How to cut polycarbonate and how best to fix it

Drilling holes

Conventional drills are suitable for drilling, but holes must be made between the stiffeners and at least 4 cm from the edge of the panel. The size of the holes should be 1-2 mm larger than the diameter of the self-tapping screws to create a temperature gap.

note!
When installing long sheets exceeding 6 meters, you need to pull the size of the holes along the length so that they turn out to be oval.

The drilling angle must be perpendicular, otherwise it will not work exactly to fix the self-tapping screw with the washer. In this case, the tightness is broken, the attachment point will be unreliable, and the thermal insulation will deteriorate.

Layout of sheets

Stiffening ribs in cellular polycarbonate are located along the length of the sheet, therefore, when fastening, they must be positioned in such a way that the channels exit outward. This is necessary to drain the resulting condensation inside. That is, on vertical walls, the stiffeners should be vertical, on arches along the bend of the arc.

Modern polycarbonate is made with a special protective film, on which the manufacturer’s markings and logos are usually indicated. A layer with such a film must be laid out. It is better to remove it after fixing the polycarbonate to the greenhouse.

Also, when mounting on arched structures, the maximum permissible values ​​of sheet bending set by the manufacturer must not be exceeded.

The advantages of polycarbonate

Like any material, polycarbonate has both pros and cons.

  • Its main advantages include:
  • Flexibility and impact resistance. about 20 times better than glass.
  • This material is non-combustible and has good thermal insulation due to closed air cells.
  • The optimum ratio of price and quality. The average price for a 4 mm sheet of 2106000 cm is 1500-1800 rubles.
  • He is not afraid of moisture, high and low temperatures, sudden changes in humidity.
  • This material is lightweight, so you will not have any problems how to fix the polycarbonate greenhouse to the ground. A simple foundation or a wooden frame nailed to the ground on a long reinforcement is enough.

The main disadvantage of this material is:

  • Low abrasion resistance, easy to scratch.
  • It is also destroyed by ultraviolet rays, so to avoid this, manufacturers protect it with a special film.
  • During installation, it is necessary to take into account the presence of a thermal gap, so that during temperature changes, the casing can freely expand and contract.
polycarbonate, best

Colored honeycomb polycarbonate

Docking panels

For the correct joining of polycarbonate to each other, you need to use special accessories profiles.

  • Simple connecting profile for connecting two panels. In this case, the profile itself is not attached to the crate.
  • The split connecting profile allows 2 panels to be connected and fixed to the battens.
  • The end profile is needed to seal the end part of the panels.
  • The wall profile allows sealing the ends and fixing the edge of the panel to the wall.
  • Corner profile. for mounting perpendicular corners.
  • Ridge profile. for creating a joint on gable roofs of various angles.

Instructions for attaching polycarbonate to the greenhouse are shown in the video in this article:

  • Between the polycarbonate sheet and the metal, annealing must be done from heat-insulating tape.
  • A compound connecting profile is used for attachment to the greenhouse frame. First, its lower part, the so-called base, is screwed to the frame, and then the panel is inserted into it. Before that, you need to remove the lower protective film, and peel back the layer of the upper film by 10 cm so that it does not interfere with the installation.
  • If the fastening takes place at the edge, then from its extreme part close to the composite profile you need to install the end or wall profile.
  • Then you need to secure the top of the composite profile by simply snapping into the base. A temperature gap of 3 mm must be left between the profile and the panel.
  • For wall mounting, a wall profile is used. It is put on the end of the panel, and its second part is attached to the wall with a sealant.
  • Immediately after completion of installation on the greenhouse, you need to completely remove the protective film, otherwise it will stick to it even more.
  • When installing arched surfaces, the length of the profile should be greater than that of the panels, since their size may differ. Surplus is cut off after installation.

Correct fastening with self-tapping screws

Cutting

The sheet cutting process is one of the main ones, because this material is usually supplied in the form of long sheets. Their standard size: width 210 cm, length 6 or 12 m.

The cutting process itself is very simple, for this you can use an ordinary hacksaw or a power tool: jigsaw, circular saw. Protective film will keep the surface from scratches during cutting.

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After cutting off the desired sheet, you should carefully remove all the shavings from the internal cavities, it is best to use a vacuum cleaner for this. This is to prevent condensation from accumulating inside.

