Originally Posted by kthoennes
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