Acrylic sheet is available in different types, types and price ranges. In this blog, we outline the most important links between acrylic sheet price and quality, so that the differences between the various types of acrylic sheet are made clear.
Extruded and cast acrylic sheets
There are two types of acrylic sheets: extruded and cast. The difference between the two is in the production process: extruded sheets are rolled to get them to the right thickness. The sheet is also longer and wider, and this allows the manufacturer to make more sheets from the same amount of acrylic. This reduces the price, and for that reason, extruded acrylic is also known as cheap acrylic sheet or acrylic XT. A disadvantage of the rolling process is that the tension in the sheet increases, which makes it more difficult to machine. When bending, sawing or drilling, an extruded sheet will crack or break more quickly. If it is known in advance that the sheet has to undergo a lot of processing, cast acrylic is usually the preferred choice. In the article ‘Cutting Acrylic’ you can read how to proceed if you want to cut and drill acrylic yourself. You can find more information about the material itself in the article ‘What is Acrylic’.
An invisible difference in quality apparent after time
A further distinction in quality can be made amongst extruded acrylic sheets: the A and B qualities. Acrylic sheets are available at many hardware stores, but this is almost always B-grade. These sheets break and crack very quickly, especially with thinner sheet thicknesses. Another major disadvantage is the pricing; despite the lower quality, the price is much higher than with specialised plastic suppliers. Unfortunately, the distinction between A and B quality is not always visible. Acrylic should be crystal clear: if this is not the case, then it is certainly B-quality. Hairline cracks or inclusions can then be seen in the sheet material. In most cases, the difference in quality only manifests itself after a few years: the acrylic becomes yellowish in colour and hairline cracks appear in the sheet.
The difference in the price of acrylic explained
The price of acrylic is therefore directly related to the quality, so it is advisable to think carefully beforehand about how you are going to apply the sheet. Does the sheet have to be processed, does it have to be glued, how long does it have to last? We always advise you to choose cast plate if the sheet needs to be processed. The price of this acrylic sheet is higher, but then you are assured of an easily machined, hard wearing sheet that lasts a long time.