The most popular roofing material for arbors, greenhouses and verandas is cellular polycarbonate. And not in vain, because he copes with this task very well. A polycarbonate roof provides excellent light transmission and provides reliable protection against precipitation.
Positive qualities of polycarbonate
Perhaps it is difficult to find material that has only positive qualities. There are no perfect products. And this reinforced plastic is not an exception to the rule.
Of the positive qualities, the following can be noted:
- Lightness and durability. Due to the honeycomb structure, even 24 mm of the thickness of this material, together with the crate (cell size 75x150 cm), cellular polycarbonate can withstand a load of up to 200 kg per 1 m2. This margin of safety is enough to withstand winter snowfalls and icing.
- Low thermal conductivity. The honeycomb structure forms cavities filled with air. They create air insulation inside the material. As in double-glazed windows. In addition to this, the plastic itself has lower thermal conductivity than glass. This property allows you to successfully use this material for the construction of greenhouses.
- Good optical properties. Polycarbonate panels can be painted in various colors. And depending on the color, 11 to 85% of the sun's rays are transmitted. In addition to this, it is able to scatter light. Does not pass ultraviolet.
- High degree of safety and impact resistance. Due to its ability to withstand significant shock loads, 200 times the characteristics of glass, this type of plastic is used to make protective and armored anti-vandal glasses. Even if the material breaks, it does not form sharp fragments. Therefore, it is used with pleasure for the construction of public transport stops. In addition, polycarbonate also has high fire safety.
- Large, easy to use sizes. For the construction of glass roofs and canopies, it is required to create numerous separate frames. Or use pretty tricky suspension mechanisms and mounts. Otherwise, the appearance of the structure suffers. Unlike glass, cellular plastic does not create such an inconvenience. The overall dimensions of polycarbonate sheets can reach 1200 x 105 cm. And this is with 44 kg of weight for 24-mm sheet thickness.
- Ease of installation work. Due to its low weight, sufficient strength and large size, no team of assistants is required for the installation of a polycarbonate roof. Just one master who knows his job is enough.
- Heat resistance. This material "feels good" at temperatures in the range from -40 to +120 degrees.
- Affordable prices.
- Ease of handling.
When choosing this material, one must take into account the fact that a large hail can penetrate the polycarbonate roof. Although at present, manufacturers have learned to deal with this problem with a protective film coating.
Another significant drawback is that this plastic has a high coefficient of thermal expansion.
The next minus is that the surface of the plastic is easily scratched.
Polycarbonate roof rafters
Despite the fact that polycarbonate is a fairly lightweight material, it is nevertheless worth considering and constructing a supporting structure for it. The lathing is made of a thin profile. You can use a square cross-section of 20 x 20 mm or 20 x 40 mm. Usually this is quite enough for the roof to gain the necessary strength.
The arched shape of the roof significantly increases the rigidity of the structure and allows you to withstand more significant loads. This feature is fully used when using polycarbonate. A 16 mm honeycomb sheet laid on an arched structure with a pitch of 125 cm, with a radius of curvature of 240 cm, does not require the construction of a crate. Only guides of separate arched supports connected among themselves are enough.
When designing rafters for a polycarbonate roof, you need to remember that the slope for the slope should be 45˚ or more. The optimal parameter is the angle of the rafters 50˚.
Features of polycarbonate installation
Polycarbonate sheets are attached to the rafters, so their pitch should correspond to the parameters of the sheets.
In order to prevent dust and other impurities from accumulating in the polycarbonate cavities, as well as to isolate from the cold winter air, the ends of the sheets must be sealed with silicone. If possible, you can use special plugs. Thus, you can get a wonderful seal and thermal insulation of the material, bringing its performance closer to the glass.
Sheets are attached to rafters and supporting structures by self-tapping screws and press washers.
During installation, it is worth considering the ability of plastic to expand in the heat. Therefore, expansion joints are provided. They are performed at the joints of individual plates and are almost invisible. It is enough to leave a gap of about 5 mm between the sheets. Sometimes such seams do more, as a result of which they also perform a decorative function, creating elegant roof reliefs.
We have already noted the fact that the surface of the plastic is easily damaged. Therefore, you need to cut the sheets very carefully, making sure that the protective shockproof film remains intact.
With a sharp polycarbonate grinder copes and a jigsaw with a fine tooth file. When working with a jigsaw, its platform, touching the material, is glued with soft material. This will save the surface of the sheet from unwanted damage.
Due to its unique properties, cellular polycarbonate is an excellent solution in the manufacture of roofs, canopies and greenhouses. The main thing is to correctly design the roof structure and take into account the characteristics of the material.
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