How to cut polycarbonate for a greenhouse
How long can polycarbonate be used in a greenhouse
The chemical industry invents new materials every year. Today it is impossible to imagine your life without plastic film, plastic, plastic. In the late eighties, a material such as polycarbonate was invented. It is made from environmentally friendly components.
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Polycarbonate is widely used in many areas of human life. It is used to make bus stops, telephone booths, banners, billboards, roofs for street cafes and restaurants. Allocate monolithic, cellular, optical polycarbonate.
Cellular polycarbonate plays a special role in agriculture. It is used to make year-round greenhouses in which a wide variety of plants can be grown. It is easy to maintain optimal climatic conditions inside such structures. Before building a polycarbonate greenhouse, every summer resident asks about the service life of the material.
Features of polycarbonate
The material is highly durable. It can withstand mechanical stress, snow masses, hail blows, sudden gusts of wind. Sheets are produced that have different thicknesses. The service life of polycarbonate in a greenhouse directly depends on the thickness of the sheet. If you are going to build a year-round structure, it is better to choose a sheet with a thickness of at least 6 mm.
Cellular polycarbonate is capable of transmitting only short ultraviolet radiation, which has a positive effect on the life cycle of plants. Condensed moisture cannot accumulate on the inner surface of the coating. The fact is that a high temperature is constantly maintained inside the greenhouse. Part of the liquid that is watered with crops evaporates and settles on the material.
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It negatively affects the service life of the polycarbonate. The plastic is highly resistant to combustion processes. Even under the influence of the maximum temperature, it does not burn, but melts. The service life of the material is several decades. It does not require special care conditions. It is enough to wipe it with soapy water as it gets dirty. It is best not to use aggressive detergents, as they can damage the coating.
Factors Affecting Polycarbonate Life
Firstly, the duration of use of the material depends on the correct transportation. Despite their considerable size, polycarbonate sheets are lightweight, so they can be transported in a car. However, it should be remembered that the material must only be transported in a horizontal position. Otherwise, the partitions between the cells inside the plastic may shift and deform the sheet. We must not forget that you should not roll polycarbonate sheets into a roll.
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This is only permissible when transporting over a short distance. Secondly, the service life depends on the correct storage of the material. If you decide to build a seasonal greenhouse, the material should be stored in a dark and dry place after disassembly. Direct sunlight can adversely affect the strength of the material. Thirdly, the operational period depends on the correct installation. A polycarbonate greenhouse can be easily made by hand. It is enough to know a few basic rules that will help you build a greenhouse correctly.
It is best to use an angle grinder to cut material. It is necessary to cut in the longitudinal direction, otherwise you will damage the cells. It is necessary to fasten the sheets together using thermal washers. They have special gaskets that prevent deformation of the structure. It is better to wrap the edges of polycarbonate with a soft cloth.
Cellular polycarbonate is an indispensable attribute in a modern greenhouse
Cellular polycarbonate is a transparent, durable material with excellent thermal insulation properties. It is the properties of the material that make it the ideal coating for both industrial and private greenhouses. Greenhouses covered with this material are distinguished by a long service life and ease of use.
Polycarbonate greenhouse assembly diagram.
There are many options for ready-made greenhouses produced in the factory. The structures of such greenhouses are already ready for installation and there is no need to adjust cellular polycarbonate on site. However, many owners of summer cottages prefer to independently build a greenhouse with such a cladding, since this allows not only to form greenhouses of any size, but also to reduce construction costs.
Polycarbonate fixing scheme: 1. TP-03 decorative cover; 2. TP-01 profile; 3. Seal TPU-01; 4. Polycarbonate; 5. Self-adhesive sealant; 6. Self-tapping screw; 7. Anti-dust tape; 8. End profile UP; 9. Substructure element.
When self-building greenhouses and other structures with such a coating, developers invariably face the problem of cutting the cladding material.
