Many gardeners think about building a greenhouse or a polycarbonate gazebo with their own hands on a country site. Let's talk about what you need to know before getting started.
Today during the construction of greenhouses, gazebos, sheds, etc. polycarbonate is widely used. Let's see how to choose quality material and how to work with it correctly, so that polycarbonate can serve for many years.
What is better: polycarbonate or glass?
When choosing a material, many consumers find it difficult to choose: glass or polycarbonate? Both materials have advantages and disadvantages. The idea of them will help make a choice for their own needs. Such parameters are usually taken into account:
- Transparency. Ordinary glass passes almost all the light. The light transmittance of polycarbonate averages 85-88%. Both materials can be of different colors. Ordinary glass does not transmit ultraviolet (you cannot get a tan under it). Polycarbonate has a special coating on one side, which also delays the emission of the UV spectrum.
Strength. About how fragile the glass, to speak once again makes no sense. As a result of careless handling, of natural phenomena (for example, hail) glass may break or get chipped, cracked. In addition, glass may have a so-called point of internal stress (it appears as a result of violation of technological processes during production). A light blow to this point destroys the entire sheet.
Polycarbonate is 200 times stronger than glass. It perfectly withstands various impacts, abrasives, pressure (for example, snow). Even in the case of penetration, only a hole is formed that is commensurate with the object, and the whole sheet remains intact. As for chemical resistance, ordinary glass is superior. It can only be exposed to hydrofluoric acid. While polycarbonate is more vulnerable. For example, some sealants in the sun decompose, releasing substances that in turn have a destructive effect on this material. Therefore, the installation of polycarbonate on the sealant is not recommended.
- Weight. Everyone knows that glass is a heavy material. It is difficult to transport, lift. Support under the glass roof in the gazebo, greenhouse or shed should have adequate strength. Especially if you use a thick durable glass.
Polycarbonate is lighter than glass of the same thickness and size of a sheet by 2-16 times (depending on the structure). Accordingly, the roof of polycarbonate will have much less weight and will not require particularly strong supports.
- Ease of processing. Glass is cut using a special tool - glass cutter. The process itself requires certain skills. The thicker the sheet, the harder it is to cut. And to adjust the size of a millimeter or two is almost impossible. If an error occurs during operation, it is likely to split the entire sheet. In addition, old glass often breaks when cutting, even by experts. For drilling holes, special drills are also used. After cutting, sharp edges remain that are easy to cut, although they can be sanded if necessary.
The dimensions of the polycarbonate sheet, if necessary, are very easy to reduce, even by 1-2 mm. This material is easily cut even by a hacksaw with fine teeth or an electric jigsaw. Special skills are not needed for this. The edges of the cuts are much less dangerous and do not require special treatment.
- Flexibility. Polycarbonate perfectly bends, so that the panels can have a curved surface. Glass surfaces can only be flat, which makes it difficult to make a canopy or roof in the shape of a dome or arch. For this it is necessary to make a relatively complex frame structure in order to attach glass sheets of a strict geometric shape to it. While, for example, a semicircular polycarbonate visor above the porch can be made from one sheet of a suitable size.
- Thermal conductivity. Compared with glass, polycarbonate retains heat better. In case of using this material for glazing greenhouses, it is necessary to provide sufficient ventilation so that in the warm season the plants do not overheat and die.
Types of polycarbonate
Polycarbonate in its structure is quite diverse. Answer the question about which polycarbonate is better., complicated. It all depends on the operating conditions, goals and objectives set by the consumer.
Cellular polycarbonate - features
It represents two or more sheets interconnected by means of vertical partitions, which resembles a honeycomb in the section. It has flexibility, lightness and great durability. Often color cellular polycarbonate is used in the construction of fences, as it has high aesthetic characteristics in addition to high strength, low weight and other useful characteristics.
In addition, this type of polycarbonate, according to experts, is extremely durable and with a thickness of 120 mm can withstand a pistol shot to the stop. So, it’s not worth worrying about rubble from under the wheels of a passing car or about hail. This type of polycarbonate is often used in the construction of fences, glazing greenhouses, roofing, canopies, etc. And in general, it is used more often than other types.
Advantages of cellular polycarbonate:
- low specific weight - 16 times lighter than glass of the same dimensions;
- low thermal conductivity (this is achieved due to voids filled with air, due to these voids, a significant level of sound insulation is achieved;
- plasticity and flexibility;
- low cost.
