Lexan Polycarbonate Sheets - Facts and Info

Published: 05th February 2011
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We get a lot of questions about lexan polycarbonate sheets as a greenhouse covering. For the most part we find that people want to over complicate the issue. This article will address just what greenhouse lexan polycarbonate sheets are.

Lexan polycarbonate sheets, simply put, really are a plastic. They're lightweight (1/6th the weight of glass), virtually unbreakable (impact strength 200 times greater than glass), have superb weather resistance (due to the UV protection on one or 2 sides of the sheets), have superb insulation (due to the multiple levels with channels in between) and therefore are flexible and simple to install (check specific information on each thickness). You can purchase it in solid sheets, corrugated, or multiwall. The normal configurations employed for greenhouse glazing are corrugated and multiwall. The reason the solid sheets aren't recommended is due to the fact that they are not widely available with a UV protection on one side. The actual UV protection will keep the sheets from yellowing or even getting brittle. Some people will mistakenly think this impacts the light transmission of the sheets. It has nothing to do with that. The sheets with UV protection on one side are typically guaranteed for 10 years against yellowing as well as hail damage. This will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. There's also sheets available with UV protection on both sides. These are typically used for vertical applications for example fencing where both sides of the sheet experience the sun. Although this may be used for a greenhouse, it's typically more costly and unneeded.

Corrugated sheets are lexan polycarbonate sheets that are typically really thin, usually 0.8mm. It is available in a wavy or greca style. It will work great for the greenhouse, but will not have as much insulation as a twin wall sheet.

The easiest way to visualize a double wall sheet is to think about looking down the edge of a cardboard box. There is a sheet on the inside, a sheet on the outside with a rib running in between the sheets. The rib inside a cardboard box will be wavy. The rib in lexan polycarbonate sheets runs straight between the 2 sheets. Both sides of the sheet are flat. The lexan polycarbonate sheets are clear, but not "crystal clear" like glass. The rib will distort your view somewhat. It is available in 6mm, 8mm, 10mm as well as 16mm thickness. The 16mm is typically a triple wall - which means there will be a sheet running between the Two exterior lexan polycarbonate sheets. There's also some 8mm sheets available as a triple wall. Typically, the heavier the sheet, the better the actual insulation factor. One should think about the initial cost of the polycarbonate when it comes to the overall cost savings due to power costs. The 16mm sheet is about 5/8" thick. Lexan polycarbonate sheets tend to be shipped by truck because they can't be rolled and must be shipped flat.

Most greenhouses tend to be glazed with clear polycarbonate. It is available also in bronze as well as opal. These will cut down on light transmission significantly. Of course, whether you want to think about opal or bronze is determined by the needs of your particular plants. In closing, lexan polycarbonate sheets are a great choice with regard to greenhouse glazing. It is easy to set up and durable.

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