Polycarbonate Colours – Choosing the right one

We have one of the most extensive range of polycarbonate products in Australia. Our team of experts are second to none and can advise you on the best solution for your project.

Polycarbonate Colours – Choosing the right one

20th Jun 2016

Need help choosing the right colour of polycarbonate roofing?

Polycarbonate sheets come in a amazing variety of colours and shades.  In this post we will outline a few things you may want to consider when making your colour selection.

Polycarbonate Colours: Light = Heat

As a general rule, the more light that comes through the sheet the hotter it will feel under the sheet.  There are a few exceptions to this rule and these tend to be the premium ranges in the different brands of polycarbonate sheeting.  For example, Suntuf has a SolarSmart range and Laserlite have a 3000 range.  These types of sheets help to skew the amount of light available without letting as much heat through.  They are able to reflect more of the heat.

In warmer areas of Australia like Queensland or Darwin – we generally caution people against using clear sheeting.  In cooler parts of Australia clear can be a great option.

Environmental specifics

Other environmental factors should also play a part in your decision making:

Orientation. Western facing areas may get the hot afternoon sun, for example.  This means that if you’re using polycarbonate roofing for a BBQ patio area you may require cooler coloured sheeting.

Roof height. Hot air rises. So the lower the roof the warmer an area may feel. Another factor is how much air flow the area will get. Do you get good breezes coming into the area?

Shading. Trees or buildings may offer shade over your area a certain times of the day. Consider the time of day you expect you will want to use your polycarbonate covered area the most. This may mean that you can afford to go for a colour that lets more light through during the times when its not shaded.

Lighting. Do you require lots of light to a particular part of the house?  Polycarbonates can be used in conjunction with Metal roofing to create light over the areas where you need it most.  If you are really concerned about heat, have a look at Durashield. Durashield is an alternative to metal roofing.  It is made from PVC, so it wont let any light through (like metal), but it is much cooler as it does not radiate heat.

Aesthetics. You may want to match the colour scheme to existing parts of the house.  You may wish to create privacy with a more opaque choice. You may be after a striking feature colour. Whatever your vision, you are sure to find great options across our wide range of polycarbonate sheeting products.

Explaining the Numbers


Solar Heat Gain Coefficient or SHGC is a number that describes how much heat passes through a material.  It is the amount of solar radiation that passes through the material as well as heat absorbed and released inward.  It is expressed as a number between 0 and 1 – the lower the number the less the heat.  In a hot area you would want a product with a low SHGC number.

U values

U-value is the measure of how well heat is transferred through a material. The lower the U-value the more insulation the material offers – the better it is at keeping the heat or cold out.  You will notice that this is mostly effected by the material and how thick the material is.

In summary, you’re sure to find the perfect colour to suit your needs as there are plenty of colour options when looking at polycarbonate sheets. To choose the colour that will give you the right heat/light scenario for your space, be sure to consider what you use the area for, when you use it and specific environmental factors when making a decision on what colour is going to best suit you.

Have a look at our other pages to see what polycarbonate colours are available in each for the product ranges.

Take a look at the colours available for all our polycarbonate products.

58 thoughts on “Polycarbonate Colours – Choosing the right one

  1. Hi,

    I have a customer who is interested in the Makrolon Multiwall, is there anywhere in Sydney that i can et a sample (paticularly interested in the Grey Tint)


    1. Hi Paul
      If you let me know the address I can get a sample posted.
      Regards Judy
      Polycarbonate roofing

  2. Hi.I’ve had 15 cream coloured laserlite polycarbonate sheets with heat reflective for 8 years. I’ve had to have professional high pressure cleaning to clear the odd ugly moss from it. Now I find the cleaning has removed some of the heat reflective as it’s fairly warm underneath where before it always was cool, no matter how much sun was on it. What can be done to the surface to restore them as before.

    1. Hi Joseph

      Thanks for the email. You may find the change in temperature is due to the sheet being clean…? Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done with these sheets to restore the surface.

      Thanks Team Polycarb

  3. Hi a have a daycare centre with a need to create a feature and excitement throughout the year. Was wondering if yo do a rainbow effect that we could use

    1. Hi Glen

      Nothing in Rainbow… we can supply sheets that are different colours… not sure if that ticks the box?

      Team PC

  4. Hi,
    I have a client that wants to see a sample of the clear corrugated sunturf.
    Would it be possible to request a sample be posted before the 10/08 so we can move forward?

