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Strataglass Comparison

Strataglass

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Strataglass is a clear, press-polished, poly-vinyl sheet (PVC) with a special, scratch resistant coating.  Strataglass, LLC brought this technology to market in 1994 and revolutionized the marine enclosure industry. Since that time, it has been adopted into the automotive and architectural industries as well as a few other niche markets.

Clear vinyl products have the advantage of being flexible and rollable but this comes at a price. To be flexible, it has to be softer than its stiff counterparts (glass, plexiglass, acrylics, polycarbonates, etc) which means it scratches easier.  The addition of the Strata coating to our vinyl helps avoid these scratches but the product is not scratch-proof, it can be damaged and proper care should be taken to avoid sharp edges and scuff points.

With proper care (use of the IMAR products as described on the Care and Maintenance video) customers can expect a life expectancy in excess of 3-5 years. Areas of intense sun exposure or industrial fallout will stress the vinyl, you may recommend increased coverage with the IMAR Strataglass Polish for these areas.

Sheet size is 54in x 110in (137cm x 279cm). Choice of thickness is .030 mil, .040 mil, and .060 mil. The .040 mil version has the option of clear, light smoke or dark smoke tints.

Why Strataglass over uncoated vinyl?

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  • When it comes to vinyl, pressed polished sheets are far superior to extruded vinyl rolls in color consistency, clarity and dimensional stability.  With the addition of the Strataglass coating, we take a superior pressed-polished vinyl product and further enhance it to be resistant to fine scratches and pollutants, while adding more UV resistance.  Strataglass is much easier to work with, handle, fabricate, and install as uncoated vinyls are easily scratched. 
  • The number one cause of vinyl failure, over time, is exposure to the sun.  The majority of boats are kept outside, not in warehouse rack storage, which means the sun is constantly baking away at the surface.  All this heat and UV exposure eventually takes its toll in the form of evaporating plasticizers (the component that makes clear vinly pliable).  Once a sufficient quantity of plasticizers are lost, the vinyl becomes brittle, changes color and can eventually crack.  Strataglass’ coating seals in the majority of these plasticizers prolonging the natural aging process, giving Strataglass a much better lifespan than uncoated vinyls.  To further enhance the coating, polishing and sealing Strataglass (or any vinyl) with a quality product, like the IMAR Strataglass Protective Polish, on a regular basis, will further protect the vinyl.  Applying polish to vinyl is the equivalent to putting suntan lotion on your skin when exposed to direct sunlight.  The more often you use it, the more protection it can provide.

Strataglass Panels vs. Rigid Panels

  Rigid Strataglass  
Cost Expensive Advantage  
Sheet Size Typically 48” x 96” 54” x 110”  
Shipping Flat, requires common carrier Rolls up / can ship UPS  
Ease of Manufacture (panels) Sew / Glue / Tape Advantage  
Sewable Depends on thickness Yes  
Can Roll Up No Yes  
Can Add U-zips No Yes  
Radius (corner windows) Rigid, limited radius Easily conforms to bends  
Resistance to Damage / Scratches Advantage Moderate  
Restorable Once Damaged Many scratches can be buffed out (uncoated versions) Slightly / Rarely  
Life Expectancy 3 years 3-5 years  
       

Strataglass vs. Uncoated Vinyl

  Rolled Vinyl (Isinglass) Uncoated Pressed Polished Sheets Strataglass (Coated Press Polished Sheets)  
Cost Inexpensive Mid-range Expensive  
Size 54” x 15/20/30/40 yard roll 54” x 110” 54” x 110”  
Thickness

0.01 - 0.04 mil

0.02 / 0.03 / 0.04 / 0.06 mil 0.03 / 0.04 / 0.06 mil  
Shipping Equal Equal Equal  
Handling Soft, scratches easily

Scratches

Scratch resistant  
Clarity Prone to distortion Clear Clear  
Shape Often wavy/wrinkled Holds shape Holds shape  
Longevity Easily damaged Mid-range Coating adds protection  
UV Protection UV built in UV built in UV built in and sealed