What is Polycarbonate and Where can It be Used?

Whether you’re looking to expand your home by building a conservatory, carport, or greenhouse, it’s likely that you’re looking for a tough, lightweight, and cost-effective glazing solution. Whilst we’re all familiar with the many benefits of glass, polycarbonate is a fantastic alternative that boasts increased durability at a lower cost.

We’re often asked, “What is Polycarbonate?” by our customers, and that’s exactly the question we’re going to answer here in this blog. We’re going to explore the key benefits of polycarbonate roofing sheets to help you make the right decision for your project. We’ll also outline which applications are best suited for polycarbonate of glazing and which thickness of polycarbonate you’ll need.

What is Polycarbonate and Where can It be Used?

Put simply, polycarbonate is a tough thermoplastic that is used in a myriad of ways. Unlike most other plastics, it has the ability to absorb heat, which makes it incredibly energy efficient and a fantastic insulator. Polycarbonate is also lightweight, making it easy to work with on-site. A highly sustainable material, polycarbonate can even be melted down, cooled, and reused – limiting unnecessary waste in landfills. Plus, it is highly resistant to high temperatures and UV light, preventing warping or discoloration in the sun. Thanks to these superb advantages, this material has almost unlimited applications, but polycarbonate roofing can be installed on:

  • Conservatories
  • Carports
  • Greenhouses
  • Sheds
  • Lean-tos
  • Cloches
  • Canopies

Polycarbonate sheets can also be used for many other glazing applications, including sports shelters, bike racks, security barriers and more. There really are few materials more versatile.

Benefits of Polycarbonate

All polycarbonate roofing sheets will provide homeowners with a variety of benefits. These include their light weight, durability, insulative properties and safety. When combined, these benefits make polycarbonate a fantastic glazing option and a brilliant solution for many projects.


Weight will always be a key consideration when choosing a roofing system. Whilst the weight of polycarbonate per square metre will depend on your chosen thickness, it’s significantly lighter than glass and most other roofing systems. For example, 10mm polycarbonate weighs around 4.5kg per square metre. This is less than half the weight of glass, which for the same thickness would weigh around 9.3kg. Not only does this mean polycarbonate is far easier to work with and install, but it’s also highly unlikely you’ll need to make any significant changes to your building’s structure to support it. What’s more, you can also use equally light glazing bars as part of a complete polycarbonate roofing system, including those manufactured from PVC and aluminium.


Few materials boast polycarbonate’s fantastic impact resistance. There’s no need to worry about chips or cracks caused by hailstorms or falling debris. Plus, unlike PVC, polycarbonate is highly resistant to UV light, and will not be discoloured or warped by exposure to the sun. Most polycarbonate roofing sheets also have extremely high thermal resistance, able to withstand temperatures of up to 135°C. Polycarbonate is so durable in fact, that leading suppliers such as AXIOME and Corotherm offer 10-year guarantees as standard.


Multiwall polycarbonate sheets in particular offer exceptional levels of thermal insulation, boasting lower u-values than many alternatives. Not only will a polycarbonate roof keep heat in during the winter, it will make the space below cooler in summer. Offering a comfortable space all year-round.


Millions of homeowners across Britain have chosen polycarbonate roofs due to their increased safety in comparison to glass. Polycarbonate is virtually immune to breaking or shattering, making it far safer for homes with children or where glazing is fitted at a lower height. Its light weight also makes it far safer and easier to work with, which is especially important when working at height, such as for a lean-to or conservatory roof.