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Everything You Need To Know About Polycarbonate Panels

Polycarbonate panels are a popular choice as building materials for products such as greenhouses, carports, and sheds because they are durable and can withstand weathering. But before you make the decision to buy a product with polycarbonate panels, there are a few things you should know. In this article, we will outline what polycarbonate panels are, why you might want to buy a product that uses them, and what you should consider before making your purchase.

Polycarbonate panel easy slide in construction

What Are polycarbonates?

Polycarbonates are a type of plastic made from organic compounds, consisting of carbonates and bisphenol A. Also known as thermoplastic polymers, this type of plastic is often used in engineering and construction because of its strength and durability.

What is the difference between polycarbonates and regular plastic?

Polycarbonates and regular plastics are not created equally, and therefore, polycarbonates are considered to be a sub genre of plastic. While all polycarbonates are classified as plastic, not all plastics are polycarbonate. The most important distinction between them is the premium quality and durability of polycarbonates, versus that of regular plastic.

What are the superior benefits of polycarbonate panels?

  1. Polycarbonate panels are very strong and durable. They are often used in the construction industry because of their strength and durability. Our line of polycarbonate products are virtually unbreakable, and are on the leading edge of thermoplastic technology.

    Hammer striking side of polycarbonate shed showing its strength and durability

  2. Polycarbonate panels are resistant to weathering and do not discolour. Polycarbonate panels last a long time and are a great investment you will enjoy for many years. They do not fade, become brittle, turn yellow, or fracture.

  3. Polycarbonate panels are heat-resistant. Polycarbonate can handle up to 270 degree heat for several hours without distorting, breaking, or absorbing heat. You can even BBQ near it, just be mindful not to expose your polycarbonate panels to high temperatures for extended periods of time.

  4. Polycarbonate panels are available in a variety of colours and transparencies, ranging from crystal-clear to completely opaque. Depending on your needs, polycarbonate panels can either block, filter, or let UV light shine through.

  5. Polycarbonate panels are easy to install. This means that you can install them yourself without having to hire a contractor. The majority of our awnings and carports feature easy to assemble slide-in panels.

  6. Polycarbonate panels are recyclable. You can have peace of mind knowing that if you ever decide to dispose of polycarbonate products they don’t need to end up in a landfill.

Where do we get our polycarbonate products from?

Our line of polycarbonate products are manufactured by the Israeli company Palram (now Canopia). Palram has been continually pushing the limits of thermoplastic technology for over 50 years, and holds the patent for nearly bullet-proof polycarbonate. We are proud to be an authorized dealer for Palram, which is the #1 manufacturer of hobby greenhouses in Canada.

What sets our polycarbonate products apart?

Palram’s line of polycarbonate products are virtually unbreakable, rust proof, rot proof, and peel resistant. In fact, this material is so tough it has earned the nickname “transparent steel” due to its unique combination of properties. But don’t just take our word for it, this amazing product is also trusted for use in bullet-proof glazing and fighter jet canopies.

What are the benefits of polycarbonate panels for greenhouses?

Polycarbonate panels are an excellent choice for greenhouses because they offer high light transmission and weather resistance, as well as being easy to construct. 

Furthermore, they are impact resistant, shatter-resistant, and virtually unbreakable, allowing for a lightweight and glass-like appearance without the associated dangers of glass. They have a sleek and modern aesthetic, and will not discolour, fracture, or become brittle over time, and are easily cleaned by simply hosing them down with water.

Your plants will thank you too, as these panels provide a superior temperature range, keeping your crop from freezing in the fall, and warm over the winter due to improved insulation. They also let the natural sunlight through while offering up to 100% UV protection, so your plants (and your skin) won't get burnt, even in extreme heat.

Polycarbonate panels are excellent insulators, and they take advantage of the “greenhouse effect” which allows the sun to heat the ground and air inside of your greenhouse. The greenhouse effect is a good thing for your crops, as it helps to reduce temperature swings, meaning plants stay warmer at night and cooler in the day.

Additionally, polycarbonate panels are incredibly tough, and sturdy enough to withstand harsh weather conditions. They are a great choice for a material you can trust to survive Canadian winters, and are equipped with superior snow load and wind ratings.

Garden Chalet Polycarbonate Greenhouse inside view

What thickness of polycarbonate panels should I choose for my greenhouse?

There are 4 important things to consider when deciding what thickness of polycarbonate panels you should choose for your new greenhouse. Here are the most important things to keep in mind:

  1. Snow Loads: If you live in an area that receives a high volume of snow, we recommend you choose at least a 6mm to 10mm thick polycarbonate panel for the roof and walls.

  2. Wind Exposure: Make sure that the greenhouse you choose can withstand the strength of wind you typically experience in your area. If you live in a particularly windy zone, you will need at least 4mm thick polycarbonate panels. We highly recommend our top-rated Glory Greenhouse, which can handle up to 120km/hr wind gusts.

