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Covering a Deck Shade with Polycarbonate Panels

Q: I’d like to cover my deck shade with clear polycarbonate panels. Do they handle snow loads in the winter?

A: Your local building codes should provide the details for design loads that you will have to follow for your deck cover. But generally speaking, both the structure as well as the polycarbonate sheet should be suitable for the extra weight of the snow. Keep in mind that a wide range of polycarbonate sheets are available and are engineered differently, some with multiple thin walls while others have a single thick wall. For example, Palram Americas, a leading manufacturer of polycarbonate sheets, recommends single-wall corrugated polycarbonate glazing for snow-bound areas. Another factor is the method of installation regarding sheet spacing, clamping and fastening. Consult with the manufacturer rep about your chosen product’s specific snow-load recommendations.

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