Acrylic vs Polycarbonate Skylights

Acrylic vs Polycarbonate

Acrylic and polycarbonate are both transparent polymers that are often used for windows and other applications that require a transparent material. They have different characteristics, including:
  • Appearance
    Acrylic is shinier and has a high-gloss finish, while polycarbonate can have a slight blue or gray tint. Acrylic also tends to stay "water" clear over time, while polycarbonate can yellow over time with exposure to UV rays.
  • Cost
    Acrylic is generally cheaper than polycarbonate.
  • Impact resistance
    Polycarbonate is more impact resistant than acrylic, and is about 250 times more impact resistant than glass, compared to acrylic's 10 times more impact resistant than glass.
  • Scratch resistance
    Acrylic is less likely to scratch than polycarbonate, but both can scratch, so abrasive cleaning solutions and rough sponges should be avoided.
  • Chemical resistance
    Polycarbonate is more resistant to chemicals than acrylic, and acrylic should not be cleaned with glass cleaners or ammonia-based sprays.
  • Flexibility
    Acrylic is more rigid than polycarbonate at room temperature, but both can be bent under heat. Polycarbonate can also be purchased in various flexible grades.
  • Light transmittance
    Acrylic has a slightly higher light transmittance than polycarbonate, at 92% compared to polycarbonate's 88%