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Old 01-26-2022, 12:22 PM   #1
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Clear Vinyl for Extreme Cold?

I've searched the forum and there were a few threads on winter coverings or window insulation, but not on this particular question. Anybody have a recommendation for a clear vinyl that has very good resistance to cracking in temps below zero?

Just a couple years ago we spent thousands to re-do our canvas. We used a canvas and awning place here in Sioux Falls. The work looked fine, but this winter nearly the entire canopy, almost every panel, shattered to pieces in the cold. We even shrink wrap the boat but we checked it last weekend (about 10*F at the time, that's about -12 C). The two year old vinyl had shattered to little pieces, so brittle it would break just like thin glass. You'd pick up a piece and it would snap like a saltine cracker. We don't even get a lot of intense UV light damage, like say Florida. Nearly every panel is ruined.

We took the broken panels home and laid them out -- once they warm up to room temperature they're all nice and flexible again, but in our climate that doesn't cut it. Of course we don't move or bend the clear vinyl at all in the winter, the boat just sits on jackstands under shrink wrap, but we can't have vinyl so fragile in the cold. We could take down the entire canopy every fall and put it all back in the spring, but our weather can drop below freezing at the beginning and ends of each season too when it's launched and in the water.

I've googled for severe cold vinyl and found some manufacturers that say their vinyl is still flexible and "resists cracking" to a zillion below zero, but of course vendors are going to say that. Any real-world recommendations or experience from our friends on the forum? And does thin gauge tend to crack less than thicker stuff, or vice versa? Thanks all.
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Old 01-26-2022, 12:57 PM   #2
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A lot of people I know take the stuff down over the winter. I have no idea what the vinyl is on my boat, but it hasn't cracked over a winter yet (it does get very stiff and I won't move it below freezing). I've taken the boat out with the canvas up with weather in the 30s and had no issues.

It used to be taken down and stored on the bunks when the boat was shrink wrapped. The last few years it's been in unheated indoor storage, so I've left the canvas up.
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Old 01-26-2022, 01:32 PM   #3
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Was it Strataglass? I have been told there is a possibility of it cracking in the cold.
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Old 01-26-2022, 05:34 PM   #4
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Here's some info from SailRite's website:


Strataglass: This press-polished window material has a VueShieldô protective, scratch-resistant coating. Available in 30-, 40- and 60-gauge thicknesses. 40-gauge comes in Clear and Light Smoke. Cold Crack Rating of -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

OíSea: This polyvinyl chloride, press-polished window material is chemically resistant to suntan lotion, insect repellent and jet fuel vapor. It has a slightly bluish tint. Available in 30- and 40-gauge thicknesses in Clear only. Cold Crack Rating of -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Regalite: A standard polyvinyl chloride marine grade window material in a flexible, press-polished sheet without the superior chemical resistance that OíSea has. Available in 20-, 30- and 40-gauge thicknesses in Clear only. Cold Crack Rating of -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Crystal Clear: This press-polished window material is made using the same materials and manufacturing as Strataglass, but it does not have the VueShield protective coating. Available in 20-, 30- and 40-gauge thicknesses. 40-gauge comes in Clear and Light Smoke. Cold Crack Rating of -10 degrees Fahrenheit.


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Old 01-26-2022, 06:06 PM   #5
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I got 5 seasons out of my very expensive O Sea glass. in a cockpit canvass.

If you want it to last, make winter panels out of canvass.

I am taking another approach. Moving the boat to somewhere it does not get so cold.
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Old 01-26-2022, 06:23 PM   #6
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I got 5 seasons out of my very expensive O Sea glass. in a cockpit canvass.

If you want it to last, make winter panels out of canvass.

I am taking another approach. Moving the boat to somewhere it does not get so cold.
Or put boat in heated winter storage.
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Old 01-26-2022, 06:39 PM   #7
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Or put boat in heated winter storage.
Baja is calling my name!

I go back in March and then start the long trip south the first week of May.
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Old 01-26-2022, 08:35 PM   #8
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Whether rolled up or down and in place, my clear vinyl stays wherever it is if it gets cold. I never mess with it until it is at least 60F again.
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Old 01-26-2022, 08:40 PM   #9
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Simple advise. Leave it alone. When the temp climbs to 55f or warmer, then do your maintenance.

We are full time cruisers. 35f and I attempted to push the snow off. Hand went right through it. Expensive lesson.
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Old 01-26-2022, 09:23 PM   #10
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I was talking to a professional canvas guy about clear vinyl. He was the one thaat told me Stamoid had a problem with cold weather. He recommended Regalite so that it what I made the enclosures on our last boat out of since we stored it in unheated winter storage. Our current boat will be in heated storage so we went with Strataglass. The posting above from Sailrite tends to confirm this idea too.
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Old 01-27-2022, 02:44 AM   #11
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Cold Temperature