In some cases, it is required to cut the sheet parallel to the honeycomb lines, in other cases, it is required to make a cut perpendicular to the location of the honeycomb, for example, if the end part is formed on the greenhouse in the form of a semicircle or triangle.
In terms of cutting, polycarbonate is a very specific material and, despite the fact that it can be cut using different means, there are still some nuances, taking into account which, you can get an impeccable result.
In fact, there are several ways to cut cellular polycarbonate to form a coating in a home greenhouse while maintaining its integrity.
Cellular polycarbonate is cut using different means. For example, if the sheets are thin, up to 10 mm, they can be cut with a clerical knife.
If it is necessary to cut dense cellular polycarbonate, it is better to use a jigsaw. It is worth considering in more detail how and how to cut polycarbonate honeycomb, in order not only to get the desired sheet parameters, but also to preserve the integrity of the material.
How to properly cut polycarbonate sheets
Honeycomb polycarbonate cutting technology
A greenhouse and greenhouse intended for use during a warm period of time are usually covered with the thinnest sheet. The use of 10 mm polycarbonate makes it possible for future owners of a structure with such a coating to avoid spending on the purchase of a hand-held circular tool or a jigsaw, since such sheets can be easily cut with improvised means: a sharp knife or a stationery cutter. Before carrying out work, the material must be securely fixed or laid on a flat surface. In addition, you need to prepare the necessary tools:
If you have to make a cut parallel to the arrangement of honeycombs, then the task is greatly simplified, but first you need to make a mark.
If the requirements for the size of the future sheet allow, you can cut the sheet along the border of separation of two adjacent cells. If the cut-off part is required to pass in the border of the honeycomb, it is imperative to make markings in order to obtain an accurate cut.
You can use a hand circular tool, jigsaw, stationery cutter, or a sharp knife to cut polycarbonate sheets.
The points through which the cut will pass should be marked with a thin marker or cuts. The markup needs to be done on both sides of the sheet. Further, a long ruler is laid on the line of the future cut and an incision is made along it with a clerical cutter. To form a second cut on the reverse side of the sheet, it must be carefully turned over, and also make a cut using the existing markings using a ruler. Thus, you can get a smooth cut without burrs and punctures.
If you need to form a cut perpendicular to the location of the combs, for example, when cutting a semicircular shape, you can also use a clerical knife, but in this case, the marking will be somewhat more difficult. In order not to spoil the material with incorrect markings, it is best to first make a paper semicircular stencil of the desired size, and then attach it to the sheet.
Thus, the paper circle will serve the same role as the ruler. You need to cut polycarbonate with a knife along the contour of the paper semicircle, controlling the pressure.
In this case, you need to cut through the top layer first. The same manipulation is done on the back of the sheet. Next, you need to cut the honeycomb racks. This can be done again with a knife, cutting off the racks in a circle one by one. With this method of trimming, the possibility of chips is excluded, so the edges will turn out to be neat.
If you need to cut a denser cellular polycarbonate, it is best to use a jigsaw. In this case, the preparation of polycarbonate and its marking is carried out in the same way as when cutting with a clerical knife.
Greenhouse Build: Greenhouse walls almost complete /How I cut Polycarbonate panels
Preparation and marking of sheets
Before you start cutting polycarbonate for a greenhouse or any other structure, you must first carry out preparatory work and make the appropriate markings on the material.
The first step is to completely clean the place where you plan to cut the polymer material. All debris and excess items must be removed. This is necessary not for reasons of cleanliness, but so that nothing distracts from the process during work. After the surface is prepared, it is necessary to put a sheet of plywood or fiberboard on it. Only then can the cutting site be considered as flat as possible.
It is worth putting a sheet of polycarbonate on the workplace. In the event that the material has a laminated surface, a mirror or a special coating, then this side should look up. Until the material is cut, the protective film must remain in place.
Initially, the preliminary marking should be applied to a blank sheet of paper as a diagram with respect to scale. After that, you will need to transfer all the markup from the paper sheet to polycarbonate. For measurements at home, it is best to use a tape measure or a metal ruler. A black marker is used for marking. If you plan to work with large-sized polycarbonate, then many experts recommend putting a board with a width of 10 cm on the polymer material and moving only along it. This approach will eliminate damage to polycarbonate.
