Is Polycarbonate Better Than Glass?

When choosing materials for constructing and manufacturing items ranging from skylights and clear barriers to greenhouses and aquariums, it is important to know you have options.

While glass has been a long-standing traditional choice, it is not necessarily the best choice for fulfilling specific needs such as weight, strength, design flexibility, and ease of installation.

If you are planning to make a DIY terrace or patio cover and are not sure whether to use polycarbonate or glass, it is worth bearing in mind the weight difference. Because polycarbonate is very light and is virtually unbreakable, it will not do much damage if part of the roof falls. Polycarbonate is also less expensive than glass and is much easier to work with.

We want to break down some of the key reasons why choosing polycarbonate over glass can be the best solution for you.

What Are the Advantages of Polycarbonate?

Polycarbonate sheet has become very popular because of their extreme durability and resistance to harsh conditions, especially when compared to glass. Glass can be easily broken and damaged, causing a potentially hazardous situation. Polycarbonate can save you time, money, efficiency and significantly reduce the risk of injury when replacing glass in buildings and construction.

Impact Resistance

Polycarbonate is practically unbreakable—especially when compared to most glass. Compared to safety glass, polycarbonate is 250 times more resistant to impact. It can handle extreme weather conditions making it a good choice for greenhouses, bus shelters, schools, and hospitals. Its durability also makes it a good choice for those concerned with burglary and vandalism.

Longer Life

Polycarbonate sheet has a long lifespan, eliminating unnecessary replacement costs thanks to its overall durability and ability to withstand impact and harsh weather. This is particularly useful for structures such as schools or hospitals with hundreds—if not thousands—of windows to maintain.

Heat Resistance

Traditional glass is not meant to withstand prolonged high temperatures. Polycarbonate, on the other hand, can handle extreme temperatures making it safer to use. For instance, polycarbonate can endure temperatures of 270 degrees for several hours at a time or sudden bursts of heat up to 1166 degrees without distortion, breakage, or absorption of heat.

Glass cannot do that!

Light Diffusion and UV Protection

Most glass cannot naturally filter out harsh lighting. Polycarbonate, instead, can provide softer lighting in building situations where it is preferred over direct sunlight. Greenhouse plants grow more efficiently under polycarbonate panels than under clear glass and are much less prone to sun damage and burning. Glass can be adapted to block UV rays by adding a special chemical coating or screen, but polycarbonate does not need any modification to keep your skin safe from harmful UV radiation.

Polycarbonate Sheet is Easy to Install

Compared to standard glass panels, polycarbonate sheeting is six times lighter, making installation quicker and easier. And it is easier to cut. These are significant advantages over glass in that there is less concern with cutting errors, and fewer materials are required for support.

If you choose standard glass, you are opting for a material that retains the sun's heat and is also scratch-resistant. However, it cracks much more readily and if broken, it shatters into razor-sharp pieces that can cut.