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What Is A Polycarbonate Roof

What Is A Polycarbonate Roof | 3D Printing Spot

Updated by

William Stone


October 6, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • A polycarbonate roof is a thermoplastic roof with excellent impact resistance and UV resistance used in construction applications.
  • The four primary polycarbonate roof types include twin-wall, multi-wall, solid, and corrugated polycarbonate roofs.
  • Polycarbonate roofs will last, on average, between 10-20 years, depending on maintenance and the environment.

Contractors are well aware of the benefits of a polycarbonate roof, but not many people know what it is and why it is beneficial.

A polycarbonate roof is a thermoplastic roof that provides excellent chemical resistance, impact resistance, UV resistance, and transparency. These roofs are for public or commercial applications. This roof can last 10-20 years, and the installation is faster and more lightweight.

After conversations with contractors and published research about polycarbonate science, we have compiled the analysis below. This guide intends to answer all questions about polycarbonate roofs.

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Table of Contents

What Is A Polycarbonate Roof?

A polycarbonate roof is built with durable, impact-resistant polycarbonate sheets. Polycarbonate, or PC (as commonly known), is a thermoplastic material used for some time in various applications.

It’s beneficial for making items, like bottles and other containers, because of its resistance to chemicals, impact strength, and transparency at UV wavelengths.

A polycarbonate roof is an extension of these properties; it's a roofing material made from polycarbonate resin and glass-fiber reinforcement.

It's impact-resistant, weatherproof, and widely used in construction. The plastic is combined with glass fibers to create a lightweight yet solid roofing material that’s UV resistant and suitable for almost any roofing application.

Polycarbonate roofing lasts longer and requires less maintenance than traditional roofing materials like asphalt shingles. With the right polycarbonate roofing material and installation process, you can expect your roof to last up to 10-20 years.

How Long Does A Polycarbonate Roof Last?

As mentioned in the previous section, polycarbonate roofing can last as long as 10-20 years when installed properly. Generally, a polycarbonate roof's lifespan largely depends on the type you choose.

It’s commonly used as a roof for greenhouses and conservatories because of its longevity and ability to keep a controlled temperature. After about ten years, it becomes less reliable in maintaining the temperature.

A solid polycarbonate roof will last longer than a multi-wall polycarbonate roof; a corrugated polycarbonate roof will last longer than a twin-wall polycarbonate roof.

Another primary complaint about a polycarbonate roof is its vulnerability to scratching.

Generally, the lifespan of a polycarbonate roof depends on many factors like the quality of the materials used, the type of climate, and how it's been maintained.

How Strong Is A Polycarbonate Roof?

Polycarbonate roofing is incredibly strong for several reasons. First and foremost, the material’s high impact resistance means it can withstand extreme weather conditions without breaking or bending.

Polycarbonate is unbreakable, with an impact strength 250 times more than acrylic. This includes a tensile strength of between 55–75 MPa

Also, the material is lightweight and easy to install, which means it can be used on almost any roof type, even curved roofs.

Because of its strength, polycarbonate roofing is used in various marine, aviation, sports, and automotive applications. It’s also used in applications where strength and impact resistance are necessary, like in the construction industry and mining equipment.

Are Polycarbonate Roofs Worth It?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of a polycarbonate roof let’s talk about why you might want one. The short answer is that they’re incredibly durable, lightweight, and energy-efficient.

Polycarbonate roofing is incredibly strong and impact resistant so that it won’t break easily from hail, high winds, or falling branches. A polycarbonate roof also doesn’t need to be replaced very often, which saves you time and money in the long run.

It is lightweight enough to be installed on curved roofs and structures, which is a plus for homeowners and contractors. Also, many polycarbonate roofing materials are highly energy-efficient, meaning your monthly utility bills will be lower.

Benefits Of A Polycarbonate Roof

A polycarbonate roof is an excellent option and before deciding on the right choice, consider the benefits first.


As we’ve already discussed, polycarbonate roofing is incredibly durable. The material is strong and impact-resistant, even if something falls on your roof.

A polycarbonate roof will last a long time, upwards of 30 years, if properly installed and maintained.


Although incredibly strong, polycarbonate roofing material is lightweight. This means it’s easy to install, even on lightweight structures like raised decks and patios.

The installation is easier to handle for contractors too. Despite this lightweight structure and easy installation, this is not the most widely used roof type yet.

Resistant to UV

Unlike asphalt roofs, which break down over time when exposed to UV rays, polycarbonate roofs don’t degrade. They’re resistant to UV rays, so you won’t have to worry about your roof looking old and worn.

Temperature Control

Some polycarbonate roofing materials are energy-efficient, which can help you save on your monthly utility bills. They also can do well to keep a maintained temperature for the first ten years.

Types Of Polycarbonate Roofing

When shopping for a polycarbonate roof, there are four types to consider. This includes a twin-wall, multi-wall, solid, and corrugated polycarbonate roof.

The main difference between these two types of polycarbonate roofing is that solid roofs are one-piece, while multiwall roofs consist of two interlocking panels.

Solid polycarbonate roofing is one piece of thick material that’s molded and extruded in one go. This type of roof is more expensive than the multiwall version but offers better insulation and fewer installation challenges.

Multiwall polycarbonate roofing consists of two interlocking panels with a thin layer of air between them. Below we list these roof types and what each one offers to help decide what works best.

Twin-wall Polycarbonate

The most common type of polycarbonate roofing is the twin-wall roofing system. It consists of two interlocking panels with a thin air layer. The panels are held together by a hidden interlocking groove barely visible from the ground.

Twin-wall polycarbonate roofing is a popular choice among homeowners because it’s lightweight, easy to install, and offers moderate insulation.

This type of roofing is suitable for various roof types, but it’s best suited for coverage over conservatories or walkways.

Multi-wall Polycarbonate

A multiwall polycarbonate roofing system is similar to a twin-wall roofing system but with one significant difference. It’s a robust plastic finish with 60% more thermal insulation coverage than other options like glass.

It has two panels with a thin layer of air between them. There are two main types of multiwall polycarbonate roofing: one-way and two-way.

Solid Polycarbonate

A solid polycarbonate roofing system is one solid piece of thick plastic. It’s heavier than the twin-wall and multi-wall designs but offers more insulation.

This type of roofing is suitable for more advanced construction projects. These polycarbonate sheets are more commonly used for roofing and architecture applications.

The thicker material makes for a more durable roof that will require less maintenance and cost more upfront. A solid polycarbonate roofing system is an excellent choice for homeowners looking for a durable and long-lasting roof.

Corrugated Polycarbonate

A corrugated polycarbonate roofing system is similar to a multiwall system, but the panels are corrugated rather than smooth. This type of roofing is designed to be lightweight and easy to install. It’s perfect for low-slope roofing, like a patio cover or carport.

The corrugated panels make for a striking roof design but are also very affordable. Corrugated polycarbonate roofing can be a good choice for the DIY homeowner on a budget.

However, the lightweight material does not offer as much insulation as the standard multiwall system.

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What Is A Polycarbonate Roof


William Stone

William Stone

William has spent 20 plus years in the custom manufacturing industry as a COO, CEO and Owner of various custom product businesses. His experience has exposed him to all types of manufacturing from die cast, die struck, injection molding, CNC machining, laser etching, engraving and of course 3D printing.

Learn more about William Stone

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