In the place where it is planned to cut the sheet, it is required to put wooden boards about 4 cm high and 10 cm wide on the right and left sides of the cut mowing line.In this case, the ends of the boards must necessarily look out from both sides of the polymer material.
Movement should be carried out on the board in the same way as at the time of drawing the corresponding markings. This is the only way not to damage the material, carrying out all the work at home.
How to cut polycarbonate at home
Tips & Tricks
When cutting monolithic or cellular polycarbonate, it is necessary to adhere to some very important recommendations, as a result of which the finished result will exceed all expectations:
- before you start cutting building material at home, it is recommended to first prepare the surface on which all work will be carried out. this is due to the fact that if the material lies on a foreign object or debris, then there is a high probability that it will be damaged;
- when using electrical tools, it is always worth remembering about personal safety measures, as a result of which protective glasses must be used and certain skills in working with the device must be available;
- the use of a jigsaw or an angle grinder presupposes the presence of a special support, which is placed under the polycarbonate sheets;
- for convenience, appropriate markings are made on the material and only after that it is cut.
It is worth doing the work according to a step-by-step algorithm.
If necessary, you can see exactly how the process of cutting polycarbonate is carried out on video.
How to cut cellular polycarbonate
If you plan to cut cellular polycarbonate at home, then you should understand that this type of building material has a porous structure, as a result of which the work process can be very specific. If the thickness of the material does not exceed 1 cm, then in this case you can do only with a clerical or construction knife with a retractable blade. When cutting cellular polycarbonate along the stiffeners, you will need to do the work in several stages.
Starting cutting should be carried out on the outer surface, after which the sheet of cellular polycarbonate is turned over and a similar action is performed, only on the other side of the building material. When it became necessary to cut the polycarbonate sheet across the stiffeners, the algorithm of actions will already include 3 stages. Thus, as in the previous version, the product is cut from both sides, after which the inner partition is carefully cut.
When a polymer product is more than 1 cm thick, then you will need to use a hacksaw for metal or wood, while the teeth must be divorced. If you have an electric tool, for example, an angle grinder or a jigsaw, you can give preference to them, but at the same time the speed of the selected tool should be at a minimum level.
How to properly cut polycarbonate angle grinder
To cut solid polycarbonate to size, you can use an electric construction tool, such as an angle grinder. This option is great if you need to cut a large amount of polymer material at home.
For work at home, cutting wheels for metal should be used. At the moment when it is planned to cut the product, it is worth using an angle grinder at low speeds, which will eliminate the process of melting.
The step-by-step work algorithm is as follows:
- As in all other cases, you will need to prepare the surface in advance for work. Since an electric tool will be used, care must be taken to have a scaffold. For these purposes, you can use several boards.
- In the absence of experience with an angle grinder, it is worth learning how to work on unnecessary pieces of polycarbonate. This approach will allow you to cut the sheet as smoothly as possible and without consequences.
- After the sander has been turned on and has reached the required number of revolutions, you can bring the cut-off wheel to the applied cut mowing line. Move slowly, controlling the position of the device along the applied mowing line. Safety glasses must be worn when working at home.
- After the cutting process has been completed, the device is disconnected from the power supply. If you had to cut cellular polycarbonate, then you will need to remove plastic shavings from the cells.
As you can see, using an angle grinder is quite simple, while the work will be done at home in the shortest possible period of time.
How to cut polycarbonate with a jigsaw
In order to cut the polycarbonate evenly, you can use an electric jigsaw. This option is considered an alternative to a construction knife and an angle grinder. In this case, it is important to choose the right file. In order to be able to cut polycarbonate as smoothly as possible, you should use a straight file or with wavy teeth. The rest of the options are not recommended, since it will be extremely inconvenient to cut the product, in addition, burrs and cracks may remain.
