prematurely fail or leak once the sealant dries out. In Europe,  polycarbonate is everywhere in construction, installed at huge spans over railway and bus stations, stadiums, swimming pools and parks. It is seen everywhere as architectural features, internal and external, used in public spaces and commercial buildings. Residential uses include balcony and patio covers, solariums and greenhouses.  In North America, it is long used to protect residential soft spots against forceful entry, under the Lexan brand name. Polycarbonate is also found in aviation, automotive, electrical and optical industries. See quick information on Wikipedia.

Advantages are many:

Lightweight – product is feather-light, so it reduces the load required for a given structure.

Strength – excellent strength to weight ratio – better than glass.

Insulating – better insulating value compared to glass at the same thickness. Insulating glass uses the air between the panes as a barrier. Multiwall polycarbonate features layers of smaller cavities, hence superior insulation values.

Easy to work with –  a typical glass insulated units’ panel for a clear roof is 2′ x 6′, and weighs about 100 lbs. To install – or replace it takes two men to work on top of a scaffold. A polycarbonate sheet of this size can be lifted with one hand. This means cheaper installation and service. Further, glass units need handling with proper care and materials and can not touch any hard surface lest it will creak. Poly sheets can be thrown around without any damage. (Figuratively speaking of course)

Easy to install – our systems are prefabricated and precut. All snap together, so it is fairly difficult to err in the assembly and installation. Most systems can be self-installed.

Durable – our poly sheets are UV resistant, so will serve for many years without changing colour. They will take much more abuse than glass panels, will not crack when hit.

Appearance  – available in clear, translucent “ice”, solar reflective, tinted and many other colours.

Leakproof  – we use poly sheets with floating pressure couplers, so leaks are eliminated. Glass clear roofs fail due to leakage, which in turn is caused by different thermal expansion of the materials used – glass, aluminium, wood or any others that need to be sealed. The traditional solution, sealant, may hold for so many years and then dry up and become stiff,  creating gaps between components and thereafter leaks. Our systems use either pressure gaskets or snap covers, allowing the polycarbonate panels to expand and contract at their own pace, while the supporting structure will do so at a different rate. This way there is no stress on the meeting areas and no sealant needed. We use polycarbonate sheets for insulated clear roofs, non-insulated patio covers and clear awnings. In self-supporting clear roofs the biggest clear roof obstacle – leakage, is eliminated by using a patented system of brackets and rubber gaskets,  or snap couplers where seasonal expansion and contraction do not affect the tight seals.

There are several install configurations and uses. As self-supporting roofs, mainly insulated roofs for sunrooms and solariums, we use a patented thermally broken ‘T’ bar to host the poly panels.  The ‘T’ bar measures only 3″ x 4′, yet can be extended to a clear 14′ span. A neoprene gasket system seals the roof while allowing for expansion and contraction. All that without any fasteners driven through the panels. When installed on existing jousts system, such as a conventionally built sunroom, we use a similar holding system – the low profile lock. It is not structural – it has to rest on the underlying joists. For open spaces, such as pergola covers, we use snap couplers, simple and fast to install. Panels are available in four popular types: Clear – lets the most light through, but will be uncomfortable in summer. Tinted – similar to the clear, but tinted to bronze or grey hue. It adds protection, but as with any other tinted glazing, will paint all in odd light. translucent “ice”- our best seller. It lets in a bit less light but can be used even during the hottest summer days. The top layer is coated with a reflective layer, to add protection from harmful UV rays. Other colours – are available in a special order. The roofs can be used on their own or integrated with our other prefabricated roofs for enclosed or open areas. Note – do not confuse this roof with the cheap corrugated clear sheets offered by the home improvement stores. Our roofs are multi-layered and will outlast the others – they will not leak, crack or fade. Needless to say, our product is more expensive.



polycarbonate panels clear and translucent

POL10 – clear and translucent “ice” panels


polycarbonate panels tinted and ice

POL20 – tinted and translucent “ice” panels.



Poly panels

POL30 – multiwall polycarbonate sheets.


Thermally broken T bar

POL40 Thermally broken,  structural ‘T’ bar section.


aluminum connector for polycarbonate sheets

POL50 – low profile lock.




POL60 – snap couplers.




Coupler detail

POL70 – snap couplers installation detail.


clear_roof_on insulated solarium

POL80 – polycarbonate clear panels installed over a traditionally built sunroom.



POL90 – polycarbonate translucent “ice” panels installed in structural ‘T’ bar over an open space.


Large span polycarbonate projects, worldwide.




polycarbonate in construction

polycarbonate in construction

polycarbonate in construction

polycarbonate in construction

polycarbonate in construction


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