Fastening panels

Fastening polycarbonate to a metal greenhouse frame can be done in two ways:

  • With a self-tapping screw with a washer and a sealing gasket.
  • With a thermal washer.

Externally, the thermal washer looks like a mushroom cap and consists of two parts: a sealing and a plastic upper. In the center, it has a through hole for a self-tapping screw head. In addition, the plastic foot, which is matched to the thickness of the coating, prevents the bolt from being overtightened.

After fastening the self-tapping screw, a special cap is put on it, which hides it. Thus, the self-tapping screw is protected from the external environment and the cold bridge is removed. You can see its structure on

How to fix polycarbonate to a wooden greenhouse? This is done in exactly the same way, the difference with the metal frame is only in the screws used. In this case, it is better to use ordinary roof washers for this, since they are cheaper than thermal washers.

For metal, self-tapping screws with a drill tip are usually taken, and for wood with a sharp end. They should be 4.2 mm in diameter with a press washer. For fastening to a tree, a screw length of 25 mm will be sufficient, and for flat metal profiles. 13 mm. Fastening should be every 30-40 cm.

note!
When screwing in self-tapping screws, do not rigidly fasten them, overtighten or use nails, rivets, unsuitable washers for fastening.

Cell sealing

Before attaching polycarbonate to the greenhouse frame, you need to carefully seal its ends. The upper end must be sealed with ordinary self-adhesive tape. From below you need to stick the tape, and make holes in it for the condensate to exit.

Panel sealing

How to attach polycarbonate to the greenhouse correctly: basic rules

Cellular polycarbonate is a modern material that is widely used for covering greenhouses. It allows you to quickly and inexpensively obtain reliable light-transmitting walls.

In this article, we will tell you how to properly attach polycarbonate to a greenhouse.

Polycarbonate greenhouse

How and what to attach polycarbonate to metal and wood?

When all the preparatory work is completed, you need to start the process of installing the structure, which is a competent fastening of polycarbonate.

There are 2 common ways of attaching polycarbonate sheets:

  • With thermal washers
  • Using profiles

Fastening polycarbonate with thermal washers

For thermal washers, you need to make holes in the polycarbonate sheets a couple of millimeters wider than the diameter of each thermal washer. The plastic structure on the short leg should fit snugly into the hole and snap into place. Its length is equal to the thickness of the panel.

The thermal washer must have a rubber seal, which makes it possible for additional fixation and does not allow moisture and dust to pass through. This method of installation can provide a tight retention of polycarbonate with washers, which will expand under thermal loads and prevent the sheets from changing their shape. This method of fastening is called point.

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Fastening polycarbonate with metal profiles

Such an installation assumes that polycarbonate sheets will be inserted into a metal profile, and then the finished structure will be installed where necessary. This method is convenient when the panels are stacked in several rows and need to be joined.

The edges of the panels in the profile must be fixed with self-tapping screws or the same thermal washers. Most often, with the help of profiles, panels can be fixed, which should become the edges of the structure, and the middle can be mounted using a point fixing.

The profile can be:

  • Detachable
  • Non-detachable
  • Docking
  • Special (it is necessary to connect panels where the configuration of the frame changes)
  • Angular
  • Stenov

In all cases, polycarbonate sheets in the profile should “go” no more than 20 millimeters.

All the above methods of fixing polycarbonate are also called dry. But the “wet” method assumes that the sheets must be attached to the frames or to each other using polymer putty. After that, all joints from the inside are treated with a sealant.

The method of attaching polycarbonate should be chosen based on what tasks are assigned to the structure and how easy it will be to mount it. And subject to all the rules, it should turn out to be strong and beautiful.

What you need to know before starting installation?

Polycarbonate resembles glass in appearance. However, its apparent transparency still serves as a good protection from direct sunlight. This monolithic material has good flexibility, but is very strong and quite lightweight. Operating temperature of polycarbonate from. 40 to 120 degrees Celsius.

