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Pros and cons of a polycarbonate awning for house

The concept of a polycarbonate awning isn’t new, but we’re seeing a resurgence of interest in this option, as businesses look for unique ways to protect their doorways and windows.

What is a polycarbonate awning?

It’s fabricated from panels made of a thermoplastic polymer commonly known as Lexan. The panels can be clear, translucent or opaque, and they can also be colored. Because this material looks very different from fabric or metal awnings, it offers an intriguing alternative for designing window and door awnings.

You can use flat panels to form the roof of a polycarbonate awning, and add side panels to create a box-style configuration. A polycarbonate awning can also be composed of arches or very slightly curved shapes, used alone to form an “eyebrow” or in series to give a scalloped effect. And because the material is flexible, it can be molded into other shapes such as a dome.

This material looks nice with stainless steel or another simple framing, or it can take on an elegant look with filigree-design panel supports on each side.

A polycarbonate awning offers many advantages.

These awnings are a good choice to protect people, doors, and windows from the sun and inclement weather when you want all the functional benefits of an awning with the least visual impact on your building’s façade. That can be important when you’re concerned about retaining the historic “presence” of your exterior without covering up lovely stonework or architecturally interesting window and door moldings.

Conversely, a polycarbonate awning can be a very simple, minimalist addition to any style of building or business.

Polycarbonate is exceedingly strong and durable. Lifetime expectancy typically runs 10-15 years, with most manufacturers offering warranties of 10 years or longer. Here’s why:

  • Its high impact resistance makes the material virtually unbreakable. You may not need bulletproof glass, but any business located in Singapore or any of our surrounding areas wants an awning that can withstand hurricane-force winds. A polycarbonate awning can do that.
  • Polycarbonate has outstanding optical properties, blocking up to 99% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays without blocking natural light and making it an excellent option for protecting people and belongings. Those same properties enable a polycarbonate awning to resist damage from sun, snow or rain such as warping, fading, yellowing or other discoloration.
  • It’s highly resistant to extreme heat and cold, so it lasts longer than many other typical awning construction materials. It’s also fire-resistant.
  • It’s very lightweight, accommodating lighter weight framing without sacrificing sturdiness or durability. Transportation and installation are less cumbersome, and that can help keep costs down.

There are a few disadvantages, too.

Polycarbonate can be more expensive than other materials. You may hear about an alternative known as ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), which is considerably less costly, but note that it’s also less durable or heat-resistant, making it a less-than-optimal choice for a commercial awning.

It’s possible to scratch or mar polycarbonate, and it’s very sensitive to abrasive and alkaline cleaning products. Ask your awning professional about coatings for a polycarbonate awning that can help protect the surface. It’s also not a good option if you’re going for LEED certification or your business is sustainability-conscious, as the manufacturing process isn’t environmentally friendly.

A polycarbonate awning doesn’t lend itself to detailed decoration. In effect, it is the decoration, so it’s perfect for ultra-modern, sleek looks but not a good match for every architectural style. Therefore, these awnings get very high marks for functional advantages, not so much for supporting the kind of business marketing opportunities available with other types of awnings, especially fabric.

A polycarbonate awning gives you a distinctively different visual option compared to other types of awnings. It is the right look for your application? A commercial awning company in Singapore can help you evaluate the pros and cons based on your business needs and budget.