Polycarbonate or Acrylic For Boat Windows

Category: clear acrylic, polycarbonate

Did You Know:  boat windows can be made of plastic as an alternative to traditional glass  ? Plastic is easy to work with and produces seaworthy results. Plastic is easy for boat owners to work with and make curved windows: it flexes and can be fastened straight onto the boat cabin or fit into frames. The choice between two popular clear plastics – acrylic and polycarbonate – can be the source of debate.  Plastic experts, The Plastic People point out that polycarbonate is better for certain pruposes whilst, generally speaking, acrylic is a good option.  

Acrylic boat windows

cut to size acrylic has been used to make windows for this boat belonging to a customer of The Plastic People

Polycarbonate is virtually indestructible and very light in weight.  Polycarbonate is unbreakable because it flexes instead – and this very benefit can also be a downside for polycarbonate boat windows as flexibility can make the polycarbonate windows difficult to seal.   This means that potentially polycarbonate windows can leak. So, unless your boat is sailing in and out of war zones and bullets or very strong storms – or if water proofing doesn’t matter that much – perhaps take a look at cheaper option, acrylic.

The question about the difference in strength between polycarbonate and acrylic needs to be kept in perspective. Unless you need virtually unbreakable glazing, acrylic (often known as Perspex) is strong enough for boat windows and hatches.   Indeed, major boat manufacturers use acrylic in their deck hatches and hulls.

Other factors besides strength also play a role in determining which material is best suited for boat windows. Compared to polycarbonate, acrylic is less vulnerable to UV-light.  It also resists scratches better, and is easier to seal. It is also less expensive.  

Find out more about acrylic and polycarbonate suitable for boat windows from plastic experts, The Plastic People.




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