  5. are sheets available 1.220 x 1.2 or 4.8 x 1.2 x 8 and10mm and what is the weight? A tint would be good if available.

    1. Hi Bob

      Thanks for the question. I suspect that you are looking for a twinwall sheet? If this is correct, then the width of the sheet is a problem as they are no longer made 1.2 m wide…

      Contact us if we can be of more assistance.
      Team PC

  6. Hi, We have a U shaped house – we would like to cover the U shaped area with a pergola . we need lots of light and there will be no breeze / hot in summer when we use the pergola for bbq’ing – what sheets should we choose? we are going to install a ceiling fan to assist ventilation. Thanks Wendy.

    1. Hi Wendy

      A common question. Probably, the biggest factor in this is choosing the correct colour. Pay attnetion to the light transmissions on each of the products as a rule the more light the more heat – there are a few exceptions to this rule.

      You are also correct that ventilation may have a large impact. Maybe if in the deisgn phase you could consider a ‘flyover’ design there the pergola roof flys over the house roof – this allows more air to circulate while keeping you dry!

      Some of the twin/muilti wall products do provide additional ‘insulation’ due to the air pockets in the sheet – but again the colour will still be important.

      Hope this helps – get in contact with us if you want to discuss further!
      Team PC

  7. Hi, We have a house surrounded by trees and need to allow as much light through as possible. However, when the leaves and dirt falls on the roof it looks very messy. Which would be the best sheets to use to not see all the dirt and leaves etc, and be able to clean easily plus still let as much light through? Thanks Jane

    1. Hi Jane
      Thanks for your question. The darker colours would be the better ones to hide whatever is up on the roof. You will still be able to see shadows of leaves etc. The more fall you have the better the roof will self clean.
      But the darker colours will allow less light through. Some of the lighter colours are transparent (so you would see everything), some are translucent so perhaps the Cream or Diffused Ice may give you a balance.
      Regards Team PCR

  8. My pergola sheets are solar grey colour over the garden area but allow too much heat thru in really hot weather so the tree ferns and stag horns burn. Only summer of course, fine for most of the year. Is it acceptable to instal a double layer of the sheeting as in fixing another sheet or sheets over the existing ones to make the area darker?

    1. Hi Bob

      It could be used, though it is not commonly done. Generally it comes down to waht plants you are trying to grow and what their requirements are. You would need to closley consider the light trnasmissions of each sheet to gauge what is best.

      Team PC

  9. Hi, I am about to clad the roof of a library, that I will use for my home office. The library roof has a decent slope of about 20 degrees and rises from 2.4 to nearly four metres. The colour of the proposed new roof in colorbond metal will be ‘Windspray’ which is a light grey colour. What is the nearest color match your would suggest in Lazerlite or similar? I intend to put up about 7 to 8 sections of 1.2 metre length polycarbonate with steel above and below the ploycarbonate panels. That means the total area of the roof will be about 20-25% polycarbonate (to allow some light into the East facing library roof. I live about 100 ks North East of Melbourne, we have very hot summers and coldish winters. Regards, Robert Gardiner,

    1. Hi Robert
      Thanks for your enquiry. I think the best option is if you email sales@polycarbonate.com.au with your address I will get some samples posted out to you.
      The best colour match may not be the best option for heat/light transmission. Colours look different once the light is passing through them so you need to look at them holding them up to the light.
      Regards Team PCR

  10. Hi. We have a pergola along the northern length of our house commencing from an eastern house wall and ending open on the western end. We want to retain as much northern light in our house in winter but need shelter from the heat in summer and frost in winter. Which product would be best suited to our region of Canberra /Queanbeyan.

    1. Hi Linda
      Thanks for your enquiry. Generally the best colour for allowing light but reducing heat is the SolarSmart Diffused Ice in the Suntuf range. If you look at the light/heat chart on the Suntuf page you will see there are other colours that will reduce the heat more but the light does drop down. So this one gives a good balance. If you contact us from the enquiry form on the web page we can send you samples as required.
      Hope this helps.
      Regards Team PCR

  11. Hi
    We have a converted American Barn style house. We currently have clear polycarb corrugated sheeting on the length of one side on the high part of the wall cladding between the side annex and the high middle section . This length of wall faces south west. I wish to replace it with Suntuf Sunlite Twin Wall Polycarbonate. Could you advise if this would be suitable to keep the warmth in during winter but prevent potentially hot summer western afternoon sun/heat getting in during summer. We would like transparency to allow the views from above, keep heat in during winter but reduce heat in summer. We are in the southern tablelands between ACT and the south coast. Also what colour would be best given this scenario for heat retention in winter and deflection in summer.

