Skip to content
Home / Help / Glass vs Acrylic

COMPARING GLASS & ACRYLIC:
BOTH HAVE THEIR ADVANTAGES

Both glass and acrylic skylights effectively brighten a room with the brilliance of natural light. Glass and acrylic serve different purposes, and are suitable for different applications. Columbia has an extensive history of manufacturing products using both materials.
  • The following overview will highlight the characteristics and features of the two products, to help you choose the right material for your project.
  • If you are a homeowner it is important to discuss glazing type with your architect, contractor or roofing company.

Two excellent options, choose based on your Requirements

Glass

Glass Skylight
Columbia is the leader in Double & Triple Glazed Glass Skylights
  • Glass provides superior clarity and quality of light. It comes in double or triple glazed, including energy efficient options in our ENERGY STAR® certified products.
  • Columbia offers the widest range of glass options in Canada, and FAKRO produces an exceptional selection of glass incorporating the latest technology.
  • All Columbia glass skylights include Cardinal LoE3 366 coating: ideal for the Canadian climate.
  • Glass can be tinted for locations with intense sunlight (bronze or grey), and is available with the innovative Neat coating that breaks down organic material, making for easy cleaning.
  • Columbia’s glass is manufactured by world renowned US-based Cardinal Glass Industries. We have partnered with this industry leader for decades, selecting the optimal glass for the Canadian market.
  • FAKRO offers a range of energy efficient European manufactured glass, including the revolutionary U8 quadruple glass unit – a first for a skylight sold in Canada.

COLUMBIA GLASS
FAKRO GLASS

Features of Glass

Value Icon
Value For Money
  • Glass skylight models can be manufactured at a lower cost than acrylic.
  • Glass comes in energy efficient double or triple glazing, saving you money over the life of the skylight.
Clarity Icon
clarity & transparency
  • Glass skylights are crystal clear and transparent, letting in the maximum amount of natural light.
  • Humans thrive in a well lit interior environment, every aspect of life is improved – cooking, working, studying, exercising, even sleeping (because natural light helps to set you body’s internal clock).
  • The light passing though glass has a brightness and vibrancy not possible with other materials or from artificial light. Glass lets in a light of unsurpassed quality and luster.

LEARN MORE

Security Icon
Laminated Glass – Additional Security
  • Glass is strong and scratch resistant – tempered glass is about 4 times more durable than conventional annealed glass.
  • Laminated glass provides an added level of security because it holds together even when cracked. It is incredibly hard to break through.
  • The glazing unit is made up of panes of glass with one (for double glazing) or two (for triple glazing) chambers between them filled with argon gas. The outer panes are tempered glass, and the interior pane is made of two panes of glass laminated together by a strong plastic interlayer.
Double Glazed Icon
Double glazed options

Columbia offers an extensive range of double glazed units, suitable for most applications.

LoE clear, tinted, laminated, or NEAT® – including LoE3 366-i89 which delivery energy efficiency performance close to triple glazing. Tinting comes in bronze or grey, or reflective bronze or grey. NEAT has an innovative coating that breaks down organic matter, making it easily wash off with a hose.

LEARN MORE

Triple Glazed Icon
Triple glazing, the sustainable choice
  • Columbia is the expert in triple glazing, we offer more triple glazed options than any other Canadian manufacturer. Tempered and laminated options, with exceptional ENERGY STAR® efficiency.
  • We were the first to to introduce triple glazing to the Canadian market.
  • We offer triple glazing on all our skylight models, fixed and venting, in all standard and custom sizes. Ask us about the benefits of triple glazing.

LEARN MORE

Energy Icon Circle Icon
ENERGY STAR® certified options
  • Columbia has the widest range of ENERGY STAR® certified skylights in Canada.
  • By choosing an ENERGY STAR® skylight you save on energy costs and protect the environment.
  • Every glass skylight Columbia manufactures has an ENERGY STAR® glazing option.
  • Offering outstanding UV protection. 95% UV protection on Temp/Temp glass. 99% UV protection on Laminated glass.
  • Keeping out heat in the summer and keeping it in during the winter. Saving you money on your energy bills.

LEARN MORE

Less Condensation Icon
Less condensation
  • The sealed glazing unit, with its panes of glass, insulated spacer, argon gas fill, and modern adhesives bonding it together reduce the chance of condensation forming. Condensation cannot form inside the unit, because they are hermetically sealed.
  • The glass unit works in combination with the interior frame to virtually eliminate condensation under normal conditions.
  • Columbia provides a 20 Year sealed unit warranty, against condensation between the glass panes.

LEARN MORE

Appearance Icon
Appearance
  • Glass creates a sleek flat appearance on a roof. Its smooth reflective quality provides an attractive modern look that compliments current architectural trends.
  • Dome or pyramid skylights are better suited for flat roof applications where they can’t typically be seen from the exterior.
Sound Reduction Icon
Sound Reduction
  • A glass glazing unit provides superior sound insulation, significantly reducing outside noise, such as traffic, or airplane noise.
  • You can choose triple glazing and triple glazing with lamination for extreme situations, the thin layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB polymer) dampens sound waves.
Less Maintenance Icon
LESS Maintenance
  • Glass is easy to clean because of its smooth hard finish; accumulated dirt is easily washed away. Simply clean the skylight with water and a mild detergent.
  • All Columbia skylight glass can be coated with NEAT® – an innovative coating to keep your skylight cleaner longer, repelling organic matter, and requiring little more than a spray with a hose to keep them clean. Available by special order, when ordering your skylight.

