The word “polycarbonate” might make you think of industrial-looking buildings with poorly distributed light diffusion. But recent technologies have revolutionized this type of glazing, resulting in a desirable and customizable option for architectural projects. Whereas other rigid glazes such as fiberglass and glass are prone to breakage during installation, polycarbonate products were developed to be picked up, rolled into a tube and carried easily. Polycarbonate is also typically easy to install with basic tools.
Many manufactures, Crystal Structures included, rely on polycarbonate as an option for rigid glazing in a variety of applications due to the ease of handling during installation and cost-effectiveness as a rigid covering. While we do have access to a variety of polycarbonate products, we’ve started working with Palram for glazing on canopy applications and have been pleased with the results.
The Palram company was founded in 1963, became a public company in 1994. They offer a solid polycarbonate panels in 3mm, 4mm and 6mm thickness. For any given thickness, the “U” value of Palram panels is lower than that of glass.
Here’s why we recommend Palram polycarbonate products:
First, if your project calls for a low slope canopy, you might be concerned about drainage or how the glazing will stand up to mother nature. With Palram, there’s no problem with standing water, snow or ice damaging the polycarbonate. This makes Palram a perfect solution in low slope applications.
The Palram product doesn’t easily crack, fade or yellow. Palram’s corrugated products have been available for more than 20 years and have never had a claim for yellowing or loss of light transmission. The company’s multi-wall products have been available for eight years and have not had claims for yellowing or loss of light transmission due to yellowing, according to Palram.
And hail doesn’t make a dent, the deflection of Palram is superior to any other polycarbonate product. Palram has also had good performance against hail, said Stan Schultz, Director of Marketing for Palram Americas. “Polycarbonate has the very best impact performance out there in terms of protecting against hail,” said Schultz. “We feel we are doing very well. I don’t know of anything better for impact resistance.”
Finally there’s the cost factor. When planning a point supported canopy, glass is usually the glazing of choice. However, projects on a budget will find that the look of Palram glazing is similar and is more cost effective. The cycle for replacing polycarbonate versus glass is going to be longer as well which also results in a cost savings.
Here’s an example of a Palram polycarbonate canopy: Derby North Middle School, Derby KS
If you’ve got a canopy coming up consider the alternative of using Palram polycarbonate instead of glass or traditional poly. The completed project will look classy for years to come. Learn more about our glazed canopy systems here. Questions? Contact us!