    1. Hi Rob

      Thanks for your enquiry. If your area is fully enclosed then the twin wall will offer some insulation. As far as keeping heat out in the summer the better colours are not the transparent ones so you want transparency then your colour choice is limited.
      I have attached the link below for the Sunlite page – look at the shading co-efficient and SHGC figures for each colour. In the shading co-efficient the higher the number the less shade and for the Solar heat gain the lower the number the cooler it is.
      I hope this helps. I will email you actual sheet photos so you can see how much transparency there is with each colour.
      Regards Team PCR

  12. Hi, I have to replace several sheets of polycarbonate roofing that was damaged by hail and I am having a hard time choosing a colour. The current (damaged) sheets are clear and have not really worn all that well. They have started to yellow and are quite cloudy (for want of a better description). I have a zincalume roof and would prefer something that matched that little better. I still want a fair bit of light, but increased sun protection and heat reduction would also be appreciated. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Lyn
      Sorry for the late reply just found your email in the spam folder. Clear is never recommended due to the high heat transfer and depending on ventiation of the area can end up like a sauna. The best colour for reducing heat but still allowing light through is the Diffused Ice in the Suntuf SolarSmart range. If you mean you want to better match the zincalume in colour then you may want to look at the Greys – see the brochure for the light and heat transmission figures of each colour (link below). Maybe the Transparent Grey or Diffused Grey also in the SolarSmart range.
      Regards Team PCR

  13. Hi, We have a pergola which has some garden areas. Currently, it is under green heavy duty shade cloth. We would like to change the top to Suntuf sheets to protect the metal poles. We would like to select the type of sheets that allows enough light for the plants. We are in South Australia, the summer is hotter and winter colder here than in the eastern states. We would like the sheets being reasonably heat resists but not too much. Is the Smooth Creamy sheet a good choice? Another reason we are considering this one is that it matches the surrounding color. Thanks.

    1. Hi Julie

      Thank you for your question.
      Most shade cloths will give you a rating on ‘block out’ – this can be useful when trying to compare to polycarbonate options.
      Commenting on the correct colour for plants is more difficult. It will be dependent on the type of plants that you are growing. Some shade tolerant plants will be fine with any colour, some plants will definitely more light, you may also consider the ambient light which will come down to design elements such as height of the roof and if there are any walls etc.
      You can compare the relevant light and heat transmission numbers here this gives a good guide of how the products will compare to each other. Of course, there is still a little guess work as to how the sheets will perform in a real world situation, as there are many factors that will influence the heat and light – such as direction that the patio faces, height of the structure, air flow, other walls, roof design etc.

      Hopefully this helps to guide your decision making.
      Team PC

  14. Hello,
    The Makrolon is an awesome product.

    Currently quoting jobs on Verandahs and Pergolas, down in Hobart region. Have you got a Hobart store that carries the product?

    Can I please get a couple of sample boxes to have as reference material for client to view please?
    Email is provided, could you touch base?

  15. Hi There ,
    I do a number of pergolas and verandahs in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs And customers always ask for samples for both laserlite 2000 and 3000 is it possible to get some samples sent out

    Regards Ben
    Uniform building

  16. Hi, I am looking at replace some polycarbonate over a pergola and am trying to work out the main difference in terms of performance between the twinwall and suntuf. Thank you

    1. Hi Toni
      Thanks for your enquiry.
      Apart from the obvious looks i.e. flat compared to a profile i.e. corrugated, if you look at the Light and heat transmission figures on the brochures this will give you the comparison between the two products.
      Light transmission is the amount of light passing through the sheet. For heat look at the Shading Co-efficient and the Solar Heat Gain Co-efficient (SHGC). The lower the number the cooler it is.
      I will email you these charts through.
      Regards Team PCR

  17. Hello,
    Is the Suntuf polycarbonate suitable for covering over an open BBQ area? If so, are there any minimum separation distances from the BBQ to the roof material? I’m intending to slope the roof, so that may help with heat dissipation, and the roof would be held up by posts so all sides would be ventilated.

