How to cut polycarbonate roofing sheets
Many people seem to think that it is difficult to cut polycarbonate roofing panels. The trade know that actually it is a very simple process because the material is very forgiving.
Polycarbonate panels can be cut with power tools, but when using these any error you make can be exaggerated quickly ruining the sheet. We would recommend that you use a fine tooth had saw such as the one below that is 14ppi and designed for plastics.
On most roofing applications at least one of the polycarbonate roof panels would need to be trimmed to meet your requirements. As with most materials it is imperative to use the correct safety ware i.e eye protection and tools.
Step by step guide for cutting polycarbonate sheets
1. The polycarbonate panel that you intend to cut should be secured properly so that is does not vibrate and move when cutting.
2. The size required should marked on the cover film using a clearly visible marker, it is important that you measure accurately because once the material has been cut it cannot be joined together again. There is an old tradesman saying “measure twice, cut once” and we believe this to be the most important thing to bear in mind when undertaking any building work.
3. The marked line on the polycarbonate panel should be drawn using a straight rule, however if you are cutting the length of the sheet finding a rule this length is difficult. We have found that the aluminium of the glazing bars is often a good substitute to ensure a nice straight line is drawn.
4. The cover film on the polycarbonate panel should not be removed when cutting the sheet. It is important to remember that polycarbonate roof panels are normally only coated on one side with UV protection. This means that there is a correct and incorrect way up to install the panel, and when cutting panels this should be considered. The cover films will normally tell you which side is the protected UV side (external face) but by convention this is the side that has the cover film with writing on.
5. Once you have trimmed the polycarbonate roof panel to your desired size, you may find that there is some swarf that has entered the sheet, and this is more likely to happen with power tools than with the hand saw. This swarf will often cling to the sheet due to static charge and can be difficult to remove. Ideally these should be removed by using an air-compressor to blow them out of the polycarbonate panel, Other techniques include using a good strong vacuum, or even washing them through the sheet with water (this however causes its own problem in that you have to leave the sheet a long time to dry out to prevent condensation from forming inside the sheet later) . Often the swarf is of little problem as it will normally only enter the sheet a few centimetres and the sheets should overhang into the gutter by 5cm, meaning that this will then not be visible.
6. After cutting the sheet, the ventilation (breather) tape should be applied to the gutter end of the sheet and the aluminium tape to the top end of the polycarbonate panel, before the PVC sheet closures are applied.
Video showing how to cut polycarbonate roof panel
Watch this very early basic video showing how easy it is, and we know that the saw used here was old and more course than the one we recommend.
Buy polycarbonate roofing sheet
Being a specialist in the field of multiwall polycarbonate sheets ever since they were first introduced to the UK, C & A Building Plastics have the largest range and hold large stocks for you to buy, simply click on the image below to go to pick the sheets you need.