  3. Sun exposure: Polycarbonate panels are the best solution for sunny locations, as they have the ability to  diffuse sunlight and distribute heat evenly, preventing hot spots. If you want to install a greenhouse in an area with a lot of sun exposure, make sure to take advantage of thicker panels.

    For areas that lack sunlight, the better option would be a greenhouse with clear panels as they let more light through. However, beware that clear panels are often thinner (1mm), so make sure to consider snow loads and wind ratings before you decide if this option will work for you.

  4. Winter and shoulder season growing: Twin-walled panels add an R-value insulation to your greenhouse if you want to grow over the winter season. 

    10mm thick = R-value of 2
    4mm thick = R-value of 1

Check out our 2022 Greenhouse Buyers Guide to see our panel thickness chart.

What are the benefits of polycarbonate panels for carports?

Polycarbonate panels are a great option to consider when purchasing a carport because they are stylish, modern, built to last, and incredibly easy to assemble. 

You can protect your car, boat, RV, camper, and even your patio furniture from weathering, as well as harmful UV damage. The nice thing about polycarbonate panels is that they can partially emit natural sunlight, while filtering out the UV rays, creating a beautiful covered area that doesn’t feel dark and dingy. If you want to add a carport to the front of your house, and also be able to keep a bright ambiance, this is a great option for you.

Our polycarbonate carports are high-impact resistant, shatter-proof, and protect from inclement weather. They do not discolor, fracture or become brittle over time, so you will have peace of mind knowing they will look just as good as the day you installed it for years to come. 

Furthermore, our line of polycarbonate carports are easily assembled with only two people, allowing you to enjoy a solid and reliable structure without needing to hire help to build it. The panels have a simple slide-in-place design.

If you want a carport that you can easily build, and then move at a later date, our Vitoria Carport comes with a re-assembly option. Take it with you when you move homes, or move it to another part of your yard to enjoy as a shelter, it’s easy to do.

Car parked under Vitoria polycarbonate carport

What should I consider when choosing which polycarbonate carport is right for me?

  1. Snow Load and Wind Rating: We offer three different polycarbonate carports that can handle a variety of snow loads and wind ratings.

    Arcadia: 30 lbs per square foot snow load, and 75 mph wind rating
    Vitoria: 20 lbs per square foot snow load, and wind resistant up to 90 km/h.
    Arizona Wave: 15 lbs per square foot snow load, and 75 mph wind rating. (Also comes with 2 optional winter support legs which increase the snow load capacity to 25 lbs per square foot).

  2. Placement: If you need a carport that is accessible for round parking areas, or turn-arounds, then the Arizona Wave is the best option. Our other two polycarbonate carports, the Arcadia and Vitoria are a classic drive-through tunnel style.

What are the benefits of polycarbonate panels for sheds?

Our line of polycarbonate sheds are virtually indestructible designs that stand up to harsh weather conditions and never need to be painted or stained. These easy to install DIY kits are set-it-and-forget-it, allowing you to store your valuables without worrying about ongoing maintenance. 

Additionally, they are resistant to decay, humidity and termites, making them a perfect solution for a structure that will last while being protected from UV damage and fading. Their commercial-grade polycarbonate panels are guaranteed to maintain their integrity, and will not sag, bow, or discolour over time.

Furthermore, their unique skylight roof panels allow the light in, so that you don’t require any electrical hookups. You can literally put these anywhere on your property, and you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for with ease during the daytime. On the outside the skylight panels appear opaque, so don’t worry, your privacy is secure.

Inside view of Yukon polycarbonate storage shed

What should I consider when choosing which polycarbonate shed is right for me?

  1. Sizes: 

    Rubicon: Ranging from 6x5 to 6x12

    Yukon:  Ranging from 10’1’’x 8.5’’ to 10’1’’x16.7’’ (Floor is not included)
    Skylight Storage Shed: Ranging from 6x5 to 6x10
    Pent Shed: One size 68.9 L x 46.3 W x 79.9 H (Lean to style, small shed, measured in inches)

  2. Snow Load and Wind Rating:

    Rubicon: Variable depending on size
    Yukon: 20.5 lbs per square foot snow load and wind rating of up to 75 mph
    Skylight Storage Shed: 15 - 25 lbs per square foot of snow, and 90 - 120 km/h wind rating
    Pent Shed: 15 lbs/square foot roof loads (roughly 1 foot of wet snow). This shed is not suitable for heavy snow load areas.

In summary, polycarbonate panels are strong and durable, come available in a variety of colours, opacities and thicknesses, and are easy to install and recyclable. We highly recommend our line of polycarbonate products, as they are a valuable investment for your home and property that are built to last.