Polycarbonate is divided into two types:

  • Monolithic. This is practically glass, only lighter and stronger
  • Cellular. It is a hollow, but multi-layer structure with longitudinal stiffeners

Before purchasing polycarbonate, it is advisable to determine as accurately as possible with its dimensions. This will make it much easier to fit the sheets. And also you should be prepared for the fact that the installation of polycarbonate, if you imagine it step by step, looks like this:

  • Collate sheets (orientation)
  • Cutting plates of the desired shape and size
  • Hole preparation for fasteners
  • Sealing seams
  • Assembly of all structural elements

It is also worth considering the fact that polycarbonate can deform due to increased thermal load. This is especially important to know before making a polycarbonate greenhouse with your own hands, attaching polycarbonate to the greenhouse, roof or canopy, which will be located mainly under the scorching sun.

Worth knowing! 2.5 millimeters per meter is the standard expansion rate of transparent polycarbonate honeycomb, and for colored plates this figure is 4.5 millimeters per 1 meter.

When installing in summer in the heat, the panels must be installed close to, including to the docking profile lock. Lowering the temperature will reduce the polycarbonate and the required gap will appear between the profile lock and the sheet, which will provide additional moisture waste.

When working with cellular polycarbonate, the main thing is to correctly arrange the sheets, taking into account the stiffeners. Installation of the panel must be carried out so that the internal channels of the stiffeners have an exit to the outside. This will drain the condensation that will form inside the sheet. Is it possible to mount polycarbonate horizontally?

It is important! When designing a greenhouse, the sheets must be placed vertically (the stiffeners must be perpendicular to the surface). If the installation of pitched surfaces is to be done, then the edges must be located along the slopes. For arched installation, the ribs should be placed in the direction of the arc.

It is worth paying attention to whether the manufacturer has made one of the sides of the polycarbonate external. If yes, then such a side has a special protective layer that can be removed after the sheet is fixed.

When working with cellular polycarbonate, you must take into account the maximum bending radius of the material, which is indicated for each type of panel separately.

Accurate measurements will help you get the right amount of material, which is enough for high-quality fastening.

Given the correct location of the panels relative to their stiffening ribs, it is worth preparing a drawing with measurements of the required number of polycarbonate plates. Then you need to start cutting a large blade.

A high speed circular saw is fine for cutting. It is best to carry out the work with carbide discs with undiluted fine teeth.

Attention! Polycarbonate sheets should not be handled during cutting. Strong vibration can result in human injury or poor quality cut. It is best to put the panels on a flat, hard surface and fix it securely, even with a vice. And the cut line after work must be cleaned of shavings.

Holes in polycarbonate

It is necessary to drill holes in the cellular polycarbonate between the stiffening ribs (this will not interfere with the drainage of condensate). Work must be done before mounting. It is best to drill with an electric drill with metal drills.

This process only needs to be done for honeycomb panels. At the ends located on top, you need to fix the self-adhesive tape. The lower ends cannot be sealed.

If you decide to make a polycarbonate greenhouse, then keep in mind that you need to process the polycarbonate greenhouse in the fall. This is to reduce the risk of crop disease.

By the way, it is not for nothing that polycarbonate is used in the manufacture of greenhouses. This material perfectly transmits light and at the same time is resistant to high temperatures. Read about other cellular polycarbonate specifications here. This material is characterized by high strength.

How to fix polycarbonate correctly: a detailed guide

A polymer material that has thermoplastic properties is usually presented in the form of sheets. Despite the different colors, it is transparent. In everyday life, it is called polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is intended for arranging greenhouses, sheds, as well as verandas. You can also make a polycarbonate canopy over the porch. It is believed that there can be nothing difficult in working with it, nevertheless, there are still some features.

How to properly attach polycarbonate to the greenhouse frame so that the coating does not crack, buckle or burst. How to choose mounts for polycarbonate.

Rules for fixing monolithic polycarbonate

To resolve the issue of how to properly attach polycarbonate to metal, several methods are used.

Varieties of thermal washers

Fastening polycarbonate to metal is carried out with different types of thermal washers. These fasteners can differ in the following ways:

  • Design features make it possible to highlight individual and universal thermo washers. In the first case, the element has a length in accordance with the thickness of the sheet, which prevents the polycarbonate from being pinched or deformed. The second option does not have a leg, therefore, it can be used for material of any thickness.
  • Depending on the material of manufacture, the fasteners can be made of stainless steel (to cover large areas), polycarbonate (ensure tightness of the connection without damaging the panel), polypropylene (for working indoors or in the shade).
  • Mini washers are used for lightweight panels.

