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Last modified: 2023-02-02 | Approximate reading time 3 mins
Are you the proud owner of a house with a patio, greenhouse, pergola, or veranda? Or are you thinking about becoming one?
If so, then honeycomb polycarbonate sheets, with their many benefits, are definitely a roofing option to consider, as it rivals the more popular roofing alternatives out there: modified glass, acrylic, and modified acrylic.
In this article, we'll delve into detail about the characteristics, advantages, and few little drawbacks of polycarbonate sheets, before wrapping it up by listing the average price at which this material can be purchased if you've settled on its benefits.
First, note that there are several types of polycarbonate sheets. The two main ones are solid polycarbonate, known as "compact," and honeycomb polycarbonate. While the former is generally used to design glass walls, the latter is perfectly suited for exterior roofing: shed, garage, greenhouse, patio, pergola, veranda... The list goes on!
Honeycomb polycarbonate is a thick sheet of polycarbonate that’s pieced together from several polycarbonate sheets. Its air-filled cavities allow for many advantages, ranging from being lightweight, which makes polycarbonate roofs ideal for aluminum or PVC structures, to its good insulating capacity, which allows you to regulate (to some extent) the energy consumption of your outdoor living space.
In spite of its light weight, honeycomb polycarbonate is very sturdy: some 200 times stronger than glass, 30 times stronger than acrylic, and 15 times stronger than modified acrylic. Polycarbonate roofs are more than just reliable: the robustness of the material used in their making allows them to not only withstand hail and large amounts of snow, but also bear heavy loads, such as plants, lights, and ceiling fans.
This type of roofing can withstand shocks and other weather-related issues for years to come, while maintaining the same resistance when subjected to extreme temperatures, such as temperatures up to 100°C (or more), without altering in shape.
Polycarbonate roofing also allows natural light to shine through evenly while providing optimal protection against UV rays. Last but not least, it's considered a rather decent soundproofing material, thus reducing noise pollution, whether it emanates from inside or outside.
On the market, in Quebec, this type of roofing is available in several colours and finishes, including crystal white, opaque, and opaline, as well as see-through smoke brown, and more. It's easy to trim/cut and install, just like its maintenance: simply spray it with vinegar and water to effectively clean your polycarbonate roof.
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With such a list of advantages, no drawbacks nor constraints would be amazing. However, polycarbonate is a material that, despite its potential to filter certain noises, tends to amplify those generated by rain, hail, and other similar types of impact.
Moreover, while this type of roof protects against UV rays, it doesn't block light (except for corrugated* or opaque polycarbonate roofing sheets) and therefore, installing a blackout system (roller shutter or blinds) is highly recommended to avoid being blinded by the sun in the summer. Its lifespan is on average limited to 15 years, far from the 70 years that, for instance, tiles offer, and even further from the century-long durability that slate and sheet metal normally offer.
* Corrugated polycarbonate is another type of polycarbonate sheeting, one which is less common and generally used for double-skin or steel roofs. It can be easily combined with another layer of honeycomb polycarbonate for added insulation. It can be used to create a skylight in a steel roof, for example.
In Quebec, a lot of construction companies carry polycarbonate sheets for sale. For a standard-size polycarbonate sheet, the average price is around $50 to $60.
For example, a 24" x 8" Vicwest Suntuf clear polycarbonate roof panel costs $50, while a 12' Tuftex corrugated polycarbonate roofing sheet, is about $60. However, in comparison, costs for a solarium/sunroom, which is roughly 85% glass, vary between $258 and $226 per square foot.
Because of its many advantages, such as being lightweight, flexible, and UV-resistant, polycarbonate is a great option for those who want to shield their verandas, pergolas, greenhouses, and any other outdoor structure, while keeping the whole process rather simple.
Polycarbonate is also a very good alternative to modified glass at a (significantly) lower price. Although this material has limited durability, it's still worth the investment, depending, of course, on your needs and expectations for your future roof.
Cover image source: Collov Home Design - Unsplash
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