Strataglass is a specially treated press polish vinyl sheet, optically clear and superior to other vinyls including roller vinyl, extruded vinyl and other uncoated press polished sheets.
Strataglass has a special Urethane coating that gives the soft vinyl its scratch resistant properties, adds UV protection and protects from environmental fallout. This coating is very thin and needs to be cared for properly. As always, it is better to protect before there is a problem rather than trying to restore it after it’s damaged.
The coating serves a dual purpose, it seals out the bad stuff while sealing in the good stuff. Strataglass gains its flexibility through plasticizers, which are part of the vinyl’s composition and sealed in by the coating. If these plasticizers are allowed to leach out, the vinyl becomes brittle, changes color and eventually burns and cracks. * Analogy* Think of a bowl of soup sealed with plastic wrap. If a hole develops in the plastic wrap, the soup will leak out leaving you with an empty bowl. Likewise with Strataglass, if you breach the coating, it must be sealed as soon as possible to avoid further damage. This is done via multiple applications of the IMAR Strataglass Protective Polish, which is a polymer based product that builds upon itself with each application. Apply multiple light coats to seal to the surface. This will not fix the damage but will extend the life of your Strataglass by hindering further damage.
II. Care and Maintenance
Strataglass will last for many years if cared for properly. You should clean your curtains every time you wash the boat and periodically in between washings. Compare it to maintaining your brand new car. You want the car to stay new so wash it often and wax it periodically. Same thing with Strataglass, keeping it clean with a fresh coat of polish will extend that new look.
Always rinse first to remove any heavy contaminants such as dirt, salt and bird droppings. Then wash with a gentle boat soap, we recommend the IMAR Yacht Soap Concentrate, but any quality gentle boat soap will do. Avoid the use of Simple Green, Orpine, anything that says detergent, or any wash-and-wax soaps. The panels can be washed with a clean, soft bristled brush, terry cloth towel, sponge or wash mitt. Rinse with fresh water and dry. Panels can be dried with a chamois, clean terry cloth towel or, Swobbit’s Quik-Dry Waterblade. We recommend the Waterblade because it has a surgical grade silicone blade that will not scratch the surface of the vinyl and will cut drying time immensely. It can also be fitted onto the end of a pole through the use of an adaptor so you can dry those hard to reach panels.
Polishing the Strataglass with the IMAR Strataglass Protective Polish is recommended every 1 to 3 months, inside and out, depending on the amount of sun and fallout it is exposed to. Polish is preferred over a wax type product due to its bonding properties. Polish bonds to the surface, and to itself whereas wax only coats.
The IMAR Strataglass Protective Polish comes in a convenient flip top 16 oz bottle which allows you to add a small amount to your applicator. Apply a light coat using overlapping circular motions until covered. Do not allow the product to remain on the surface any longer than necessary, just long enough to dry to a light haze. Letting it sit too long or applying more than needed only makes it harder to remove and does not add any additional benefit. Remove with a clean terry or microfiber cloth, then buff to a brilliant shine with a microfiber cloth or cloth baby diaper.
The polish is the real key to Strataglass‘ longevity. It is best to apply two coats when new then apply on a monthly / bi monthly schedule thereafter. Remember, less is more, no matter how much you apply, only a thin coating bonds to the surface.
Between washing and polishing, the use of IMAR Strataglass Protective Spray is recommended. It is a quick and effective spot detailer and using it to clean the full panel on a regular basis will keep the glass looking shiny and new. It is formulated to compliment the IMAR Strataglass Protective Polish to enhance its performance, not strip it off.
III. Things to avoid:
No matter what the “Expert” on the dock says, the factory only recommends the IMAR Strataglass Care products to maintain Strataglass and their other products. And with good reason, IMAR is specifically formulated as a vinyl cleaner, more specifically a Strataglass vinyl cleaner, not a plastic cleaner that can also clean vinyl. Plastic and Vinyl have different properties and the correct cleaner should be used for each. Recommendations of Pledge, Plexus and Rain-X should be avoided. Each of these products look great when you first start using them, but over time build up and yellow, requiring premature replacement of the Strataglass. Why would you put an indoor furniture wax on an outdoor window?
Suntan lotion is a necessity for boaters but is a bad thing for Strataglass. Touching the panels with lotion on your hands or leaning up against a panel after applying suntan lotion will result in surface hazing of the Strataglass and, if not removed immediately, will become permanent. We recommend always having a bottle of IMAR Strataglass Protective Cleaner and a clean cloth on hand.
Strataglass is the best performing clear vinyl on the market, but it still requires care. The scratch resistant coating is just that, scratch resistant. It can still be scratched and requires special handling. Please refer to Strataglass.com for complete recommendations.