Polycarbonate Cutting Tools

It is best to cut polycarbonate with special tools:

  • Panels no more than 1 cm thick are cut with a construction knife. However, with large volumes of work, it is better not to use such a tool.
  • The most readily available tool is a jigsaw.
  • If it is possible to purchase a high-speed saw with an emphasis, then you should pay attention to the teeth of the blade. They should be shallow, undiluted and coated with a hard alloy.
  • When cutting polycarbonate with a band saw, it is also necessary to know the relevant parameters. It is allowed to use a tape no more than 2 cm wide and no more than 1.5 mm thick. Teeth should be spaced no more than 3.5 mm and cutting speed should not exceed 1000 meters per minute.
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Before cutting, the polycarbonate sheet should be firmly fixed to avoid vibration. Cutting chips must be removed immediately.

Hole drilling rules

Let’s figure out how to drill polycarbonate and how to do it correctly. Holes in polycarbonate should be drilled between the stiffeners. The distance from the edge must be at least twice the diameter of the drill.

The hole drilling conditions are as follows:

  • The sharpening of the drill should have an angle of 30 0.
  • Drilling holes must be strictly at right angles at a speed of no more than 40 m / min.
  • The hole diameter must be selected so that it exceeds the corresponding parameter of the fastener by 3 mm.
  • Work should be interrupted periodically to remove the generated chips and cool the drill.

Types of profiles and their purpose

  • End profiles protect the polycarbonate edges, with the short shelf always located outside.
  • Connecting profiles can be detachable universal or solid H-shaped. They are designed to join the edges of the panels. It is important to remember that only split profiles can be attached to the frame.
  • Corner profile allows you to connect elements at right angles.
  • The wall profile makes it possible to tightly adhere the panel to the wall. Can be used as an end profile.
  • The ridge profile is necessary to connect the panels on the roof ridge, provided that the elements are connected at an angle greater than 90 0.

The process of sealing the ends of the sheet

During storage and transportation of polycarbonate, the manufacturer protects the ends of the sheets with temporary tape, which must be removed before sealing.

The upper edges of the material are sealed with adhesive aluminum tape; perforated tape is used to seal the lower ends. If the ends are not inserted into the groove or profile, then they are closed over the tape with an end profile. At the same time, holes must be made in the lower profile at a distance of 30 cm from each other, through which condensate will drain.

Arched-type structures assume sealing of all edges by analogy with the bottom end.

Panel fixing materials

To solve the problem of how to attach polycarbonate to metal, you need to use the following:

  • Various types of profile, including end, corner, connecting, wall and ridge.
  • Fasteners in the form of thermal washers and mini-washers.
  • Different types of plugs.
  • Adhesive tape for ends including perforated tape for bottom edges.
  • Profile seals.

Varieties of fasteners for attaching polycarbonate to metal

Point fastening for polycarbonate to the metal frame is performed using thermal washers. The distance between the fasteners should not exceed 30-40 cm.

This method has one drawback, inside the room the appearance may not be very attractive. This is due to a mismatch between the connecting profiles and the frame.

Profile fastening implies fixing aluminum or polycarbonate connecting profiles to a metal frame, into which the panels are subsequently inserted. In this case, you need to know how polycarbonate is attached to metal.

The disadvantage of this method can be called the exit of the panel from the grooves with an increased load on the polycarbonate surface.

Mixed polycarbonate mounting involves the use of both options in order to compensate for their shortcomings.

How to cut polycarbonate at home: all methods and rules for cutting

General recommendations

When choosing how to cut monolithic polycarbonate or its hollow analogue, you need to pay attention to the thickness of the material and the shape of the cut lines. It is most convenient to divide thin sheets with a knife, perform straight cuts with an angle grinder or circular, and rounded cuts with an electric jigsaw.

If polycarbonate has a mirror or laminated coating, it must be turned with the decorative side up when marking and sawing. The protective film is not removed until the end of the work in any case.