The process of working at home begins in a similar way. the first step is to prepare a place suitable for cutting. It is best to use a new file that is installed in an electric jigsaw before cutting. The fixation must be reliable, otherwise the file will constantly fly out of the device.
The connected electrical device is brought from the end of the polycarbonate sheet according to the cut mowing line applied. To make work at home as comfortable as possible, you can initially apply notches.
The base plate of the power tool must be pressed against the material. In addition, it is necessary to monitor the downforce, as there is a high probability that the polycarbonate will be damaged. The tool is slowly and carefully guided along the markings left. If you plan to cut wavy parts, then it is best to initially practice somewhere in order to cut accurately and evenly.
When the work at home is completed, the electric jigsaw should be disconnected from the electrical network, remove the plastic shavings. If there are excess elements, they are cut off with a knife.
How to cut solid polycarbonate
If necessary, you can carry out the process of cutting monolithic polycarbonate at home. A circular saw with small teeth is perfect for these purposes. In order not only to cut polymer material, but also to achieve the best possible result, many experts recommend giving preference to teeth that are equipped with special solid inserts. Thanks to this approach, it is possible to prevent unwanted material heating. If you plan to cut a sheet with a thickness of up to 2 mm, then in this case it is recommended to cut at the same time from 10 polycarbonate sheets. As practice shows, cutting several sheets at the same time is much easier and more convenient than one.
It is important to understand that if you cut a single polycarbonate sheet of small thickness, then the material may crack during operation. In this case, it is best to use a guillotine cutter, but this method also has a significant drawback. the edges of the cut will turn out to be rough. If necessary, you can use a band saw up to 2 cm wide.
Mounting such fasteners is a little more difficult, but it will be much more reliable and functional. Depending on the choice of the profile, you need to dock in different ways. This can be a set for connecting fabrics of material:
All fastening methods using a special profile can be seen in the photo.
This type of profile has many options for joining it. You can lay canvases not only at right angles, but also at any other. Such corners will be quite strong, aesthetic and almost airtight. Such structures are made not only for greenhouses, but also in other public places, where aesthetics plays an important role.
You should choose a profile not one that is made specifically for polycarbonate, but one that is suitable for a particular design. Modern production makes many types of such products in different sizes. Also, do not forget about the choice of the angle of inclination.
How to dock polycarbonate in a greenhouse?
Now, many people in their summer cottages often set up greenhouses or hotbeds. In most cases, they are made from cellular polycarbonate. Greenhouses made of this material are practical to use, easy to install and inexpensive.
It is advisable to dock polycarbonate with the help of special self-tapping screws with thermal washers, since cracking of the material can occur when using ordinary bolts. Thermal washer is a seal, thanks to which polycarbonate sheets can be attached to a frame made of any material. She goes through the sheet. At the same time you do not have to worry about the reliability of the connection.
- direct docking of polycarbonate and greenhouse frame;
- thermal protection: good tightness at the attachment points prevents cold air from entering the inside of the greenhouse;
- thermal washers have shock-absorbing properties, which in hot weather conditions gives polycarbonate sheets the ability to expand at the joints.
Together with such washers, a special insulation is sold. Since the holes for fastening are made larger than the diameter of the self-tapping screws, the neoprene-based product is compressed, and the hermetic properties are not lost at the joints.
Using such a device is simple. When the greenhouse is mounted, these self-tapping screws snap into place, which does not contribute to the ingress of condensation and the formation of rust.
The end profile serves to cover the empty ends of the polycarbonate sheet. The correctness of its fastening lies in the fact that the connecting profile butts adjacent panels and provides a reliable and strong connection, as shown in the photo.
There is also a ridge profile, but this does not apply to curved top greenhouse roofs.
Basically, people make fasteners from aluminum profiles, since they have a great advantage in the reliability of the material itself and absolute water and moisture resistance. It is easier to lay plastic on such profiles due to the fact that special rubber seals are used here, as shown in the photo. This type of profile is made for polycarbonate, which has various widths, from 6 to 25 mm and a mandatory length of 6 m.
