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POLYCARBONATE SHEET FAQ'S

Below you will find the answers to some of our most commonly asked questions. If you still need assistance please visit our contact us page!


What is polycarbonate?

Polycarbonate sheets are a polymer comprised of a large number of identical units of bisphenol A linked by carbonate linkages in its backbone chain. Carbonate groups are chemically comprised of a di-ester of carbonic acid which results in a polymeric chain. Polycarbonate is formed into shape by melting it and forcing it into a mold or die while under pressure. It is then extruded into the desired shape, size and type.


What is polycarbonate used for?

Polycarbonate sheets come in several varieties, colors, profiles, and formulations. Multiwall polycarbonate sheets are multi layered plastic panel that is commonly used for patio, residential and industrial roofing applications. Multiwall polycarbonate sheets are also very suitable for walls in greenhouses, livery stables, pool houses, and other projects requiring strength, light weight, high insulation values and varying levels of light penetration.

Corrugated polycarbonate sheets are suitable for the same types of projects (roofing, walls, various enclosures). Corrugated polycarbonate sheets are a single layer and lower priced alternative to multiwall panels. Although corrugated polycarbonate sheets are suitable for many of the same types of projects as multiwall panels, because of its single layer configuration, corrugated panels do not not have the same high insulating values of its multiwall counterpart. 


What is the difference between a corrugated and multiwall polycarbonate sheet?

The term multiwall polycarbonate sheet refers to a flat sheet comprised of multiple layers and air "pockets" in between the sheets. These sheets offer superior thermal properties and outstanding snow load capabilities.

The term corrugated polycarbonate sheet refers to a single layer sheet consisting of corrugations or ribs. These sheets have a " wave " profile to them similar to the metal roofing panels found throughout different applications.


What thickness / type of polycarbonate should I use?

The thickness / type of polycarbonate required for a particular application will depend on the end use, snow load requirements, slope, budget and more.


Will polycarbonate yellow?

Our polycarbonate sheets are all UV protected on at least one side to prevent damage or discoloring from the suns harmful UV rays. Please see the warranty for complete details.


How do I clean polycarbonate?

Polycarbonate sheets should be cleaned with a mild soap or detergent solution and warm water. Simply wash with a soft cloth or sponge and rinse with warm water after cleaning. Fresh paint, grease and glazing compounds can be removed before drying by lightly rubbing the sheets with isopropyl alcohol or naphtha and then following up with a final wash with mild soap and finally a warm water rinse.


How do I cut polycarbonate?

Cut polycarbonate sheets with a circular saw and finishing blade. A finishing blade normally consists of 100+ "teeth" and will help ensure a clean, even cut. Keep the protective film on the sheets until they have been cut and are ready for installation. Be sure to remove any shaving from the exterior of the sheets and the inside flutes.


Can polycarbonate be used on sloped or flat roofs?

It is recommended to maintain a minimum 5 degree slope on roofing applications when using polycarbonate.

Will condensation affect the performance of polycarbonate?

Condensation will not affect the performance of polycarbonate sheets. Although the effects of condensation are completely asthetic and normally temporary, special care should be taken to minimize moisture inside the flutes.


Can polycarbonate be used for curved applications?

One of the many reasons polycarbonate is preferred over glass is it's ability to be cold bent for arched applications. The extent of the bending radius will depend on the thickness / type of polycarbonate sheet being used.


Do polycarbonate sheets need to be installed in a certain direction?

Multiwall polycarbonate sheets should be installed so that the flutes that run the length of the sheet are allowed to drain towards the ground letting gravity do it's job. Turning the sheets sideways will trap condensation inside of the sheets and could damage the sheets as well as void the warranty.

Corrugated sheets should be installed so that the " ribs" or corrugations run towards the ground allowing water / condensation to drain from the sheets. Again, turning these sheets sideways will trap moisture and void the warranty.



Common Terminology


Rafter - Refers to the supports under the sheet that run the length of the sheet

Purlin - Refers to the supports under the sheet that run the opposite direction of the sheets ( i.e. the width of the sheet )

Slope - Refers to the angle of a roof

Snow Load - Refers to the amount of weight per sq.ft. that a sheet is capable of supporting. Sheet thickness / type is determined by the rafter and purlin spacing as well as the slope and required snow load. The required snow load for your area can be found by contacting your local building code enforcement office.

Flutes - Refers to the open channels inside of multiwall polycarbonate sheets that run the length of the sheets. The flutes should be sealed with tapes and u profiles to prevent foreign debris from fowling the channels. A combination of weap holes and vent tape on the bottom edge of the sheet will help to seal the sheet but still allow condensation to drain from the sheets.