Polycarbonate by daylight

Polycarbonate vs glass: what’s the best choice?

If your next project requires a transparent material, polycarbonate can be an excellent alternative to standard glass. To help you decide which is the right material for the task, we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of polycarbonate vs glass, based on some popular applications.

What is polycarbonate sheet?

In a nutshell, polycarbonate is a thermoplastic polymer, meaning that it is one of the few kinds of plastic sheet that are resistant to high temperatures. Polycarbonate is a transparent, strong and hard material: it is 250 times as strong as standard glass while weighing only half as much. Despite its robust qualities, this versatile material is also very easy to work with.

Properties of polycarbonate vs glass

Polycarbonate

Glass

  • Crystal clear
  • Virtually unbreakable
  • Easy to machine
  • Twice as light as glass
  • Sensitive to scratches
  • Crystal clear
  • Fragile
  • More difficult to process
  • Twice as heavy as polycarbonate
  • Resistant to scratches

Roofing: polycarbonate or glass?

If you’re planning to make a DIY terrace or patio awning and aren’t sure whether to use polycarbonate or glass, it’s worth bearing in mind the weight difference. Because polycarbonate is very light and is virtually unbreakable, it won’t do much damage if part of the roof falls. Polycarbonate is also less expensive than glass and is much easier to work with.

Greenhouses: standard glass or polycarbonate?

If you want to buy or build a DIY greenhouse yourself, the first question will be what type of ‘glass’ you prefer for the panes. The frames of greenhouses are usually made of steel, wood or aluminium. There are pros and cons to both polycarbonate and traditional glass. If you choose polycarbonate, you’ll have a greenhouse that is pretty nearly unbreakable and with excellent insulation. If children are going to be playing nearby, this is the safest option. The only drawback is that over time, polycarbonate gets scratched and doesn’t look as nice as glass. This is easily solved by occasionally cleaning the panes and polishing the scratches.

If you choose standard glass, you’re opting for a material that retains the sun’s heat and is also scratch-resistant. However, it cracks much more readily and if broken, it shatters into razor-sharp pieces that can cut.

polycarbonate greenhouse

polycarbonate mini greenhouse

Replacing boat windows with polycarbonate

For boat windows that can withstand knocks and bumps and are also UV-resistant, polycarbonate is the better choice. As well as clear polycarbonate, you will also find tinted polycarbonate sheets in our webshop. Keep in mind that the thicker the sheet, the darker the shade.

Tip: Interested to learn more? View our blog with instructions on replacing boat windows.

Ordering polycarbonate sheets online

Are you convinced about the benefits of polycarbonate after reading this blog? If you order the sheets in our webshop, we’ll saw them to size for you for free.

More DIY ideas and inspiration

View our blog for more projects using polycarbonate. If you have any questions about polycarbonate or the rest of our product range, please contact us.

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