How to Install Multiwall Polycarbonate

Multiwall polycarbonate panels are an attractive and durable solution for a variety of DIY projects. The installation is relatively simple and can be done with standard DIY tools, but there are a number of tips you need to know to ensure they look nice and function properly. When learning how to install multiwall polycarbonate roofing, make sure you consider the important guidelines discussed below.

Prepare Your Project

Ensure your structure has the appropriate spacing and slope to support the multiwall polycarbonate panels and allow for proper drainage. 

Note these guidelines: 

  1. The minimum rise over run for the pitch is 1:12, or 5 degrees. 
  2. The maximum spacing between cross braces is 24 inches. 
  3. Open channels, or flutes, in the multiwall polycarbonate panels must run vertically when installed outdoors. 
  4. Always refer to local building code before starting any project.

Assemble the Required Tools

In order to install multiwall polycarbonate panels on the roof of your backyard DIY project, you will need:

  1. Tape measure
  2. Drill 
  3. 9/32” drill bit
  4. ¼” hex driver
  5. Circular Saw with 80+ tooth plastic cutting blade
  6. Marker
  7. Eye protection
  8. C-clamps

The optional materials include:

  1. 100% silicone sealant
  2. Jig-saw

Assemble the Materials

Here is a list of materials you will need to build a multiwall polycarbonate roof using Onduline Tuftex products:

  1. Tuftex Multiwall Panels
  2. Tuftex U-Channel Profile to seal the top and bottom of the panels
  3. Tuftex H-Channel Profile to join two panels side-by-side
  4. Tuftex 2” Fasteners
  5. Tuftex Anti-Dust Tape
  6. Tuftex Universal Ridge

There are a number of important handling instructions to note: 

  1. Panels have polyethylene film applied to both sides to prevent scratches. Do not fully remove the films until the project is complete. 
  2. When working on your project, position the sheets with the UV film side facing upwards. 
  3. Store panels in a dry, shady area.

Cut the Multiwall Polycarbonate Panels

When it is time to cut the multiwall polycarbonate panels, keep the following tips in mind: 

  1. Always wear appropriate protective equipment and follow the manufacturer’s directions when operating power equipment or any other tool. 
  2. Always measure twice before cutting.
  3. Clamp the sheets to a stable surface to reduce vibration.
  4. Make rounded and curved cuts with a band saw or jigsaw. 
  5. Make all straight cuts with a fine-toothed table saw or circular saw with a double-sided and certified-for-plastic cutting blade. 
  6. Clean the dust from the flutes using an air compressor or vacuum.
  7. Make the cuts at a high RPM while moving the saw slowly down or across the sheet.

Install the Multiwall Polycarbonate Panels

When you are ready to install the multiwall polycarbonate panels, keep the following tips in mind: 

  1. Always wear appropriate protective equipment and follow the manufacturer’s directions when operating power equipment or any other tool. 
  2. Remove 2” of the film from the edges to apply the tape and connect the profiles.
  3. Pre-drill all fastener holes 1/16” larger than the fastener.
  4. Apply tape to the ends of the panels and slide on U-Channel profiles with the top side facing outwards.
  5. Fasten no more than 2” from the edge of the panel. 
  6. The maximum distance between fasteners should be 24”. 
  7. The maximum overhang is 3”. 
  8. Be careful not to over-tighten the fasteners. 
  9. Although sealant is not required, 100% silicone sealant may be applied to the inside of H or U channel profiles and around the flashing on side walls. 

If your roof is pitched, you will need a ridge to seal the points where two planes of panels meet. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly install the ridge.


Care and Maintenance

In order to keep your multiwall polycarbonate roof in the best shape so that it lasts for years to come, it is important to follow specific care and maintenance instructions. 

Things to Avoid

  1. Do not use abrasive or high alkaline cleaners as these could wear down the surface panels. 
  2. Do not allow pressure washing spray to come into close proximity of the panels because this will deteriorate the surface of the panels.
  3. Do not apply cleaners in direct sunlight or leave cleaners on for extended periods of time as these can also cause abrasions to the surface of the sheets. 

Things to Do

  1. Keep the roof clear of debris. 
  2. To clean, apply warm water to the surface of the polycarbonate sheeting. Wipe with any soft cloth and warm soapy water. Rinse off and use paper towels or any soft cloth to dry the polycarbonate. 

Celebrate and Enjoy Your DIY Multiwall Polycarbonate Roof

Now you know how to install polycarbonate panels and properly care for your roof. When you have completed your DIY multiwall polycarbonate roof project, you can celebrate, enjoy the results of your hard work, and plan your next DIY adventure!

For more DIY resources and high-quality materials, visit the Onduline site today.