It makes no difference what angle the sheet or panel will form. You can even mount it vertically, but it is necessary to ensure that the voids or ducts that are inside are in the same position. When producing such a curved roof or canopy, these cavities must be located under the curvature. All ducts are directed towards the slopes.
How to determine the quality of cellular polycarbonate sheets
Of course, it is very difficult to evaluate quality only by appearance, but there are some simple tips that will help you with this:
The surface of the sheet should be free of visible chips, scratches, dents, air bubbles, irregularities
- The surface of the sheet should be free of visible chips, scratches, dents, air bubbles and even the slightest irregularities. It shouldn’t delaminate
- Stiffening ribs of the sheet should be located only at right angles, waviness of the ribs along the length of the sheet is unacceptable.
- Do not buy polycarbonate without UV protection, because the service life of the sheets will directly depend on it. Without UV coating, polycarbonate, under the influence of the sun’s rays, will change color, become more fragile and collapse without having served for 3 years.
- Purchase only properly stored polycarbonate, this will also determine its service life. Sheets should not stand on an edge or be rolled up. they should be stored on special racks with a flat surface.
7 rules for installing cellular polycarbonate
It doesn’t matter if you bought a greenhouse or a greenhouse made of cellular polycarbonate ready-made or are going to build them with your own hands, the rules for installing polycarbonate will be the same, and they must be followed.
About manufacturers of cellular polycarbonate
I want to share with you my personal opinion about the quality of cellular polycarbonate from various manufacturers on the market today. The most popular among them are:
The products are also made in China. Very hard and brittle, rather inconvenient to install; will last about 4 years.
Do not skimp on buying cellular polycarbonate, quality material cannot be very cheap! Give preference to medium-priced or more expensive sheets. believe me, they will last you much longer.
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Given the variety of cellular polycarbonate presented on the market today, I want to pay special attention to its quality.
Cellular polycarbonate of Russian production (SafPlast Innovativ company) is a worthy representative of the economy class. This material is quite easy to install, elastic and soft enough. In my opinion, it is precisely the rigidity that he lacks; such a sheet will last about 8 years.
Cellular polycarbonate for covering greenhouses and greenhouses must have a special UV protective layer. During installation, the sheets are installed in such a way that the protective layer is on the outside.
The nuances of choosing and installing cellular polycarbonate for greenhouses and greenhouses
Durable and comfortable. this is how you can describe greenhouses and greenhouses made of cellular polycarbonate. In terms of performance, they significantly surpass similar structures made of film and glass. However, in order for this modern material to demonstrate its best properties, it is important to know what to look for when choosing cellular polycarbonate, how to install it correctly.
Durable and comfortable. this is how you can describe greenhouses and greenhouses made of cellular polycarbonate
Why is it worth giving preference to polycarbonate at all? There are many positive qualities: perhaps it is worth listing in detail how polycarbonate buildings differ:
- excellent thermal insulation;
- high light transmission;
- reliable protection against ultraviolet radiation;
- strength and shock resistance (in comparison with glass, the strength of polycarbonate is 50 times higher, shock resistance. 250 times);
- ease of installation;
- resistance to high humidity and various atmospheric influences;
- aesthetics: agree, a polycarbonate greenhouse (or greenhouse) on any garden plot looks very beautiful, stylish and modern, fits perfectly into any, even carefully thought-out landscape.
How to cut polycarbonate at home: all methods and rules for cutting
Choosing a cutting tool
Any person who has a minimum set of tools for construction and repair will find how to cut polycarbonate at home, without resorting to the services of specialized cutting on laser or milling equipment with software control. The high cutting precision they provide may be required only for small decorative parts.
In building structures, the edges of cellular polycarbonate are usually closed with special end profiles that hide minor defects, and a cut of a monolithic sheet can always be sanded.