    1. Hi Allissa
      Thanks for your enquiry. Yes polycarbonate if fine to use on a BBQ area.
      There is no set distance required as clearance between the BBQ (or heat source) and the roof. It all depends on how much heat is being emitted.
      The long term service temperature for polycarbonate is -50 to +100°C. The open sides will help with heat dissipation as you say and the height of the roof will also be a factor.
      Regards Team PCR

  18. I’m trying to choose a colour of sheeting to stop heat coming through (i had purchased a gazebo from bunnings and the polycarbonate sheeting doesn’t stop the heat as much as i would like – i live in northern qld) – i have a daybed that i want to sheet the roof – no. 1 to stop the rain, but also want something that’ll stop the heat coming through (unlike the gazebo i have) – which would you suggest – i am confused with the percentages that are in the chart – is that the amount of heat it allows through – or the amount of heat it reflects – so is it the lower the percentage number the more heat resistant? thank you.

    1. Hi Sonya
      Thanks for your enquiry.
      It depends which brochure you are looking at. For example the Suntuf brochure shows Light Transfer and Solar Transmittance figures – so this is the amount of light and heat passing THROUGH the sheet.
      However if you are looking at the Laserlite brochure this show Light transmission -so light passing THROUGH the sheet, but Heat REDUCTION – so heat reflected from the sheet.
      So just keep an eye on the wording. Hope this helps clarify the figures for you.
      If you are just looking for a corrugated style roof sheet then in the Suntuf range the Diffused Ice or in the Laserlite range the Frost will give you the best balance of allowing light but reducing heat.
      Team PCR

  19. Hi, we are replacing some areas of 5-rib on our deck area, and I was hoping to have a ‘warm’ coloured poly- such as an amber, that also reduces heat. At the moment i am looking at the bronze or the cream in the laserlight range. I am trying to get a sense of what these might look like? Does the bronze colour feel hot to sit under (emotionally-as in if it is a hot day does the bronze exasperate this feeling. i am aware of the heat rating)? i know that i love the look of amber lights, and was hoping to get a warm amber glow of colour reflecting into the house. We had hoped for a clear tint panel, but it seems that the cream gives the best light:heat reduction ratio. Do you have any links to pictures using either of these panel colours so i can try and get a sense of them? Thanking you

    1. Hi Eva
      Thanks for your enquiry. Yes the Bronze colour would give an amber light underneath. The Bronze has 25% light transmission and 48% heat transmission. Cream has 44% light transmission and 33% heat transmission for will be lighter and cooler but you cannot see through the Cream.
      If you email us at sales@polycarbonate.com.au with your postal address I can send you samples of the Bronze and Cream.
      Regards Team PCR

  20. Hello and thanks for the FAQs and Q&As – i’m finding them very useful.
    We have a U shape house with the patio area in the middle currently covered by roofing iron – we also would like to get more light in but not heat! We are both quite sun-sensitive so don’t want to burn.
    We are also wondering if your products have to be installed on a flat surface as our current structure is higher than the rest of the roof (i think the term is ‘flyover’) and has a bend to facilitate water runoff.

    Thanks for considering our questions.

    1. Hi Zan
      Thanks for your enquiry. All polycarbonate provides UV protection. This protects the sheet as well as you. The different colours then allow different amounts of light and heat to pass through the sheet. Refer to the brochure for light and heat figures.
      Yes the sheets can be used on a flyover situation, you will need to have the appropriate rafters/purlins depending on the style of sheet you use.
      When you say ‘bend’ do you mean the fall of the roof (which should be a minimum of 5 degrees for water runoff) or do you mean a bull nose on the end of the sheet?
      Regards Team PCR

  21. Hi,
    I’m wanting to put a clear polycarbonate roof on my carport and on my back deck. I’ve been advised that one with a tint would be advisable to reduce heat but I also don’t want to compromise on the light that comes through. Would you be able to advise and also do you also quote for installation?

    1. Hi Nila
      Thanks for your enquiry. Yes any Clear sheet is going to allow maximum heat to pass through and depending on the area could intensify the heat. Things you need to consider are: how much ventilation the area has, height of roof, how much natural shade/sun the area gets. Once you decide which profile you want to use if you check the brochure it will tell you how much light and heat is passing through the sheet for each colour. For example corrugated profile, the better colour for reducing heat would be Opal, Cream or Diffused Ice while still allowing good light (but not as much as Clear).
      Regards Team PCR

  22. Hi.. I would like to replace some poly carbonate sheets. I would like something that can reduce the heat, but allow plenty of light. Someone suggested opal color. I now have standard black tinted sheets, but too hot.

    1. Hi Marg
      Thanks for your enquiry. Yes Opal will give a good balance between light and heat.
      If you look at the brochures for either Suntuf or Laserlite, the light and heat figures are shown on the brochure.
      You will get better heat reduction from either the Suntuf SolarSmart range or Laserlite 3000 colours. Links below for both pages.

