Thinking about making a new dodger? Or maybe putting a window in your sweeping mainsail? Those projects and many more require the use of a clear vinyl window material. With all the different brands and gauges, it can be hard to tell which material will best suit your project. Our Window Material Buying Guide can help (we shared that here), but for a little extra assistance we’re going to explain some window material terms and provide more in-depth explanation.
Window material has it’s own unique set of buzz words. Here are a few to be on the look-out for when making your selection.
4 Window Material Terms to Know:
Pressed & Polished: This refers to a common method of manufacturing clear vinyl. Pressed and polished goods are made by taking two layers of material and pressing them together between highly polished chrome plates. This creates one, thicker polished sheet. This method produces the most optically clear and consistent clear vinyl. They often come in sheets of 54” x 110”. Pressed and polished brands include: Strataglass, O’Sea, Crystal Clear, and Regalite.
Gauge: The gauge of window material refers to the thickness. A 20-gauge material is 0.020” thick; a 30-gauge piece is 0.030” and so on. Gauge can also be a measure of flexibility. Typically, the thicker the gauge the less flexible the window material will be.
Optical Clarity: The optical clarity of a window material tells how easy it is to see through. Generally speaking, the more expensive, pressed and polished goods have a higher optical clarity. Optical clarity is also linked to gauge. The thicker the gauge, the better the clarity.
Scratch Resistance: Clear vinyl is inherently a little prone to scratches. Some window materials however, come pre-treated with a scratch resistant coating. This coating is valuable for the longevity of your window material. To minimize the risk for scratches, keep your vinyl windows as clean as possible.
Now that you’ve got all the terms down, it’s time to see how they relate. In this video Matt Grant, Sailrite Vice-President, explains the differences between the window materials we carry and some of the preferred uses of each. Take a look.
Use your new terms and knowledge to select the perfect window material for your next project. All the materials discussed are available at www.sailrite.com.
What is most important to you when choosing a vinyl window material? Leave a comment and tell us about it.