Comparing O'Sea® & Strataglass™ Clear Vinyl
When it comes to selecting a clear vinyl, it’s no secret that there are plenty of options to choose from. This can make selecting the right one difficult. Never fear! Sailrite offers an array of vinyl products that come in various sizes and colors and several PDF guides available to provide general ratings on each type of product we sell. To aid you even further, we’ve created this blog to compare two well-known clear vinyl brands to determine the best choice for your next project: O’Sea® and Strataglass™.
About the Vinyl
Both O’Sea and Strataglass brands provide clear vinyl products appropriate for a number of practical applications. Their durable, high-quality clear vinyl is treated to be scratch, stain and UV resistant. In terms of how they are produced, both of these brands produce pressed and polished vinyl. This means that the product is created by taking two or more layers of material and pressing them together between highly polished chrome plates to create one thicker, polished sheet. High heat and pressure work together to weld the sheets of vinyl together and the result is a superior clear window material.
Gauge, Optical Clarity, Hand & Vinyl Uses
It should be noted that clear vinyl is measured by its gauge or thickness. Strataglass and O’Sea offer clear window material in two sizes: 40 gauge and 30 gauge on a 54" x 110" sheet. Strataglass also offers a 60 gauge clear vinyl product. Broken down, a 40 gauge piece of vinyl measures 0.040", a 30 gauge is 0.030" and a 60 gauge is 0.060", meaning the higher the gauge the thicker the vinyl. In most cases, a thicker gauge also means the vinyl will possess less flexibility but better optical clarity, making it easier to see through and more like an actual window. O’Sea and Strataglass both boast superior optical clarity between their 30 and 40 vinyl gauges, but Strataglass 60 gauge vinyl has the best optical clarity of the three thicknesses.
Another way to differentiate vinyl is by its hand, which is how the material feels when handled. The O’Sea Polished 40 and 30 Gauge Vinyl Window Material has a soft, flexible hand. The Strataglass 40 and 30 Gauge Vinyl Window Material, however, has a medium, semi-firm hand. The Strataglass 60 gauge boasts a semi-firm hand.
In general, both 40 and 30 gauge vinyl are great for dodgers, biminis, general enclosures and automotive windows. The 40 gauge vinyl is often utilized for those who want a thicker vinyl for front window curtains rather than side curtains, which are typically 30 gauge. This is due to the higher optical clarity found in thicker pieces of clear vinyl. When placed around a corner, a higher gauge vinyl is also less prone to show misshaped bulges as opposed to a lighter 30 gauge, but a 30 gauge vinyl is more flexible for side curtains where a high optical clarity is not paramount. Strataglass 60 gauge vinyl is best utilized for commercial enclosures, fly bridge enclosures, and front windows on marine cabin enclosures and dodgers.
Pro Tip: Due to a slight bluish tint, we recommend pairing O'Sea vinyl with other O'Sea or Regalite products.
Scratch, Stain & UV Resistance
O’Sea vinyl features a unique coating that’s specifically engineered to provide a scratch resistant barrier without compromising the hand or flexibility of the sheet, so it offers the perfect compromise for those looking for durability and ease of processing. In terms of scratch and UV resistance, both O’Sea and Strataglass are rated similarly and offer exceptional protection for all their clear vinyl products. However, due to its unique coating, O’Sea vinyl is rated slightly higher than Strataglass for stain resistance when confronted with chemicals such as suntan lotion, insect repellent and fuel vapor. It’s important to note that any possible stain should be cleaned from vinyl as soon as possible to reduce unwanted effects.
Premium clear vinyl products like O’Sea and Strataglass vary only slightly in cost. In general, O’Sea vinyl is less expensive than Strataglass when you are purchasing one or several sheets of the product.
What has your experience been installing clear vinyl? Do you have a favorite brand? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.