If you need to make a round or curly hole in the sheet, it is first drilled through with a metal drill. The drill should enter the material near the scribe line inside the shape to be cut and pass between the inner baffles. Then a jigsaw file or a thin sharp knife is inserted into the resulting hole, with which the whole figure is cut.

The elements of the cellular coating are fastened to the frame with self-tapping screws with special thermal washers made of polycarbonate or silicone with a foam gasket and a cap for the fastener cap. They tightly seal the mounting holes, preventing moisture and dust from entering them. To avoid the appearance of cracks, holes for self-tapping screws are pre-drilled, retreating from the edge by 3-4 cm.

Electric jigsaw

If a whole arsenal of different tools can be used for direct cutting, then how to cut cellular polycarbonate or a thick monolithic sheet in a circle or other curly mowing line remains a question. An electric jigsaw is most suitable for this work, since its thin file goes through any bends freely and does not get jammed between the blades.

But not any file is suitable, but only with small and frequent teeth, not spread apart, but located in the same plane. Adjustable large teeth perfectly cut wood, the structure of which is very different from plastic. Such a file will tear it, and instead of a clean cut, you will get a jagged edge.

  • After marking the canvas, it is laid on supports made of boards to provide a gap under the cut line and reduce vibration. If the line is curved, the canvas will have to be moved periodically, temporarily stopping work.
  • A suitable file, preferably a new one, is installed in the jigsaw and well fixed to avoid vibration.
  • On the edge of the polycarbonate at the beginning of the mowing line, a cut is made with a sharp knife.
  • After turning on the tool, the file is inserted into the notch strictly vertically so that the base plates of the jigsaw are tightly pressed against the surface of the sheet.
  • Holding the tool in this position and trying not to press hard on the blade so as not to bend it, they lead the cut along the mowing line, moving forward from themselves.

Advice! Before starting work, picking up this or that tool for the first time, it is advisable to practice on unnecessary pieces, especially if you want to cut out elements of curvilinear shapes.

If the material is thin, and you need several of the same parts, you can fasten several sheets at once with clamps, placing thick cardboard under the sponges, and cut the entire stack. Serrations and other irregularities can be cut with a sharp knife.

On our website you can find contacts of construction companies that specialize in the design and installation of winter gardens for a private house. You can communicate directly with representatives by visiting the exhibition of houses “Low-rise Country”.

As you can see, straight cuts with a knife along the rail are quick and easy; any other tool will take more time. But if you need to obtain curly elements or process thicker canvases, it is better to choose another method.

However, answering the question of what is better to cut polycarbonate for an arch-type greenhouse, experts also recommend a knife. To do this, the assembled frame of the end part is laid under a polycarbonate sheet, aligned along the straight lower edge of the canvas and an arch is cut out, pressing the blade against the arc.

When using an angle grinder, small plastic sawdust formed during cutting gets into the combs of the material. They become electrified, stick to the walls and spoil the appearance of the finished part. They must be removed before putting the end profile on the edge. This is done using a vacuum cleaner or a compressor with compressed air.

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You can wash out debris from the channels with a strong pressure of water, directing the jet to the end of the canvas. But you have to wait until it pours out and completely evaporates from the channels, and only then start installation work.

What are we going to cut

The synthetic polymer material polycarbonate is prized for its properties such as transparency, flexibility, light weight and strength. The latest indicators distinguish it favorably from glass, which was the reason for the massive use of the material as its more practical analogue.

Polycarbonate is available in two types:

  • monolithic, which is a solid sheet of different thicknesses;
  • cellular, with stiffening ribs between two or more layers of sheet material. Hollow cells or honeycombs are formed between the ribs, thanks to which this polycarbonate is called “honeycomb”. Depending on the number of continuous layers, the material can have from one to five air chambers.

The better to cut polycarbonate depends on its type, thickness, as well as on the complexity and size of the cut parts. It is clear that it is much easier to cut along a straight mowing line than along a curved one. But there are situations when you need to make a groove or a figured hole in the whole sheet. For each specific case, you should select the right tool.

Saw or scissors

Some craftsmen, as a rule, also use a file and scissors. Perhaps you can use this handy tool for cutting polycarbonate. If only it does not violate the structure of polycarbonate and does not affect the correctness of the technology of its installation.