LEARN MORE

Bronze Grey Icon
TINTED Bronze & Grey options
  • As well as clear glass, Columbia produces skylights with bronze and grey tinted and reflective glass. Tinting reduces the sun’s glare and reflective has mirror finish that reflects the intensity of the sunlight and provides additional protection.
  • Bronze and grey tints allow you to reduce the sun’s glare in regions with intense sunlight.
  • Grey tint softens the light, creating a soft cool lustre.
  • Bronze acts like a sunglass lens, reducing the sun’s intensity and producing a warm golden light.

LEARN MORE

99 Percent Recycleable Icon
99% RECYLABLE
  • If you are replacing a skylight for a newer model or because of damage, be reassured by the fact that almost the entire skylight can be recycled – the glass, the aluminum frame, and metal components like screws.
  • Glass and aluminum are some of the easiest materials to recycle. Columbia also recycles our waste PVC, acrylic, and polycarbonate.

LEARN MORE

Acrylic

Acrylic Skylight
Decades of experience producing Acrylic Dome and Pyramid Skylights
  • An acrylic skylight can be produced to a larger size than glass, ideal for situations where considerable natural light is needed.
  • It can be installed on a flat roof without the need for a sloped curb because of the dome or pyramid shape allows water to flow off its surface.
  • Available in double or triple glazed options – the acrylic can be tinted for locations with intense sunlight, bronze and white.
  • Acrylic is a versatile material and can be formed into large rectangular dome, square pyramid or circular dome shapes, based on the requirements of the application.
  • Dome or pyramid skylights can be produced in exceptionally strong polycarbonate, which is virtually unbreakable and has a lower flame spread rating.
  • Slimlite Logo RedColumbia and Slimlite produce advanced industrial grade commercial and residential skylights (Slimlite is part of the Columbia Group of Companies).Slimlite Logo Red

SLIMLITE

Features of Acrylic

Large Skylight Icon
Ideal for Larger COMMERCIAL USE
  • Acrylic and polycarbonate can be manufactured in larger sizes than glass.
  • The residential double or triple glass glazing unit can only be manufactured to a maximum size of 49.5 x 73.5. Acrylic can be produced at larger sizes, any size between 14½” x 14½” to 94½” x 94½”.
  • Acrylic domes and pyramids are available in double or triple glazing.
  • Thus, glass can be utilized for openings up to 24 sq. Ft. And acrylic or polycarbonate up to 64 sq. ft.

LEARN MORE

Polycarbonate Icon
Available in Ultra Strong Polycarbonate
  • Dome and pyramid skylights can be formed from ultra strong Polycarbonate in clear, white, or bronze tint.
  • Ideal for residential or commercial applications, polycarbonate is very durable.
  • Polycarbonate is often utilized for security applications.
  • Used in commercial setting for its low flame spread rating.
Pyramid Icon
Available in Dome or Pyramid Shapes
  • Acrylic and polycarbonate can be formed into a dome or pyramid shape. The sloped shape allows rain water and melting snow to naturally drain away.
  • Columbia also manufactures a circular dome skylight, ideal for modern residential or commercial construction. The CRD Circular Roof Dome.
Recyclable Icon
Acrylic & Polycarbonate is Recyclable, & LASTS For Decades
  • Acrylic and polycarbonate can be recycled.
  • It is a sustainable choice because of its long life.
Commercial Icon
PERFECT FOR COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
  • The use of a mix of natural and artificial light in commercial building is a need that continues to become more popular as employers realize the importance of workers physical and mental health.
  • Columbia acrylic dome skylights are used on factories, warehouses, big box stores, schools, recreational facilities, and government buildings. Skylights must be able to function maintenance free for decades in these applications.
Red Slimlite Logo Circle
Commercial & Residential Skylights – Part Of The Columbia Group
  • SimLite Skylights is part of the Columbia Group of Companies, and is renowned for manufacturing an exceptionally durable line of commercial and residential acrylic and glass skylights. Click on the link below to review Slimlite’s extensive range of skylights.

LEARN MORE

Strong Icon
Strong & Durable
  • Acrylic is a strong impact resistant material, while polycarbonate has additional strength.
Repells Rain Icon
The dome or Pyramid shape repells rain or melting snow
  • The acrylic is formed into a dome or pyramid shape that repels rain or wet snow. Water runs off the skylights on to the roof deck where is enters the building drainage system.
  • On a flat roof, a dome or pyramid skylight does not require a custom built sloped curb like a glass flat roof skylight.
Large Flat Roof Icon
SUITABLE FOR LARGE FLAT ROOF BUILDINGS
  • An acrylic dome or pyramid is the ideal solution for a commercial flat roof applications, where you want to let natural light into the rooms below.
  • Discreet and out of sight from the street they will bring an abundance of natural light into the building.
  • Incredibly strong and long lasting, the skylights will perform for decades.
Clear White Bronze Icon
Available in Clear, white, & Bronze
  • Acrylic can be produced in a number of finishes – clear, white and tinted bronze.
  • Clear lets in bright natural light and provides the maximum light transmission.
  • White is opaque, providing privacy and a soft light.
  • Bronze tinted reduces the sun’s glare creating a softer warm light, ideal for locations with strong direct sunlight, and wanting to reduce the glare on the building interior.

LEARN MORE

Vault Icon
Circular & Barrel Vault Applications
  • Acrylic or polycarbonate can be formed into a continuous half circle barrel vault for commercial or residential applications.
  • The circular dome creates a dramatic circular lightwell and elegant light pool. Barrel Vault is a long reinforced half tube skylight intended to bring light into a long open space.
  • Review the CRD Circular Roof Dome or the Slimlite FBDDC Barrel Vault, both let in an exceptional amount of natural light.
Single Double Triple Glazing Icon
  • Single – for exterior applications, or unheated spaces.
  • Double – for heated spaces. The most common acrylic or polycarbonate application.
  • Triple – for optimum thermal efficiency in dome and pyramid skylights.