Plastic versus glass skylights

Published: 22nd March 2010
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Skylights may be made of plastic or glass. So, what are the comparative merits of each type?

Plastic may be used for the glazing material or for the entire skylight. Plastic skylights have several unique advantages. For one thing, plastic is highly flexible. Therefore, it is possible to make the entire skylight out of a single piece of plastic. Plastic can even be made to overlap underlying frames. This greatly helps in curbing any leakages and thereby limits maintenance expenses.

Another important advantage of plastic skylights is their safety quotient. Plastic is shatter proof. Glass skylights are vulnerable to heavy weights or sudden impacts. They are also much heavier than plastic skylights. Thus they pose a safety hazard to people who are living in extreme weather conditions.

Plastic skylights have a very long lifespan. Generally, the efficiency and lifespan depends on the type of plastic used. Glazing materials usually used include acrylic materials which are UV resistant or polycarbonate materials which are sturdier and longer lasting.

Plastic skylights radiate less heat than glass. This keeps rooms cooler during those times when the heat and light from the sun is at its peak. Plastic skylights come in a variety of attractive colors although colorless is the most popular choice in most cases.

For the average homeowner, plastic skylights are all the more attractive because they are much cheaper and lighter than glass skylights.

However, plastic skylights do have a number of disadvantages. They are not as energy efficient as some types of glass skylights. This is mainly because most glass skylights come equipped with a protective solar coating that allows up to 65% reduction in heat build-up. This protective coating is not present in plastic skylights.

The lifespan of plastic skylights is unpredictable. But, most glass skylights are made of tempered glass on the outside and are laminated on the inside. This is what allows manufacturers to provide a warranty for glass skylights. The same is not possible for plastic skylights. Since the life of plastic skylights is highly unpredictable, customers need to undertake a thorough research into it before they buy plastic skylights.

Another disadvantage of plastic skylights is their clarity. Plastic is prone to scratches and discoloration. Even in spite of the best care possible, plastic deteriorates in color and strength after a while. This happens due to oxidation which is the natural result of plastic being exposed to UV rays. Glass skylights look shiny and new even after years of use. Since plastic skylights are made from a single sheet of plastic, there are some serious limitations when it comes to shape and other design options.

Due to these disadvantages, plastic skylights are ideal for certain specific uses like attics, garages or rooms that are not frequently used.

Looking for more information on plastic skylights visit a popular website offering skylights for commercial and residential projects.

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