So, than cutting polycarbonate, I think we figured it out, let’s now look at how to do it.

How to cut polycarbonate and how to do it correctly

How and how to cut polycarbonate? This question is asked by almost every second visitor to our site. Let’s take a look at what tools and skills are needed for this.

Over the years working with the beautiful material called polycarbonate, I have certainly tried different tools to cut it. And today I would like to highlight a few of them especially valuable and often used.

Earlier, I wrote about how to cut a sheet of polycarbonate. And at the time of this writing, I used exactly the tools that I indicated in it. But time, like technology, does not stand still. Of course, I had to try quite a few tools. And today, I will talk about more reliable tools and methods for cutting polycarbonate.

Cut polycarbonate with a jigsaw?

The second tool is a jigsaw. The most common household jigsaw. The file on it should be with fine teeth, so that the carbonate is cut and not torn. This tool is easy to use and does not require any special training skills. But still, for greater confidence, you can also pre-train. They can cut polycarbonate in places where the angle grinder will be difficult to do.

For example, using a jigsaw is very convenient to cut fillets or cut complex decorative shapes. For even cuts, I do not recommend using a jigsaw as it takes more time to cut than an angle grinder.

Angle Grinder

So, the first tool is an angle grinder. Yes, yes, this is not a typo. Of course, I use an angle grinder, under the 125th circle for metal, in order to cut polycarbonate evenly. That is, in order to make any even cut, I recommend using a small angle grinder. Even the cheapest will do. It withstands the load on sawing sheets with interest.

The only thing that is required is a little skill in working with this tool, since it is a highly revolving tool and if you use it inexperienced, you can spoil the sheet. It is advisable to pre-train on some polycarbonate waste. You can find waste from any master who is engaged in the installation of polycarbonate.

Stationery knife

And the third tool that I often use is a stationery knife, preferably of good quality. With him, I think any beginner in this business can handle. The main thing is not to rush when working with a knife, since the blades of this tool are very sharp and you can easily get injured.

With a stationery knife, of course, you can easily cut cellular polycarbonates 4-6 mm, slightly more difficult polycarbonate 8 mm. By the way, I would not recommend cutting thick polycarbonate with a knife. There is a good chance that the panels could be damaged. Perhaps, I use a knife in cases where it is necessary to cut a small section of the sheet, so to speak, adjust it to size.

What is the best way to cut polycarbonate?

How to properly cut polycarbonate

Let’s take a step-by-step look at how to properly cut a polycarbonate sheet:

  • We clear the area for the polycarbonate sheet (s). We remove stones and foreign objects that can leave traces on the panels. Ideally, it is better to pave the site with sheets of fiberboard, chipboard, or you can use CSS.
  • We make the necessary markup on the panel with a marker using a wire or any even object. If necessary, we move around the panels using a wide board (moving along it with our feet) so as not to make dents on the plastic surface.
  • Before cutting the polycarbonate, place it under the panels on both sides of the whiteboard markings, at least 40x100x2200. On top of the panel, on one of the boards placed below, we put another board on top (at least 20x100x2200), in order to move along it during cutting.
  • If you need to cut along a flat mowing line, then we use an angle grinder. If a round or curly cutting is required, we use a jigsaw, and for a slight adjustment of the sheets, we use a clerical knife.
  • With an even cut along the entire sheet, that is, along the honeycomb, the use of a marker is not required. As a rule, you can safely cut along the honeycombs themselves with an angle grinder, with a jigsaw or a knife, since the honeycombs themselves in this case will serve as a guide for cutting. This must be done in order not to trample on polycarbonate sheets once again.
  • Of course, after sawing, chips and dust must be removed by blowing with compressed air.

So in this article we figured out how to cut polycarbonate, and most importantly, how to properly cut polycarbonate sheets.

In conclusion, I would like to remind you of one more important thing, as you know “we mark seven times, cut once”. So, do not forget this wisdom, because polycarbonate sheets are not a cheap pleasure, and their damage will be a pretty penny.

Yes, I almost forgot, when cutting with an angle grinder or jigsaw, be sure to wear safety glasses. They will undoubtedly protect you from dust and microparticles getting into your eyes. Well, that seems to be all. Good luck in this difficult, but necessary business!