Polycarbonate Sheets are an ideal material for a variety of applications. Some of the reasons for its popularity is low cost, high insulating ability, lightweight, and high snow load ratings.
Some of the most common uses include roof panels, corrugated plastic roofing, greenhouse panels, and sunroom construction.
Polycarbonate sheets are also used to make hurricane shutters in vulnerable areas and Dade country approved sheets are available for this application. Hurricane panels can be quickly and easily installed and removed when threatening weather is in the forecast. Clear polycarbonate sheets for hurricane protection can withstand high impacts while still allowing a great deal of natural light transmission.
Corrugated and multi-wall are the two most popular types used for roofing and wall applications. Corrugated polycarbonate roof panels are normally the least expensive of the two. It is a single layer sheet similar in design to the old tin roofs with “peaks and valleys”. It makes an excellent roofing or wall material when insulating ability and the lowest possible cost are the main priorities.
Multi-wall polycarbonate sheets are hollow and have flutes that run the length of the sheet. The air space in between the layers gives this type of sheet a much higher insulating ability than a single layer corrugated sheet. And the fluted design makes it much stronger and provides a higher degree of security.
A few more notable facts about polycarbonate roof panels are respectable R-values up to 3.57+, and a temperature range from -40F to 212F. When used as a polycarbonate roofing panel snow loads up to 60 PSF can be obtained.
One thing to keep in mind when shopping for polycarbonate sheets is that all polycarbonate is not created equally. Some companies offer imported generic sheets that are made with high percentages of recycled material such as CD cases or other debris. While others use a high percentage of virgin resins that greatly extend the life of the sheet keeping replacement costs down and also minimizing excessive landfill waste.
UV resistance is another important feature that should not be overlooked. Polycarbonate sheet that does not include UV inhibitors will quickly yellow and become brittle.
There are much better ways to be environmentally responsible than to purchase inferior grade recycled polycarbonate sheets especially if it will be used outdoors and subjected to the elements.
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