Benefits of polycarbonate go far beyond its aesthetic appeal. Architects may choose it for its looks, but project managers, engineers, and DIYers choose it for a number of other benefits that you’ll want to consider before selecting material for your next project. Here’s an overview.
Durability. Polycarbonate is 250 times stronger than glass and is virtually indestructible. (Watch a man take a hammer to a polycarbonate skylight in this video.) Because of its impact resistance, polycarbonate is a favorable choice for protection from extreme weather, flying debris, or vandalism.
Light transmission. Polycarbonate offers light transmission properties that are comparable to glass, giving it an advantage over glass because it visually functions the same way but is significantly lighter and more durable.
Easy to cut and shape. Polycarbonate is commonly sold in solid or multiwall sheets that are available in standard sizes and thicknesses from 4mm to 32 mm. The material is easy to cut with common tools and can be shaped or bent at room temperature by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Thermal insulation. Both solid and multiwall polycarbonate provide some degree of thermal insulation. Of the two, multiwall is capable of providing a higher degree of thermal insulation because of its interior structure. These structures include 2-wall, 3-wall, X structure, honeycomb, and 4-wall construction, and each type has its own insulating properties and R-values to meet the demands of different applications.
Multiple colors. This material is available in at least 12 different colors, so if your project would benefit from color, you’ll have plenty of choices.
Lightweight. Polycarbonate material weighs about half as much as its glass equivalent, which means you can enjoy lower shipping costs, easier moving and storage, and simplified material handling.
Easy to install. Sheets can be attached directly to a frame or support structure and accompanying hardware is designed for quick, simple mounting and joining.
UV protection. A high-quality sheet includes a UV coating on one or both sides, which protects the sheet from yellowing or discoloring in direct sunlight.
Comes with a warranty. Polycarbonate sheets are available with warranties for up to 15 years of protection depending on product type.
Buyback and recycling. Some manufacturers will offer to buyback your unused sheets, and they can also assist with recycling used or scrap material that remains after cutting and trimming.