Thanks for the feedback - keep it coming. So far I don't see any big reason for not using plexiglass rather than glass.
Cleaning and scratching would be taken care of by ensuring to use a non-abrasive cleaner.
Tempered glass breaks into small pieces, yes - but instead of regular glass breaking into dangerious sharp shards. I don't see plexiglass being broken in this application - and if so would not break into sharp shards but rather probably break in two at an impact point, methinks - no?
Something like the acrylic block door less shower will go into a new master bedroon suite addition planned for year after next. This is going into a minor refresh/revamp of currect master bedroom bath with relatively small footprint (5x10) and no desire to expend a lot of money or time on it.
Plexiglass will warp more readily than glass. Also some chemicals will cause it to yellow over a relatively short time. On the other hand... it is much cheaper than tempered glass and you can shape, drill and polish it with wood working tools. A little heat will allow you to be even more creative.
Lexan (polycarbonate) scratches and it yellows in the sun or uv light. American made Plexiglas (acrylic) does not yellow in the sun, some chemicals will however cause it to discolor and it does not scratch as easily as polycarbonate. Check out a WWII bomber, still little if any yellowing after 60 years while sitting out in the sun and flying where uv is greater than on the ground. Those big bubbles on the front are acrylic. Both acrylic and polycarbonate plastics as well as glass are notch sensitive. In other words both can crack from scratches, holes or notches. This is what allows you to score these materials and break them in a nice straight line. Tempered glass is weakened by scratching but it will not crack, it will shatter in to small pieces instead. Small scratches and crazing in acrylic can be easily repaired or buffed out while polycarbonate can not, at least not that I know of.
Unless you are trying to stop bullets I would forget about Lexan or any brand polycarbonate. It is softer, allowing it to absorb bullets better but also scratching easier.
These two materials are often confused or mistakenly interchanged so do your research well and know what you are buying.
Good point on the difference between Lexan and Plexiglass. Still though I prefer glass. I like the heavy feel to it if its a sliding door and the feel of the surface of it over some plastic like material. Granted you're not going to do a lot of touching obviously but something about plastic polymers just feel cheap to me.
I agree with you seawiz but custom made tempered glass can be very expensive while acrylic can be worked in a typical wood shop or even a sparsely equipped garage. I am assuming the OP is building something out of the ordinary and will need custom cut material. If you never have played around with acrylic maybe you could get you hands on some to mess around with. I never thought much of it until my youngest son asked me to help him make a couple of custom tops (lids) for an aquarium. After cutting and polishing the tops I started playing around with a heat gun on the scraps. I made an number of custom hooks holders, hangers, doors, boxes and stuff I've forgotten since then. My wife's fav is an ironing board holder that stows the board tight to the back of a closet door but easily lifts out for use. It took an 1/4" thick 8"X15" piece of Plexiglas and a heat gun using my laundry tray to square up the bends. The first one was to be a prototype but worked so well there was not need to make another.
I personally like the look of glass, but if you are worried about safety. I would stick to plexiglass. Glass really gives you a good weight when you open and close the door. There simply is not a good replacement for good old fashioned glass.
Plexiglass would be my last choise.
Notice there's no shower doors, or screen doors made of plexiglass. Hmm may be a reason. As mentioned it scratches, crazes, yellows.
Tempered glass, then Lexon, then plexiglass as a last resort would be my choices. Why do the job twice when doing it once and never agin would save time and money.
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