Characteristics of monolithic polycarbonate
Outwardly it is very similar to glass because of what it is most often used for the device windows in greenhouses or gazebos. Color monolithic polycarbonate with great success is used in the manufacture of stained glass. Available in various thicknesses (from 0.75 mm to 40 mm). It has much more advantages compared to cellular.
Advantages of monolithic polycarbonate:
- resistance to physical stress (this polycarbonate is 200 times stronger than glass and approximately 8 times higher than the strength of acrylic);
- good noise insulation;
- resistance to abrasives (not scratched);
- convenience in work (if you buy monolithic polycarbonate, sheet sizes can be larger than those you need; you can cut to the required dimensions in many ways, but cutting with an electric jigsaw is best suited).
At destruction of monolithic polycarbonate formation of sharp splinters is excluded. Also, this type of material can withstand high snow pressure. This makes polycarbonate sheds very practical and popular.
This type of polycarbonate is used less frequently than the first two. It is used primarily for roofing. Wave step is the same as that of modern slate. Thus, these two materials can be combined with each other. However, wavy polycarbonate is not very popular.
What characteristics should polycarbonate have for dachas or houses?
For the most part, these requirements have already been mentioned earlier. It remains only to summarize. So, for the improvement of arbors, greenhouses and other similar buildings polycarbonate should be different:
- high strength;
- low specific weight;
- simplicity in processing and installation;
- UV resistant;
What to look for when buying a polycarbonate
Regardless of where the consumer intends to buy polycarbonate, in addition to the desired properties, he needs to pay attention to such moments:
- An important role is played by the material grade. Today the buyer is offered many brands. Before you make a choice, you should read the reviews on the Internet. At the same time, it is worthwhile to give preference to the information posted on the forums devoted to construction and dacha farming. Reviews in online stores with a high probability of custom-made.
- Lightweight polycarbonate, although sold at a lower price, is not very suitable for use in the harsh climate of our country. It is poorly resistant to temperature changes characteristic of the climate of the middle zone.
- Pay attention to the weight of the sheet (if such a characteristic is indicated). Standard sheet weighs about 10 kg. If the seller offers a sheet weighing less than 8.5 kg, the buyer deals with either a fake or a lightweight option.
- The standard width and length of a sheet of monolithic polycarbonate is 305 × 205 cm, thickness - 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12 mm, cellular - 210 × 600 cm or 210 × 1200 cm, thickness - 4, 6, 8, 10, 16, 25 and 32 mm, wavy - 126 × 224 cm, respectively, with a thickness of not more than 1.2 mm. Wave height is up to 5 cm.
- On a quality sheet of polycarbonate, there is always a mark on the protective UV coating on the corresponding side. If you are building a polycarbonate fence, this characteristic is not particularly important. But if you plan to build a greenhouse or gazebo, then you should pay attention to it.
- When buying, you should check the sheet thickness and compare it with the standard one. If there is a discrepancy, it is better not to acquire - fake.
|Signs of high quality polycarbonate:||Signs of poor polycarbonate:|
Special professional skills to work with the described material is not required. However, in order for the veranda, greenhouse or other polycarbonate structure to serve for a long time and not bring unnecessary trouble, you should remember some features of working with this material.
- As already mentioned, cutting polycarbonate is best with a hacksaw with fine teeth or an electric jigsaw with a suitable nail file. Jigsaw is preferable, since the cut is more even. Large hacksaw teeth will break off edges.
- If sheets are to bend, you should inquire about the allowable bending radius of the seller (usually such information is indicated in the product passport) or calculate it yourself using the formula Rmin = 150d, where d is the thickness of the sheet.
- Transparent sheet polycarbonate, like color, has UV protection on one side only (usually on this side information about the presence of a protective layer is placed). It is therefore very important which side you put the polycarbonate. If there is an unprotected side on top, such polycarbonate will quickly collapse under the influence of the environment.
- With temperature drops, polycarbonate sheets may slightly taper and expand. Therefore, during installation on the basis of the need to leave the stock (clearance). The value is calculated by the formula: ΔL = L × ΔT × Kr, where L denotes the length, ΔT is the amount by which the temperature changes (the seasonal average is taken) and Kr is the linear thermal expansion coefficient of the cellular polycarbonate, which is equal to 0.065.
