How to Drill Polycarbonate Sheet

Unlike acrylic and other low-quality sheets which are brittle and can shatter, polycarbonate sheets are shatterproof which makes them perfect for drilling through and fixing!

As they don't splinter or crack when drilled, the Axgard Sheets are a popular roofing solution with installers on a wide range of projects. Common polycarbonate sheet applications include pergola lean-tos, hot tub pergolas, gazebos, boat windows, screening and more!

Please note: although this guide shows our Axgard Solid Sheets, the Axiome Multiwall and Twinwall Polycarbonate Sheets are cut in the same way.

Simply follow our How 2 video above, and guide below, to learn how easy polycarbonate sheet is to drill. Before starting, please ensure you are wearing the appropriate PPE for the job.

How to drill polycarbonate sheet

  1. Secure the polycarbonate sheets to your work surface using clamps. This is to prevent movement when drilling to ensure accuracy.
  1. Select an HSS Drill bit to match the required hole sizes. When drilling a hole for fixings allow a few extra mm for sheet expansion.
  1. Fit the drill bit into the chuck and tighten it in place. (Safety note: If you are wearing gloves be careful to avoid getting them caught in the moving parts)
  1. Set the drill to maximum speed
  1. Mark the location of the holes on the polycarbonate sheets proactive film. Then align the drill bit to the centre of the marking and ensure it is vertical or perpendicular to the sheet.
  1. Start the drill at max speed and gently apply downward pressure until you have drilled completely through the sheet
  1. It is normal for swarf to form around the drill bit. Particularly on thicker polycarbonate sheeting. This can be brushed off once the hole is completed.

Top Tips for drilling polycarbonate

  • Using a slightly worn drill bit can make drilling easier. If you are using a new drill bit then you are best to break it is but drilling some holes into a piece of wood first to wear the sharp edges down.
  • It is best to have the sheets resting on a solid flat surface when cutting to stop them from flexing.
  • When drilling thinner sheets, apply less pressure and let the drill do the work.
  • When drilling thicker sheets, it is recommended to stop the drill halfway through and remove any swarf to keep a clear view of the hole.
  • If you are drilling close to the edge it is sometimes best to put masking tape on the protective sheet film to help stop the drill bit from slipping out to the edge.

Common Questions About Drilling Polycarbonate

Can you screw through polycarbonate?

Yes, however, you are best to pre-drill pilot holes in polycarbonate sheets are they expand and contract with temperate changes. If you screw straight through without pre-drilling it allows no scope for expansion and the sheets may end up warping and flexing. You are best to always pre-drill polycarbonate – no matter the application!

How to screw polycarbonate sheets down?

To fasten polycarbonate sheets to a frame or roof you are best to use aluminium glazing bars. These glazing bars are designed to work with any thickness of polycarbonate sheeting and clamp the sheets to your frame.

What screws do you use for polycarbonate sheets?

If you require to secure a polycarbonate sheet down additional using fixings (rather than just glazing bars) then you should use polycarbonate roof fixings. These fixing buttons are designed to work with a wide range of sheet thicknesses, including multiwall, twinwall and solid sheets. When screwing down polycarbonate fixings buttons with solid sheets you need to cut off the shaft of the fixing button first. This can be easily done using a small hacksaw.

How to drill plastic mirrors?

Plastic mirror is easy to drill as long as it is a shatterproof plastic mirror sheet. Care should be taken to avoid scratching the mirror backing, which can affect image the mirror image quality.

To drill a plastic mirror, simply drill as you would a polycarbonate sheet by clamping it down and using an HSS drill bit.

It is best to drill through the mirror backing side, rather than the front. This helps to avoid the mirror backing from chipping off when the drill exits the far side of the mirror sheeting, as would happen the other way around.

Why is polycarbonate better than acrylic to drill?

Polycarbonate is better to drill than acrylic because it is not as brittle so doesn't crack or split like acrylic and PetG sheets will. Polycarbonate sheets are easier for homeowner and trades to work with as they can be easily cut and drilled without worrying about having previous experience.

Cutting solid polycarbonate sheets is also easier than cutting acyclic. Simply view our how to cut polycarbonate sheets video to learn how.

Would you like further help drilling Polycarbonate Sheet ?

Simply jump on our Live Chat or via email shop@clearamber.com where our Teams will provide you with all the advice and support you require for your project.

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