The Best 3 Glazing Bars for Glass & Polycarbonate

Best 3 Glazing Bars For Glass & Polycarbonate

If you are planning to build a Glazed Roof with Glass or Clear Polycarbonate Sheets, then you will need glazing bars to secure or support the glazing sheets. However, you will need to decide which glazing bars are best for your Roof Glazing Project and it can be confusing, so in this article we have come up with a concise guide to help you make the right choice between the Best 3 Glazing Bars for Glass and Polycarbonate.

What is a Glazing Bar?

A Glazing Bar is thin profile which is used to secure glass or polycarbonate sheets to roofing structures. Glazing Bars provide a waterproof seal between two adjoining pieces of glass or polycarbonate sheet. Glazing Bars come in many types and sizes to suit different connection types.

Extra Info: What is Roof Glazing?

Roof Glazing is where glass is used in a roofing application, such as a glazed Roof Lantern, Canopy or Skylight. Roof Glazing can be flat (horizontal) or on a pitch (angled slope). Roof Glazing is an excellent way to create internal spaces and covered areas, which have high levels of natural daylight in them. You can learn more about lanterns on our related article: 6 Types of Roof Lantern - You Can Make Yourself For Less

What are Glazing Bars Used For?

Glazing Bars are used to create both pitched and flat roof structures for many applications such as fixing glass or polycarbonate sheets to Roof Lanterns, Skylights, Orangeries, Conservatories, Greenhouses, Fixed Roof Windows, Covered Walkways, BBQ Shelters, Log Stores, Pergolas, Chicken Runs, Canopies, Porches, Carports, Covered Decking Areas, and much more! Each type of project will use different types of roof glazing sheet, so its important to get the right roof glazing bar to match the type of glazing sheet and project.

Extra Info: What are Polycarbonate Glazing Bars?

Polycarbonate Glazing Bars are Glazing Bars which are used to fix Polycarbonate Sheets to Roofs or Canopies. Polycarbonate Glazing Bars are actually made from PVC (Plastic) or can be Aluminium Glazing Bars. Polycarbonate Glazing Bars have rubber gaskets to make sure they create a waterproof seal. Further down this article we explain which is the best glazing bar for your project.

What are the Best 3 Glazing Bar Systems?

In the chart below we have set out the Top 3 Best Glazing Bar Systems. These three Glazing Bars have different benefits and therefore suit different types of roof glazing applications, so we have listed the various Glazing Bar Benefits for the Self-Supporting Glazing Bars, Screw Down Glazing Bars and Snap Down Glazing Bars in this chart also:

Glazing Bar Type/ Example Glazing Bar / Manufacturer’s Brand

Glazing Bar Benefit

Typical Applications

Aluminium Self-Support Glazing Bars

Aluminium Self-Support Glazing Bar - Alukap-SS

Self-Supporting Glazing Bars for Glass or Polycarbonate Sheets / Alukap®-SS

Double Gasket Seals

Hidden Top Cap Fixings

Long Lasting Aluminium

Spans between Wall and Eaves without need for Rafters

Suits any thickness of Glass

Suits Polycarbonate Sheets

Roof Lanterns

Orangeries

Conservatories

Covered Walkways

Canopies

BBQ Shelters

Skylights

Carports

Covered Decking Areas

Aluminium Screw Down Glazing Bars

Aluminium Screw Down Glazing Bars - Alukap-XR

Screw Down Aluminium Glazing Bars for Glass or Polycarbonate Sheets / Alukap®-XR

Double Gasket Seals

Hidden Top Cap Fixings

Long Lasting Aluminium

Lower Cost Glazing Bar than Self Supporting Glazing Bars

Suits any thickness of Glass

Wide Rafter Gasket for Cushioning and Sealing

Pergola Roofs

Chicken Runs

Porches

Skylights

Roof Lanterns

Orangeries

Conservatories

Covered Walkways

Canopies

BBQ Shelters

Carports

Covered Decking Areas

Plastic Snap Down Glazing Bars

Plastic Snap Down Glazing Bars - Snapa

Snap Down Glazing Bars for Polycarbonate Sheets / Snapa®

Integral Gaskets

Snap Down Top Cap for Speed

Easy Snap Down Glazing Bar Installation

Lower Cost Glazing Bar than Aluminium Glazing Bars

Suits Polycarbonate Sheets

Pergola Roofs

Chicken Runs

Porches

Skylights

Conservatories

Covered Walkways

Canopies

BBQ Shelters

Log stores

Carports

Covered Decking Areas

 

How do you fit a Glazing Bar?

