Glazing bars for polycarbonate are available in two different types: rafter supported and self supporting. Whilst both perform the same job, they vary in their installation methods so suit different types of roofs.
Rafter supported simply means where you have metal or timber rafters in place to support where your polycarbonate sheets join. For example, on a conservatory or garden pergola. They are the most common variety of polycarbonate glazing bar so most well known, with brands like Alukap and Snapa being popular amongst the Trade. Rafter glazing bars are manufactured in two material options PVC or Aluminium.
Self supporting polycarbonate glazing bars remove the need for rafters below and thus offer an extra level of quality. Without the risk of rotting wood rafters, this glazing bar variety is undoubtedly the longest-lasting of any.
Snap Down Polycarbonate Glazing Bars
PVC Glazing Bars have a lower price point and are ideal for low-mid budget roof projects. Often called snap down glazing bars, PVC bars are a great choice for homeowners who are installing themselves because as the name suggests they have a simple snap down fix. The snap fix style limits their use to certain thicknesses of multiwall and twinwall polycarbonate, namely 10mm, 16mm and 25mm.
Aluminium Rafter Glazing Bars
On the other hand, aluminium rafter polycarbonate glazing bars are the longer lasting option. With double the expected lifespan of PVC polycarbonate glazing bars, the small extra upfront cost massively pays off in the long run. Aluminium glazing bars offer a wider range of colour options with white and brown as standard but also the option to completely customise the colour if you wish! At Clear Amber, we can manufacture the Alukap-® ranges to any RAL colour to precisely match your project.
Aluminium Self Supporting Glazing Bars
Aluminium self supporting glazing bars are primarily used for single-pitch polycarbonate projects like carports and canopies. The self-supporting design of systems like Alukap-SS makes installation faster and easier for installers. Like the rafter supported aluminium version, they work with any thickness or type of polycarbonate, including Axgard Solid Polycarbonate Sheets, and come in a wide range of colour options.
Have more questions about polycarbonate glazing bars?
If you need any support with choosing the right polycarbonate glazing bars for your roof, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our team of Product Experts can help guide you with your project from initial designs right through to completion. The best way to contact our Teams is via online live chat, which will appear bottom right of your screen.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Glazing bars for polycarbonate sheets are used to join and secure the sheeting down to your frame. Primarily, they are essential to ensuring a strong installation that is resistant to wind uplift and rain loading. The secondary use is to create a waterproof seal between the sheets to make the roof watertight and avoid any leaks. This is done via the rubber gaskets and clamping pressure.
Self supporting glazing bars join polycarbonate sheets the same way but avoid the need for a timber or metal structure below the bars. These are most commonly used on car ports, pergolas and canopies.
Aluminium glazing bars are stronger than PVC so the better option for installing polycarbonate sheets. Manufacturing from aluminium naturally results in a longer lifespan and higher quality. Aluminium glazing bars can be used for solid polycarbonate sheeting, like Axgard, as well.
PVC glazing bars are still good quality but not as long lasting so are best suited for budget projects like small lean-tos. They are designed to only work with certain thicknesses of multiwall polycarbonate ranging from 10-25mm mainly.