Frequently asked questions

Our online knowledge base contains enhanced technical information on SOLARKOTE™ products and guidelines.

The SOLARKOTE™ Expert is an online FAQ knowledge base of fabrication guidelines, general product information, safety/regulatory, and specification compliance information about our products.


What is SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock?

Brought to you by Trinseo, makers of PLEXIGLAS® acrylic sheet and resin, SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock is an engineered thermoplastic designed to impart the surface properties of acrylic to less environmentally durable materials.  To accomplish this, our scientists and engineers have developed multiple grades of acrylic capstock that are compatible with a number of substrate systems, such as ABS, PVC, HIPS, Fiberglass Pultrusion, wood filled polymers, etc.  Additionally, SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock's UV screening properties effectively block most UV radiation (<400nm) at a thickness of only .006" (6 mils), protecting substrates from harmful UV exposure.

Why choose SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock over other acrylic capstocks?

The SOLARKOTE™ family of products was developed specifically around the capstock application. The latest innovations in acrylic technology and chemistry have been incorporated into SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock resins to enable optimal performance in multi-layer, multi-material applications.

What type of applications use SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock?

Any application that starts with an extruded sheet or profile, where the final product can benefit from the surface properties of acrylic.
Typical applications include:

  • Building and Construction Profiles
    • Window profile
    • Fence, deck or rail extrusions
    • Pultruded profiles
    • Darker colored vinyl siding
  • Sanitary Sheet
    • Tub and shower surrounds
    • bathtubs
  • Spa shell material
  • Lawn, garden and agriculture cladding
  • Automotive aftermarket pieces
  • Tonneau covers
    • Spare tire covers
    • Fender flares
    • Cargo foxes

Please read the Chemical Resistance literature for SOLARKOTE™ products for details

Are the SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock grades substrate specific, i.e. can SOLARKOTE™ H only be used on HIPS, or SOLARKOTE™ P only on PVC??

Trinseo offers a portfolio of SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock products that can be used on multiple substrates. Although SOLARKOTE™ H is the only SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock product that will stick to HIPS, SOLARKOTE™ H is compatible with other types of substrates. So SOLARKOTE™ A, SOLARKOTE™ H, and SOLARKOTE™ P will each adhere to PVC and ABS. Typically, the needs of the application define which SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock grade is selected. SOLARKOTE™ P provides maximum toughness. SOLARKOTE™ A provides maximum chemical resistance. SOLARKOTE™ H provides maximum flow characteristics.

Which SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock product should I use for building and construction products?

It depends on the application. We have a portfolio of products to address the needs of this market. Please find below a list of applications that have been served with specific grades of material:

  • Siding – L Value > 60 – This application can be satisfied with a SOLARKOTE™ PB blend as a capstock over a standard PVC formulation for vinyl siding.
  • Siding – L Value < 60 – This application can be satisfied with a SOLARKOTE™ P610M capstock over a standard or high heat PVC formulation.
  • Decking – This application may best be suited by SOLARKOTE™ P610M, SOLARKOTE™ A200M, or SOLARKOTE™ H310M.
  • Window Profile – Co-extrusion over standard PVC – This application typically requires the toughness of SOLARKOTE™ P600.
  • Window Profile – Co-extrusion over wood-filled PVC, or ABS – This application can use SOLARKOTE™ P600, SOLARKOTE™ H300, or SOLARKOTE™ A200. Grade selection is based on process ease.
  • Pultruded profile – Depending on the gloss requirements, either SOLARKOTE™ A200, or SOLARKOTE™ A200M can be used in this application.

Please contact your account manager for additional recommendations.

What colors are available? Can I pigment SOLARKOTE™ in-line?

SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock resin is available in its natural transparent clear form for blending with color concentrates, or as a Trinseo prepared pre-color. For the coloring of SOLARKOTE™ resins, it is important to choose colorants with good thermal stability that will have minimal adverse effect on the physical and optical properties of the resin. The color must remain serviceable for the duration of the application. Dyes at normal application concentrations have little or no effect on impact properties, but most pigments do. Pigments generally weather better than dyes. Please refer to the SOLARKOTE™ Applications Development Manual, Page 4, Appearance Variables, for more detailed information.

How stable will my SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock color be?

A pre-colored product from the SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock portfolio has been prepared from the most weatherable pigments known to be available in the market. After 5 years, there may be some slight deviation from the initial color, but the color will remain serviceable for the application.

After thermoforming, what should the minimum cap thickness for SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock be?

In a spa application, the final thickness is typically: 6-9 mils for the clear cap and 12-30 mils for a colored layer.

At .006" in clear or colored, SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock is effectively screening out nearly all UV light (<400 nm).

Our best practice recommendations for the spa market suggest that a minimum of .006" of clear SOLARKOTE™, and .012" colored SOLARKOTE™ be maintained throughout the spa shell. SOLARKOTE™, at .006" (6 mils) in clear or colors, effectively screens out nearly all of the UV.

How chemically resistant is SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock?

This is grade dependent. In general, SOLARKOTE™ is resistant to standard household cleaners, but if the part is highly stressed, its chemical resistance will be compromised. Please visit our literature section for access to Chemical Resistance literature for SOLARKOTE™ products.

How does SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock interact with flexible PVC?

Flexible PVC contains plasticizers that can leach out of the PVC and interact with the SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock surface. Measures should be taken to limit/eliminate the use of migratory plasticizers (typical of the phthalate family) in close proximity to a SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock surface. Defects such as chemical crazing, whitening, and surface softening can result if a SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock surface is exposed to these migratory plasticizers for an extended period. 

Good manufacturing practices can decrease the likelihood of such an occurrence, but PVC plasticizers (specifically DOP) should be avoided whenever possible.

Can I paint my finished SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock product?

Generally speaking, one of the advantages of the SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock system is that painting is unnecessary. SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock resin and film are available in clear or in Trinseo prepared pre-colors. However, if a SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock product needs to be painted, it can be done easily – creating an unlimited variety of decorative and functional products. SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstocks contain no plasticizers or additives to interfere with paint adhesion or affect the durability of paint film, and is no more difficult to paint than common non-plastics such as wood or metal. As with any material, however, proper techniques and paint suited to the application are necessary to successfully paint SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstocks.

How is a finished SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock product cleaned?

SOLARKOTE™ acrylic capstock sheet is easily washed with plenty of mild soap or detergent and lukewarm water using the bare hand to feel and dislodge any caked dirt or mud. A soft cloth, sponge or chamois may be used, but only as a means of carrying water to the plastic. Rinse well.