I have a full winter cover from October to March/April. Usually I put my canvas either inside the boat or take it home. This year I got a little lazy and just put it on the aft deck and put a plastic cover over it. It stays dry all winter under my boat cover, but it does get cold. This year it went down to -10c. When it was that cold I didn't touch my canvas. One good thing about my dark cover is that it warms up as soon as the sun comes out and it gets very hot, in the high 30's centigrade. I hope my vinyl will be ok, time will tell.
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Old 01-27-2022, 02:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by grahamdouglass View Post
I have a full winter cover from October to March/April. Usually I put my canvas either inside the boat or take it home. This year I got a little lazy and just put it on the aft deck and put a plastic cover over it. It stays dry all winter under my boat cover, but it does get cold. This year it went down to -10c. When it was that cold I didn't touch my canvas. One good thing about my dark cover is that it warms up as soon as the sun comes out and it gets very hot, in the high 30's centigrade. I hope my vinyl will be ok, time will tell.
Hopefully it will be fine if you donít move it at all. Any idea what brand the clear vinyl is?
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Old 01-27-2022, 03:58 AM   #13
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No idea what brand it is. In April I will give it a good cleaning and see how it faired. I was doing some extensive electrical work so I didn't have the space to store it inside.
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Old 01-27-2022, 09:39 AM   #14
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Now you've got me wondering. I just replaced all the windows with 40g O'Sea vinyl. They're now laying out on the stateroom bed and it's been down to 10F at night. We'll see. The O'Sea got better reviews and was a little cheaper than Strataglass but I haven't heard how it does in extreme cold. The old windows were Strataglass and most had cracks, but I don't know how old they were.
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Old 01-27-2022, 10:18 AM   #15
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Google Verilon vinyl. Stuff used for door curtains on ice cream freezer warehouses. The low temp spec -50F.
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Old 01-27-2022, 10:22 AM   #16
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have any of you tried polycarbonate (Lexan) in cold weather?
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Old 01-27-2022, 10:44 AM   #17
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Regalite: A standard polyvinyl chloride marine grade window material in a flexible, press-polished sheet without the superior chemical resistance that OíSea has. Available in 20-, 30- and 40-gauge thicknesses in Clear only. Cold Crack Rating of -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
We had Regalite side and aft panels, no issues over winter.


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I was talking to a professional canvas guy about clear vinyl. He was the one thaat told me Stamoid had a problem with cold weather.
Stamoid isn't a clear panel. That said, we used our original Stamoid front windshield cover over the winters, no issues over 18 years.


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have any of you tried polycarbonate (Lexan) in cold weather?
We had Makrolon front panels, no issues.

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Old 01-27-2022, 11:23 AM   #18
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Thanks so much for all the responses so far. This forum is always so helpful. Yeah, I'd sure rather take it all down off-season, lay it flat, store it heated, never touch it when it's cold, but that still won't avoid the problem. As I mentioned, it still gets very cold at the top and bottom of the seasons. They let us keep our boats in until mid-October. This year it was late October. The water stays warm enough but the air especially at night can dive well below freezing. Last October we stayed on the boat while sleet was tapping on the canopy. Have to find cold-tolerant vinyl. "Don't touch it" just won't work for us.
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Old 01-27-2022, 11:24 AM   #19
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have any of you tried polycarbonate (Lexan) in cold weather?
I have a carport with polycarbonate panels for its roof. After a week of -10į C weather had passed through, I power washed that whole roof to get the cedar litter off. Panels are now over 10 yrs in and no issues.
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Old 02-06-2022, 09:10 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by kthoennes View Post
I've searched the forum and there were a few threads on winter coverings or window insulation, but not on this particular question. Anybody have a recommendation for a clear vinyl that has very good resistance to cracking in temps below zero?

Just a couple years ago we spent thousands to re-do our canvas. We used a canvas and awning place here in Sioux Falls. The work looked fine, but this winter nearly the entire canopy, almost every panel, shattered to pieces in the cold. We even shrink wrap the boat but we checked it last weekend (about 10*F at the time, that's about -12 C). The two year old vinyl had shattered to little pieces, so brittle it would break just like thin glass. You'd pick up a piece and it would snap like a saltine cracker. We don't even get a lot of intense UV light damage, like say Florida. Nearly every panel is ruined.

We took the broken panels home and laid them out -- once they warm up to room temperature they're all nice and flexible again, but in our climate that doesn't cut it. Of course we don't move or bend the clear vinyl at all in the winter, the boat just sits on jackstands under shrink wrap, but we can't have vinyl so fragile in the cold. We could take down the entire canopy every fall and put it all back in the spring, but our weather can drop below freezing at the beginning and ends of each season too when it's launched and in the water.

I've googled for severe cold vinyl and found some manufacturers that say their vinyl is still flexible and "resists cracking" to a zillion below zero, but of course vendors are going to say that. Any real-world recommendations or experience from our friends on the forum? And does thin gauge tend to crack less than thicker stuff, or vice versa? Thanks all.
Hi from Canada, I can assume you that the PVC clear material was not suitable for the application. There are thousands of tops left in place over the winter where the temp can go to -35 f and they do not self district. Get in touch with a company that makes boat tops, not awnings they will know what grade of PVC to use. Splendido
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