- Before attaching the polycarbonate to the frame, you need to stock up with a drill with a sharpening angle of about 30 degrees, screws for metal or wood, thermal washers (consist of a plastic base with a foot equal to the thickness of the sheet, a sealing washer and cap). When mounting a hole is drilled in the sheet, the diameter of which is 2-3 mm larger than the diameter of the leg. Next, a leg is inserted into the hole, a sealing washer, a screw is screwed in and the whole structure is closed with a lid, which prevents the screw from turning into a cold bridge.
- Remember that condensate forms in any honeycomb polycarbonate, no matter how thick (polycarbonate) it is. This should be taken into account when placing the sheet, so that the moisture would be able to roll along the stiffeners to the outside.
- The free ends of the sheets are recommended to close with special profiles with holes for the drain of moisture. It is also desirable to use profiles for joining two adjacent sheets together. On sale you can find special profiles for corner joints, for skates (on the roof) and for edges that are in contact with the walls of other buildings. All these "gadgets" can significantly extend the life of polycarbonate. So do not save on consumables, because, as you know, the miser pays twice.
Care of the panels of the material described is simple. For example, the care of a polycarbonate greenhouse will consist in periodic cleaning of the surface from contamination to restore the light transmittance. In addition, it is recommended to monitor the presence of condensate. If an error was made during installation, it is worth occasionally removing the insulating profiles from the edges so that the moisture can evaporate.
Despite the resistance to abrasives, polycarbonate is not recommended to be cleaned with hard brushes, as deep scratches on the surface of the material become clogged with dirt, as a result of which the material loses its aesthetic appearance. It is not necessary to grind polycarbonate, since This can lead to thinning of its outer layer.
Polycarbonate for greenhouses
To cover for greenhouses special requirements are imposed in view of the specific use of the building itself.
- Minimum light delay. For this reason, the material should be as transparent as possible.
- Strength. Greenhouses can be exposed to hail, small and large particles of dust, as well as to experience the pressure of snow. Therefore, according to the structure, it is better to choose a cellular polycarbonate having internal stiffeners.
- Flexibility. It plays a role, above all, during installation, if the greenhouse is made in the form of a dome. Here again, the choice in favor of cellular material.
- Heat saving. Again cellular polycarbonate. The cavities between the stiffeners are filled with air that retains heat.
- Thickness. Most often in the construction of small greenhouses using a material thickness of 4 mm. It is quite enough in terms of strength. Thicker material will, firstly, weigh more, and secondly, it will cost more.
- Price. Cellular (cellular) transparent polycarbonate - is the cheapest.
Polycarbonate for gazebo or canopy
The choice of polycarbonate for gazebos is determined by the personal needs and wishes of the owners, as well as the peculiarities of weather conditions. For example, if the region has snowy winters, strong winds, then the coating should be durable and flexible. That is, have the appropriate structure and thickness. In this regard, cellular polycarbonate with a thickness of 8-15 mm is well suited.
The transparency of polycarbonate in this case is not as important as for greenhouses. Therefore, you can use colored material. Of course, taking into account what kind of lighting will be created inside the gazebo or under a canopy during the passage of sunlight through the material.
Cellular polycarbonate is lighter and cheaper than monolithic. However, it is possible to make stained-glass windows for arbor windows from a multi-colored monolithic material.
Polycarbonate for the fence
The fence must be durable and, as a rule, hide the inner territory from prying eyes. In this regard, the most commonly used cellular polycarbonate. It has the following advantages:
- Flexibility. This plays a role during installation, as well as softens physical impacts;
- Strength. If stones, hail or other hard objects hit, cellular polycarbonate will not crack. In the case of penetration of one or several layers, proportionate holes will remain, which will be easily repaired. In addition, polycarbonate does not burn;
- Practicality. Color material does not need to be painted, it does not fade in the sun;
- Affordable price;
- Rich selection of color options.
As for thickness, it is selected individually, depending on various factors. Including the area of sheets: the more polycarbonate sheets you use, the thicker the material should be.
Thus, in the construction of fences, greenhouses, sheds, arbors, the best option is cellular polycarbonate, which has great versatility and practicality, as well as relatively low cost.
Now that you know the basic criteria for selecting high-quality polycarbonate, you will not have any problems in order to build a solid and durable building in the country.