Whether you are fitting glass or polycarbonate sheets, fitting Glazing Bars is really easy, but there are a few simple steps you need to follow to help install the glazing bars correctly. For most Glazing Bars it’s a simple screw down or snap down cap fitting.

This Video shows how to install Screw Down Glazing Bars for Timber Rafters with some excellent step by step tips and instructions to help you:

Bonus Tip: What is the Best Polycarbonate Sheet Closure?

One of the most important areas for Polycarbonate Sheets is How to Install Polycarbonate Sheet End Closures. These are sometimes called Polycarbonate Drip Trims or Endstop Bars. Because this is a very important part of the roof glazing you should definitely consider buying an Aluminium Endstop Bar rather than a plastic one, and follow the steps on this Roof Sheet End Closure Video. The principles on this video are very similar for glazing either Glass or Polycarbonate End Trims.

Additional Resources: For further advice and information we have listed some very useful links here:    

Bonus Tip: Can you Remove Glazing Bars?

Some times it is necessary to remove glazing bars to replace damaged polycarbonate sheets or smashed glass, but how to you actually remove the Glazing Bars?  There are two types of method for removing glazing bar top caps as follows:

How to Remove Snap Down Glazing Bars:

  1. Unscrew the Glazing Bar Endcap so you can see the end section of the Glazing Bars
  2. Use Long Nosed Pliers to pinch the inner-connecting downwards-facing Clip-in tongues together
  3. This releases their connection to the outer pair of upstanding tongues.
  4. Now pull the top cap upwards starting at the end where you have the pliers
  5. You may need to move the pliers carefully up the glazing bar top cap to pinch further up the glazing bar as you go, to release it further up the slope.
  6. This should allow the top cap of the Snap Down Glazing Bar to be easily removed and the glazing sheets accessed or replaced as required.
  7. Be Aware: Snap Down Plastic Glazing Bar Top Caps are not designed to be removed and re-installed, so you may need to purchase new snap down glazing bars to be certain that they will connect properly again. This is why we would suggest aluminium screw down glazing bars, as they are a longer lasting glazing bar particularly where glazed roof sheets need to be replaced or removed at any point.

How to remove Screw Down Glazing Bars:  

  1. Gently lie a small piece of very thin rigid plastic or wood on the top of the glazing sheets beside the lower end of the glazing bar.
  2. Working above this protective piece, use a flat headed screw driver to carefully lever up the Top Clip of the Aluminium Glazing Bar so that it can be popped off without damaging the glass or polycarbonate sheets
  3. Now you will see the main glazing bar top cap which has screws and gaskets in it.
  4. Unscrew the Glazing Bar and carefully remove so as to not damage the gaskets
  5. This should expose the edges of the glazing sheet which can easily be removed, replaced, or accesses as required.
  6. The great news about this type of concealed fix aluminium glazing bar is that the Top Caps can be removed as often as required, for maintenance and repair purposes.

What are the Different Types of Glazing Bar?

Depending on the type and shape of the roof glazing you are making, you will need different types of glazing bar. Let’s assume just for example, that you have decided to choose an aluminium screw down rafter-top glazing bar; it’s a great choice of glazing bar, but you may be still unsure what types of glazing bar within this choice you require. Below we have set out the 6 different glazing bar types for screw down glazing bars which make up the full glazing bar system:

Glazing Bar Type

Example Glazing Bar

Typical Purpose

Intermediate Glazing Bar

 

Intermediate Aluminium Screw Down Glazing Bar - Alukap-XR

The Intermediate Glazing Bar is used to connect two Glazing Sheets, creating a waterproof seal between the glass or polycarbonate sheet joins.

