Triple Wall Polycarbonate Panels

There is never a dull moment in the post frame (pole) building industry. Clients are seemingly forever asking for new and different products to incorporate into their structures – which keeps life very, very interesting.

Multiwall PanelsHansen Pole Buildings recently had an inquiry from a client who wants to construct a greenhouse 24’ wide by 30’ long with eight foot sidewalls. The client specified the use of triple wall polycarbonate panels for roofing. Since I was unfamiliar with the product, it was research time.

We already purchase pallets of precut CoverLite® polycarbonate panels for use as eavelights from Amerilux, so my research began with contacting our friendly sales person there – Stephanie. She proved to be a wealth of information.

The brochure on CoverLite® Multiwall Polycarbonate panels can be viewed here: https://www.ameriluxinternational.com/SideBarLinks/Brochures/coverlite_multiwall_brochure.pdf

Now the use of these panels for roofing (or siding) takes a little more thought than applying traditional roll formed steel panels.

To begin with, these panels have no shear strength, they are not designed to be able to withstand the lateral forces applied to a building. This means the building itself must be reinforced to take the loads. The easiest method is to utilize steel strapping in an X pattern between the pole building framing and the triple wall panels. The strapping needs to be sized adequately to withstand tension forces and most importantly – fastened at each end sufficiently.

For information on steel strapping: https://www.strongtie.com/products/CFS/CS-CMST.asp

In the case of this particular client’s building – the dimensions were fairly small (24 feet wide by 30 feet long and an eight foot eave), so the strapping needs were fairly minimal. As building dimensions increase (or wind load forces to be resisted become more extreme) the strapping must be increased in strength. Shear forces are higher as the endwalls are approached, so strapping sizes and fasteners can be adjusted to meet the requirements of each subsequent bay.

The CoverLite® Multiwall Polycarbonate panels are square, so they do not afford an overlap. The seams between each panel must be joined by means of an H profile trim. As the ends of each panel are open, a U trim must be installed at the top and bottom of each panel, to help prevent moisture from accumulating between the layers. The U at the eave side of the panels must have holes strategically placed to allow for any condensation to run out the low end of the panel.

Looking to do a greenhouse pole building roof in style? Then look no further than to have a properly engineered post frame (pole) building with CoverLite® Multiwall Polycarbonate panels.

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