If you are planning to build a greenhouse, pavilion, outdoor gardening structure, or sun porch, you are likely looking for a transparent material that is durable, long-lasting, weather-resistant, easy to install, and cost-effective. What material meets all those requirements?
In your research, you may have come across the term “corrugated polycarbonate.” But what is corrugated polycarbonate? What is polycarbonate? Why corrugated polycarbonate?
Corrugated polycarbonate is an octagonal-wave shaped material made with polycarbonate thermoplastic polymer. The important thing to know about polycarbonate is that it is impact resistant and substantially stronger than other transparent materials. The unique chemical structure of polycarbonate gives it multiple useful features such as temperature resistance and impact resistance. Polycarbonate is a popular material for objects that need to be transparent and shatterproof, like kids’ glasses or bullet-proof “glass.” It is also commonly found in building structures that must be both durable and light. When used for building applications, polycarbonate sheeting is typically molded into a corrugated pattern to increase the strength of the material and prevent water accumulation. The multiple folds of an octagonal-wave dramatically increase the strength and rigidity of the product. Corrugated polycarbonate is available in home improvement stores, and it raises the quality and durability of many DIY projects.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of corrugated polycarbonate, the uses for corrugated polycarbonate, and a selection of example projects that feature corrugated polycarbonate.
Corrugated Polycarbonate Benefits
Corrugated polycarbonate is a popular material for many DIY and home improvement projects because it offers many benefits. While other building materials may offer one or two of these benefits, corrugated polycarbonate is exceptional because it is a single material that offers a multitude of key benefits.
Retains Color and Opacity
When property owners are considering transparent materials for outdoor DIY projects, they may look at acrylic or plastic sheeting. A major downside to plastic and acrylic is that they discolor and change opacity over time. A notable benefit of corrugated polycarbonate is that it is specially formulated to retain the original color and degree of opacity as long as you follow the simple care and maintenance instructions. Do not use abrasive or high alkaline cleaners, do not apply cleaners in direct sunlight, and do not leave cleaners on for an extended period of time.
Do you want to spend time, effort, and money on a DIY project only to have it fall apart after a few storms? Of course not! When a building is outside, it needs to be strong enough to withstand a lot of wear and tear from the elements, from animals, and many other possible impacts. One of the most attractive benefits of corrugated polycarbonate is that it is up to 20x stronger than Fiberglass. In fact, no other material can offer both transparency and the degree of strength that corrugated polycarbonate can provide.
Blocks UV Radiation
Another important benefit of corrugated polycarbonate is that it blocks UV radiation. The UV-blocking technology keeps the material from turning yellow and protects those under or inside a building roofed or sided with corrugated polycarbonate from receiving harmful UV rays.
Withstands Extreme Temperatures
If you live in the hottest desert or the coldest arctic climate, you can use corrugated polycarbonate for your projects. Corrugated polycarbonate withstands temperatures as low as -40F° and as high as +270F°. This is beneficial because you do not have to worry about your roof or siding cracking in the cold or melting in the heat.
Resistant to Hail and Wind
With corrugated polycarbonate structures, you do not need to worry about your plants, animals, or furniture being damaged in a storm. Corrugated polycarbonate is so strong that it can resist the force, pressure, and impact of hail and wind.
Does not Rust or Corrode
Corrugated polycarbonate will not deteriorate or degrade over time because it does not rust or corrode. While most other DIY home improvement materials have a limited lifespan, corrugated polycarbonate will look nice and maintain full functionality for years to come.
Easy to Install
Corrugated polycarbonate is an ideal choice for DIY building projects because it is easy to install with standard tools. The material can be cut with a table saw with a plywood blade, a hand circular saw with a plywood blade, or a jigsaw. For small, localized work, hand tools can be used to cut the material.
Uses for Corrugated Polycarbonate
Corrugated polycarbonate can be used for roofing and siding. While corrugated polycarbonate can be used for either the roof or the side walls, in many outdoor structures, corrugated polycarbonate is used for both the roof and the sides. Let’s discuss a few of the uses of corrugated polycarbonate for each category.
Corrugated polycarbonate can be used to create a roof that transmits light or creates partial shade. Greenhouses, sun porches, chicken coops, pavilions, and other outdoor gardening structures can all benefit from corrugated polycarbonate roofing.
Greenhouses need light-permeable roofs to grow plants inside the structure. Depending on the design of your sun porch, you may want a transparent roof in addition to transparent siding. If you need a light-permeable roof for your sun porch, corrugated polycarbonate is an excellent choice. Chicken coops benefit from corrugated polycarbonate roofs. In fact, those who have polycarbonate chicken houses report that the hens in those houses each hatch an average of 4 more eggs than the hens in houses built of other materials. To learn more about corrugated polycarbonate for chicken coops, read this article. Sometimes pavilions need to create shade, and sometimes pavilions need to block harmful UV radiation while still allowing visible light to shine through. In either case, corrugated polycarbonate is an excellent material.
Corrugated polycarbonate can be used as a siding material for projects that need to allow visible light to sift through the building walls. Greenhouses, sun porches, chicken coops, and other outdoor gardening structures can all benefit from corrugated polycarbonate siding.
Plants in greenhouses need sunlight from all available directions. Transparent corrugated polycarbonate walls allow the light to shine through the greenhouse and nourish plants all day long. Like greenhouses, sun porches also benefit from the least amount of shade-creating elements, so the siding needs to be transparent. For sun porches, corrugated polycarbonate is ideal because it lets light shine through while blocking harmful UV radiation. If your chicken coop has walls, the chickens can benefit from semi-transparent corrugated polycarbonate siding to insulate heat and allow light to shine through.
Example Projects for Corrugated Polycarbonate
This pavilion is a stunning backyard feature. The transparent, corrugated polycarbonate roof allows people relaxing on the couch to enjoy the expansive blue sky during the day and watch for shooting stars at night. The decorative pillows and twinkly lights create a cozy and intimate place to enjoy spending time with friends and family in the beautiful backyard. When it rains, the party does not have to run indoors. Everyone can stay dry underneath the protective canopy.
This lovely greenhouse is built to last with a cedar frame, corrugated polycarbonate sides, and a corrugated polycarbonate roof. The right amount of sunlight can stream through the building and onto the plants, and the full enclosure allows the gardener to control the temperature and humidity levels inside. The gable roof ensures rain runs off quickly.
Did you know a chicken coop could look this attractive? Polycarbonate roof panels are an excellent choice for a chicken coop roof because they allow sunlight to shine through while blocking nearly 100% of UV rays. This is beneficial for the chickens' health and happiness. The corrugated polycarbonate roof elevates the appearance of the chicken coop with a modern twist.
Onduline’s Corrugated Polycarbonate
For more than 75 years, Onduline has supplied lightweight roofing materials worldwide. The Onduline North America team brings nearly 45 years of local history, beginning in Virginia in 1976 with its corrugated asphalt panels. The TUFTEX® plastics operations were founded in 1988, moving to Fredericksburg in 1995. Together the products in the ONDULINE®, ONDURA®, and TUFTEX® brands provide material for just about any pitched roofing job you can think of and a variety of other projects.
Onduline is an experienced supplier of corrugated polycarbonate. The TUFTEX Corrugated Polycarbonate is our toughest building panel. The TUFTEX PolyCarb corrugated panels are 20x stronger than fiberglass, can withstand extreme temperatures, are resistant to hail and wind, will not rust or corrode, and are easy to install with standard tools. Check out the Tuftex Installation Guide to learn more about the ease of installation, and then use this store locator to find this Onduline product at a convenient location near you.