Gable Side Glazing Bar

Aluminium Screw Down Gable Side Bar - Alukap-XR

Gable Side Glazing Bars are used to provide neat and waterproof down stand flashings on the last rafter of a roof at a gable end.

Wall Side Glazing Bar

Aluminium Screw Down Wall Side Glazing Bar - Alukap-XR

Wall Side Glazing Bars make a challenging connection easy. Where the last rafter of a glazed roof meets a rising wall. The upstand of the Wall Side Glazing Bar creates a perfect upstand for sealing of flashing over. 

Top Wall Flashing Glazing Bar

Aluminium Screw Down Top Wall Flashing - Alukap-XR

At the top of a sloped roof where it leans against a rising wall, a Top Wall Flashing Bar should be used to create a seal from the roof glazing sheets to the back wall for sealing and flashing over. 

Hip Glazing Bar

Aluminium Screw Down Hip Glazing Bar - Alukap-XR

Where a Glazed Roof has a Hip Rafter, Hip Glazing Bars connect and seal the glass or Polycarbonate Sheets coming in from either side of the Hip. 

Ridge Glazing Bar

Aluminium Screw Down Ridge Glazing Bar - Alukap-XR

On any glazed Apex Roof the glass units or Polycarbonate sheets will meet from opposing angles and need to be sealed and waterproofed with a Ridge Bar. Sometimes these Ridge Bars are decorated with Crests and Finials

 

What Glazing Bars do I need?

In the exploded diagrams below, we have illustrated a couple of roof glazing designs which show all the various glazing bar types that you will require and which positions they are used in.

Coming Soon: In addition to the glazing bar diagrams below, we will soon be releasing our Glazing Bar Roof Calculator which will list a set of components for your chosen roof shape and glazing bar type – Watch this space and we’ll upload a link here when it is released.  

Lean To Roof Glazing Bars - Exploded Diagram - Alukap-XR
Apex Roof Glazing Bars - Exploded Diagram - Snapa

What is the Best Glazing Bar?

Choosing the Best Glazing Bar will depend on your type of Roof, Type of Glazing sheet, required longevity for your Glazing Bars, required speed of installation and also your budget. However, the easiest way to decide which is the best glazing bar for you, is to use this quick guide below.

 

Plastic Snap Down Glazing Bars

Aluminium Screw Down Glazing Bars

Estimated Life Expectancy

10 Years

+20 Years

Initial Cost of Glazing Bars

Lower Cost

Medium Cost

Glazing Bar Time to Install

Fast – Less Time

Medium – Average Time

Works For Complex Roof Shapes

Simple Roof Shapes

Works with Complex Roof Shapes

Can be used for Glass

No

Yes

Can be used for Polycarbonate

Yes

Yes

 

Bonus Question: What are the Best Glazing Bars for Glass?

The best glazing bars for glass are Aluminium Screw Down Glazing Bars which are available in both rafter supported Glazing Bars for Timber Rafters and also Self-Supporting Glazing Bars where you need the glazing bar to span without Timber Rafters. These Aluminium Screw Down Glazing Bars allow for glass of all thicknesses, which means they are suitable for sealed glass units, as well as being ideal Glazing Bars for 6mm Glass. Be sure to choose an Aluminium Glazing bar which has Concealed Fixings with Hidden Screws to avoid any unsightly screw heads showing, and further improve waterproofing.

Bonus Question: What are the Best Glazing Bars for Polycarbonate?

Although Aluminium screw down bars are the best glazing bars you can get, if you looking for a lower cost and also a faster installation, then Snap Down Rafter Top Glazing Bars are the Best Glazing Bars for Polycarbonate Sheet, as the plastic material is cheaper than aluminium and the snap down clip is faster to install.  Do also bear in mind though that the Aluminium Glazing Bars will typically last more than twice as long as PVC Snap Down Glazing Bars.

Need further Advice on the Best Glazing Bars for your Project?

Our Teams are very happy to assist on our Live Chat or email shop@clearamber.com where our super friendly Teams will provide you with all the advice and support you require for your projects.

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