Figure on where and when polycarbonate is the best bet for your roofing solution.
Not all roofs are cut out for polycarbonate roofing material, and with good reason. This material is a thermoplastic that performs well in certain circumstances but isn’t designed to replace whole home roofing systems like metal or asphalt shingles. That said, there are times and places where this roofing solution performs best and plays to its advantages.
If you have a smaller roofing project that you’re considering a roofing system for, you might be wondering about the pros and cons of polycarbonate roofing. As Brisbane’s leading experts in all things roofs, we’re breaking down this unique material so you can choose exactly where and how to best apply it.
A roofing refresher
As a reminder, polycarbonate roofing is a plastic material with some unique traits.
It’s often referred to as amorphous because installers can actually heat it up and change its shape, making it a pretty great fit for odd curves and angles. But don’t think that it’s going to melt under pressure. It can handle extremes in heat and is also a tough and resistant material.
That said, keep in mind that it’s plastic. It simply can’t handle the rigours of duty that a full roofing system will need to live up to. It’s also translucent, or light filtering, so you’ll get a blend of privacy and light that isn’t found with other roofing materials. That means it’s often used in select applications including:
Does it last long enough to be worthwhile?
Surprisingly to some, polycarbonate roofing can stand the test of time quite a bit. Most sheets come with a 10–15-year warranty and can last much longer when installed properly. Polycarbonate sheets come in single and double walled types, with the double wall sort being more durable and, typically, longer lasting.
The pros of working with polycarbonate
Ease of handling
Roofers and builders love working with polycarbonate roofing because it is incredibly lightweight and flexible. The panels and sheets are easy to transport to the job site and to work with using limited help. It’s also much easier than other solutions, such as glass, because it is less delicate and simpler to cut down to size or reshape at a moment’s notice.
Materials made from polycarbonate tend to be more cost-effective for building projects, too. The average price is $15-20 per square metre. For smaller projects or as a stand-in for glass in projects that require light filtering and access, there’s no contest when it comes to budget.
Ready to Price Things Out? Check out our blog: How Much Does Polycarbonate Roofing Cost?
While you might be picturing clear sheets of plastic, not all polycarbonate is created equal. You can order the material in any number of opacities to control the light that does (or doesn’t) filter through the sheets. What’s more, it can come in a variety of different colours and tints to match any design or create contrast in a building as a design element.
While we mentioned ease of handling already, it’s worth noting that polycarbonate sheets can usually be manoeuvred by a single person, unlike glass that requires two or more labourers to get into place safely and securely. This can help you save on installation costs, which can run by the hour between $40-$75 here in Brisbane.
Need a provider and installer? Here’s how to choose the best.
You can also opt for foam backed sheets that are opaque and help reflect UV rays away, helping to keep things cool in the warmer months and insulate areas in cooler ones. These are great for areas that can benefit from the available thermal properties like awnings as well as roofs for garages or carports.
Remember that these sheets are also fairly durable, protecting you from the elements as you use them in your roofing projects. High-quality panels are also designed to retain their colour over the years, so you don’t have to worry about fading or discolouration over time. They’re also fire resistant.
The cons of polycarbonate roofing
Every material has its few flaws, and the same is true of polycarbonate roofing. While it remains durable and fairly impervious, it isn’t immune to denting or scratching. So this means that you should have the materials installed by professionals who have the skill and knowledge to work with the sheets themselves. And if something substantial, like a tree limb, impacts your roofing, you’re likely going to need to swap out a sheet due to the damage. High impact can crack the sheets beyond repair.
For those who are environmentally conscious, polycarbonate might not be the solution to choose. While they are 100% recyclable, they are not typically made from recycled materials. And their processing and manufacture requires extremes in heat processing, especially for double walled sheets.
Lastly, you will want to be careful what you clean your polycarbonate roofing with. Using chemicals can actually dull or damage the surface of the sheets, so be sure to only clean with the recommended solutions from your manufacturer. In all likelihood, you’ll be best off if you stick with basic soap and water and use a soft sponge to avoid scratching.
Go with the pros in architectural cladding in Melbourne
When it comes to durable roofing solutions for small projects, there’s perhaps no better option than polycarbonate. For areas such as gazebos, pergolas, and decks, you can provide overhead protection while adding style and controlling the amount of light you want filtering in. For the pros and cons of polycarbonate roofing, the benefits clearly outweigh any downsides.
If you’re considering polycarbonate for your next home or business renovation project, look no further than Vincent Roofing. We’re Brisbane’s roofing experts, equipped to manage roofs of all shapes and sizes with high-quality materials and a wealth of experience to back up our work. In fact, we provide a 7-year warranty on all completed projects, an industry leading perk.
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