KLK Tips: Quality Boat Canvas Means Quality Window Material

KLK Boat Canvas

Feb 22, 2024

Clear plastic (Polyvinyl or Polycarbonate) used on any enclosure windows plays a paramount role in the esthetic and functional qualities of the project. In general, the quality of the canvas enclosure is a function of many factors – the workmanship, quality of trim and design, the quality of fabric (where Sunbrella represents a gold standard), and quality of the clear plastic/vinyl.

Our experience and knowledge about clear window plastic is supported by our eight-year industry experience making enclosures. We have participated in various know-how types of seminars in the United States and shared active interactions with the industry-recognized experts, and with the makers of the plastics.  

Our (KLK Canvas) experience with boaters in Ontario suggests that the lowest price of the enclosure in most cases wins the bid. However, many customers who accept our bid express a desire during the project to go for the top-of-the-line plastic grade, such as flexible Polyvinyl StrataGlass or rigid Polycarbonate. This usually adds the material cost to an additional $1800 on the average 35 ft boat. Still, the material cost component remains within 20% -25% of the project cost.

We make boat enclosures the quality way. Our company offers world-class workmanship, world-class trim, and design which are supported by digital scanning and CAD pattern development in 3D. Consequently, we believe that going with cheap vinyl under these circumstances may be not right.

Plastic grades

There are four window plastics available from our firm. Three represent flexible Polyvinyl and the fourth one is rigid Polycarbonate (or a blend of polycarbonate panels with StrataGlass panels).

  1. Economy vinyl.

This is an inexpensive grade material still considered as marine grade window vinyl. However, it could shrink in one or another direction, develop color, or become hazy. These negative signs show as early as two years after installation.

Its poor optical clarity shows immediately, and it is considerably inferior to the optical quality of Strata Glass. Choosing the Economy PVC, one should be prepared to accept manufacturer imperfections such as occasional air bubbles or some areas with stronger optical distortions. 

  • Top Grade StrataGlass with anti-scratch and UV protection treatment.

StrataGlass is obtained by uniform heat and uniform pressure treatment between two highly polished hot metal plates. This helps to restore polymer molecules’ natural space orientation giving the vinyl improved physical stability, low coefficient of shrinkage, and high quality of optical clarity. In some steps of this process, the vinyl receives anti-scratch and UV protection treatment.

  • Crystal Clear economy-grade of Strata Glass.

Crystal Clear receives the same heat treatment as the top-grade StrataGlass. It does not have anti-scratch protection or anti-UV protection. Otherwise, these two grades are not distinguishable, however, going with Crystal Clear gives customers savings of around 40% vs. top-grade StrataGlass.

  • Polycarbonate yields rigid, the most elegant window panels.

The customer may consider Polycarbonate rigid panels for the window panels he is not going to remove (or play with) during the boating season. However, our CAD technology permits us to incorporate smile window (rollable) into polycarbonate panel.

Using the right plastic creates a canvas top, enclosure or bimini that looks superb and remains durable for years to repel the elements and retain its integrity. KLK is always conscious of competitive price and turnaround time.

The company’s team carries the same care and craftsmanship to cockpit and interior upholstery, sail covers, dodgers and deluxe sun pads as well as to repairs of existing canvas.

cockpit upholstery done right

Learn more about KLK here.

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