Advice! We recommend that you always use edge profiles for hollow polycarbonate sheets to prevent debris from getting into them and insects that cannot get out of narrow channels on their own and die in them, spoiling the appearance of the coating.
The list of how to cut carbonate for a greenhouse or other structure is not so small. And the tools listed below are found in most households. It:
- knife. office, shoe, construction and even kitchen, if it is well sharpened, has a sharp tip and a comfortable handle;
- a hacksaw for metal or plastic with a fine tooth;
- jigsaw with a file corresponding to the material;
- angle grinder equipped with an abrasive wheel;
- circular saw.
You can also use large scissors or scissors for metal and plastic, but only for cutting monolithic polycarbonate up to 3 mm thick. A thicker monolith cannot be accurately cut, and the edge of the cellular polycarbonate is doubted by the efforts applied from both sides.
In no case should you use a hacksaw with large teeth for this purpose, as they tear the plastic. As well as cutting wheels designed for cutting steel products, since when they are used, the cut point is melted under the influence of high temperature.
Using this or that tool, you must first familiarize yourself with the technology of its use for cutting polycarbonate.
This tool is definitely in any home, and if you need to decide how to cut 4 mm or 6 mm polycarbonate with one air chamber, then there is nothing better than it. Provided that the contours of the parts consist of straight lines without smooth bends. You can also cut radius elements for them, but this will take more time and patience.
It is not recommended to cut thicker cellular polycarbonate with a knife and with more than two layers. And also monolithic canvases, too dense and hard for this tool.
The knife must be very sharp. When using a utility or construction knife, it is advisable to insert a new blade into it. Failure to comply with these conditions can affect the quality of the cut and complicate the work.
To obtain a neat cut without burrs and irregularities, follow these steps:
- lay the sheet on a flat solid base or place a board under the intended fishing line;
- test the knife on an unnecessary section of the panel and make sure it is sharp;
- press a flat metal bar, ruler or rule to the mowing line of the cut. It is better not to use wooden slats, since a sharp blade easily enters and gets stuck in them;
- if the cut is long, the canvas needs to be covered with dense sheet material or a board should be placed to support it during work, and an assistant should be attracted to fix the ruler in the desired position;
- start cutting from the far edge, making a notch on it along the entire thickness. The blade is pulled towards itself, pressing it tightly against the ruler and exercising sufficient pressure;
Advice! The thicker the blade to be cut, the greater the angle of inclination of the blade should be.
- if from the first time it was not possible to cut through the polycarbonate, the knife is drawn again along the same mowing line. Do not try to bend it in the opposite direction, as is done when cutting drywall. the plastic will not break, but only deform.
- 62.55² Total area
- 5 x 8m Building area
- 12.5² Total area
- 4 x 4m Building area
- 35.89² Total area
- 10 x 4m Building area
- 9² Total area
- 3 x 3m Building area
- 17.5² Total area
- 4 x 5m Building area
- 9² Total area
- 3 x 3m Building area
- 23.2² Total area
- 6 x 4m Building area
- 9² Total area
- 3 x 3m Building area
- 14² Total area
- 4 x 4m Building area
- 16.6² Total area
- 5 x 3m Building area
- 36² Total area
- 7 x 6m Building area
- 66² Total area
- 6 x 9m Building area
- 12² Total area
- 4 x 4m Building area
- 37.34² Total area
- 8 x 4m Building area
- 23.15² Total area
- 7 x 4m Building area
- 7.4² Total area
- 3 x 3m Building area
Greenhouses, sheds, gazebos and many other buildings on the personal plot are often erected from polycarbonate. It is easy to work with this material and achieve a high-quality result if you know how to cut polycarbonate at home and how to attach it to the supporting frame. After reading the article to the end, you will learn how to get an even and clean cut without resorting to using a sophisticated modern tool.
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.
We will send the material by mail
- What are we going to cut
- We prepare the workplace and do the markup
- Choosing a cutting tool
- angle grinder
- Circulating saw
- Electric jigsaw
- Hacksaw for metal
- General recommendations