      Regards Team PCR

  23. Hello, I am hesitating between Polycarbonate twin wall and Suntuf. Could u explain the difference between both products (as the price is quite different)
    Also what is the difference between laser lite multi-wall 10 and 18?

    1. Hi Olivier
      Thanks for your enquiry.
      Suntuf is a profiled sheet i.e. corrugated, greca or trimdek. These are a standard 0.8mm thick. These sheets overlap onto each other and are screwed down.
      This type of profiled sheet requires purlins to fit so if you have an existing structure will depend on what those spacings are. Minimum pitch required is 5 degrees.

      Twinwall is like a corflute sheet so it is flat top and bottom with an air cells in-between. The standard stocked thickness is 10mm. I am not aware of a Laserlite multiwall 18mm.
      Twinwall sheets need aluminium joiners with a rubber gasket to join together, and then end caps and other accessories are required to fit. Hence the extra cost.
      Laserlite Twinwall requires rafters at 1070mm centres for the 1050mm wide sheet or 720mm centres for the 700mm wide sheet. Minimum pitch required is 5 degrees.

      Hope this helps with your decision. If you email us at sales@polycarbonate.com.au with the area dimensions we can work out costing for both products if required.

      Regards Team PCR.

  24. Hi what is the best option to use in a greenhouse. I’m thinking clear but maybe to hot. I’m in southern Victoria. Cheers PAUL

    1. Hi Paul

      Thanks for this question! It’s not an uncommon one for us.

      It is very hard to give a definitive answer, but please consider these points:

      1. What are you growing? Critically, the choice of polycarbonate will be dependent on what you are growing. We are certainly NOT experts in plants, however, growers of things like tomatoes, chilies etc generally go for clear. Orchid growers for example tend towards Opal (translucent white). The brochures give the light transmission for each colour – this should definately be 1st consideration.

      2. In commercial style greenhouse clear is the most commonly used – as plants need light! However, in large scale buildings there is built in ventilation to account for temp control. Also consider how you might need to design the structure to help vent built up heat on hot days!

      So, clear maybe fine… depending on what you are growing and if you can open a window?

      Team PC

  25. the suntuf solar grey corrugated profile and the suntuf solar grey greca appear to be two different shades of grey. We prefer the greca colour but the smoother more rounded corrugated profile. Is the darker grey (greca) as shown on your website available in the simpler smooth corrugated profile?

    1. Hi Trish

      There is no difference in colour between profiles. They will be the same. I’m not sure which photo/photos you are referring to but i can only suggest it is the photo itself, not the product.

      If in doubt we can send a colour chip to you so that you can see the colour.

      Thanks TEAM PCR

  26. Looking for a polycarbonate roof to my shade house for orchids. What is the best percentage block or allowable light for orchids?

    1. Hi Joe

      We certainly don’t claim to be experts in Orchids (as were are certainly not)… but in our experience, most orchid growers tend towards opal as a colour – approx 50 light.

      Hope this is of assistance.

      Let us know if you need a quote!

      Team PC

  27. We are looking at re-roofing our pergola as existing 25 year old suntuff has holes and is cracking when we access it. We are trying to compare heat loss and gain from Beehive compared to solarsmart compared to standard polycarbonate. I am having trouble finding chart/details that compare similar colors across the different ranges. Could you point me to a link offering a comparision?
    We are in Adelaide so heat is a major consideration
    Regards Peter

    1. Hi Peter

      Thanks for the question. I have linked the brochures below for the products that you have mentioned.

      Suntuf (Standard and SolarSmart) SUNTUF
      Beehive BEEHIVE

      Let us know if you need anymore assistence.

      TEAM PC

  28. I live in NSW and I am trying to choose between the colours opal and diffused ice – I am building a 8 meter long pergola that will be covering my tropical foliage plants, orchids and other shade loving plants and the structure will be running down the west side of my brick house, it will also be sheltering the windows to the bedroom and lounge.

    I want it to allow good light in but not enough to burn the plants and to keep some heat out in summer.

    When I look a diffused Ice in the hardware store the colour looks nice but also looks very thick.. does it let light in ?

    What colour is best

    1. Hi Kathy

      Both of these colours transmit light. Opal will let through more light but more hear than the Diffused Ice. It is not possible for us to say which colour is best in these circumstances. From past experience, customer have used both of these products for similar applications.

      We hope this is of some assistance.

      Team PCR

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