Choosing a Clear Vinyl Window Material

Item # X-HT-200558

First, to compare the different brands and gauges of window material, we’ve created a Window Material Buying Guide that you can download. This guide rates each window material brand by optical clarity, scratch resistance, UV resistance, stain/chemical resistance, hand, size, application and price.

See terms in that list you don’t recognize? The clear vinyl industry has its own unique set of buzzwords. Don’t worry, here are a few that we think are important to take into consideration when making your selection.

Window Material Terms to Know

Pressed & Polished

This refers to a common method of manufacturing clear vinyl. Pressed and polished goods are made by taking two layers of material and pressing them together between highly polished chrome plates. This creates one, thicker polished sheet. This method produces the most optically clear and consistent clear vinyl. They often come in sheets of 54 x 110 inches. Pressed and polished brands include: Strataglass™, O’Sea®, Crystal Clear and Regalite®.


The gauge of window material refers to the thickness. A 20-gauge material is 0.020-inch thick; a 30-gauge piece is 0.030-inch thick and so on. Gauge can also be a measure of flexibility. Typically, the thicker the gauge the less flexible the window material will be.

Optical Clarity

The optical clarity of a window material tells how easy it is to see through. Generally speaking, the premium pressed and polished goods have a higher optical clarity. Optical clarity is also linked to gauge. The thicker the gauge, the better the clarity.

Scratch Resistance

Clear vinyl is inherently a little prone to scratches. Some window materials however, come pre-treated with a scratch-resistant coating. This coating is valuable for the longevity of your window material. To minimize the risk for scratches, keep your vinyl windows as clean as possible.

Now that you’ve got all the terms down and have your chart in hand, here’s a video to tie it all together. In this video, Matt Grant, Sailrite® Vice President, explains the differences between the window materials we carry and a few of the preferred uses of each.

We hope that you now have all the info you need to select the perfect window material for your next project. Still have questions? Give us a call, we’re always happy to help!