Handling Polycarbonate Sheets

Polycarbonate handling information is helpful when you are starting your journey. Most smooth surface polycarbonate panels and sheets come with a protective transparent film that needs to be peeled off after installation. Quality multiwall polycarbonate panels have a smooth glass-like surface on both sides and always come with protective film on each side. Corrugated single ply polycarbonate panels generally do not have a protective film. The UV-coated side of the multiwall panel will always indicate which side goes towards the sun.

Polycarbonate Handling Information Del Sol Greenhouses and Sunrooms

Polycarbonate Panel Tips

  • Storage

    Polycarbonate panels are best kept indoors. Do not store or leave polycarbonate panels / sheets outdoors or in the sunlight.

  • Handling

    When installing polycarbonate panels, exercise care and use thin soft rubber gloves for handling. All panels are prone to slight hand smudges, scratches, dents and creases. Peel off about 2 – 4 inches from the panel edges, keeping the majority of the surface protected until fully fastened. Before securing the panel in place make sure the screws that go into the purlin are fastened when the film is removed. If you’ve made any cuts with a circular saw, always remember to clear the flutes of the panel before you seal the ends. Blow the flutes clean with a compressed air gun while the panel is on the ground. Polycarbonate panels should not be used to support a person’s weight during the installation process.

  • Cleaning

    After installation it is best to use a long pole attached to a soft bristle brush with a water hose and mild soap to clean the panel.

  • Weep Management

    Install polycarbonate panel ribs / flutes to run up and down. This allows any trapped moisture to be channeled and drained out. Weep holes should be spaced every 6″ along the bottom edge of the cap closure or aluminum tape. Weep hole diameter can be 1/8″.

  • Easy Maintenance

    For best results, always seal the top channel flutes with aluminum foil tape and poly U-channels, or aluminum extrusions (cap closures). For bottom channel flutes, use 1″ poly breather tape. This helps to eliminate dirt and dust accumulation within the channels, as well as provide ventilation to eliminate trapped vapor. Always caulk with silicone to seal the edge between the upper surface of the panel and the bottom edge of the U channel or cap closure.

  • Installation

    When installing on a sloped roof, keep the outer surface protective film on while in contact with the surface of the panels during the fastening and installation of the screws. When the polycarbonate panel is totally installed and fastened, peel off the outer film, then move on to the next sloped section bay or wait until the entire roof is fastened, before peeling off the protective film.

    The interior surface of the panel can be peeled off prior to setting the panel in place since there is minimal contact toward the interior. See More Installation Tips »

Polycarbonate Handling Information Del Sol Greenhouses and Sunrooms
Polycarbonate Handling Information Del Sol Greenhouses and Sunrooms

Framing Structure – Popular Materials

Dimensional Lumber

The most popular building material for greenhouses, garages, sheds, out buildings, sunrooms and patio deck covers is dimensional lumber. This is a popular choice when a design calls for transparent sunlight to provide shelter and interior warm light.
The design transition to frame for joining polycarbonate panels together does require structural rafters and wall studs to have 3-inch surface to attach to.

Panels are available in 4-foot and 6-foot widths. Framing a double stud every 4-foot or 6-foot on center, using a double 2×4 or 2×6 for a 3-inch surface to attach to.


| 4-foot panel- |

Single 2 x 4 structural framing member should be every 24 inches on center.

Double up for a 3-inch stud, at 4 feet and 6 feet, to fasten in place a 3-inch wide polycarbonate H channel or a 2 3/4-inch wide aluminum glazing system, and join two panels together. Structural framing members for walls can also be framed horizontally, in much the same way a steel building is structurally framed. With horizontal framing, the exterior steel siding panel overlaps at the edges and runs vertically from top to bottom. For best results, all polycarbonate panel joints / seams should be joined with an H-channel, running horizontal or vertical, and should be on the same plane.

Polycarbonate Handling Information Del Sol Greenhouses and Sunrooms
Polycarbonate Handling Information Del Sol Greenhouses and Sunrooms


The second most popular structure is steel. Many polycarbonate greenhouses are designed with structural galvanized steel. The same polycarbonate installation procedure is utilized as with wood.


The third most popular structure is aluminum. Most aluminum members consist of either extruded rectangular tubing or H-styled aluminum extrusions with cap closures that secure the polycarbonate onto the frame. Greenhouse polycarbonate kits are available in a precut kit form. This provides easy assembly and keeps any cutting and adjusting to a minimum.

How to Tape and Join Polycarbonate Panels

Join all polycarbonate panel seams with H-channels and seal the top and bottom fluted ends of the panels with U-channels.

The top fluted end of the panel should always be taped and sealed with aluminum foil tape. This helps to keep the fluted air space channels clear and clean. Polycarbonate panels have a tendency to collect a variety of tiny bug species, along with particulates and dust, which over time will build up and darken the transmittance of light. This condition will eventually get worse over time if the ends of the panels are not properly sealed.

Once the aluminum or solid woven tape is applied, then apply the U-channel over the tape. Custom bent aluminum flashing can also be used in certain locations. The idea is to protect and seal the open fluted ends of each polycarbonate panel.

The bottom fluted end of Colorado polycarbonate multiwall panels, and Colorado polycarbonate sheets, should also be taped with breather vented tape, as shown in the picture below. Breather vented tape not only helps to keep the lower portion of the panel clean but also helps to provide fresh air inside the air fluted channels to dry up built-up condensation. Condensation is invariably a condition that exists in all polycarbonate structural applications. The best way to alleviate this condition is to use polycarbonate breather vented tape, which is designed for this application.

The bottom end of panels is usually located at the bottom roof eave of your structure and at the bottom end of your base wall. These are critical and vulnerable areas. Be sure to apply U-channels and/or aluminum flashing over both ends of each panel after each end has been sealed and taped.

Caulking is a primary ingredient when building with Colorado polycarbonate panels. It’s best to use a quality clear or colored pure silicone caulk in key areas of your application, including roof eave locations, ridge vent locations, operable windows, door locations, and base wall locations. If you elect to forego the tape, then U-channels by themselves will help somewhat, but they won’t seal as well as the tape can. It’s best to use both tape and U-channels. Remember to provide weeping and breathing holes through the U-channel every 6 inches along the bottom edge of the polycarbonate panel.

Building with Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate co-extruded panels have the highest impact resistance. They’re easy to work with and offer great value.

Polycarbonate panels will maintain their durability, withstand high and low temperatures over the long term, and will maintain their structural integrity, assuring a high standard of performance and durability.

When building with structural wood we found that laminated Douglas Fir glue-lams work the best. Laminated beams are stable and extremely strong.

Another choice of wood is cedar. Cedar, however, does cost more and its use will be determined by your budget and availability.

Laminated structural wood is fairly straight and stable, however, when installing it’s best to eyeball each member, making sure the crown is always facing upward towards the exterior of the structure. As a rule, we always make sure that any exposed laminated beams are stained and sealed before installing them. Stained laminated wood makes for a stunning appearance and will give your wood a much longer life span.

Polycarbonate Handling Information Del Sol Greenhouses and Sunrooms
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Imagine what you will grow!!

If you’ve always wanted a greenhouse to grow plants and flowers, let’s get started! Let us help you get the polycarbonate you need for your greenhouse or sunroom. We provide quality, great service, installation tips, and help you get the best prices! Best of all, you save money on shipping and crating by picking up your Colorado polycarbonate panels yourself! And if you want a custom greenhouse or sunroom, we can help with that too!