basketball hoop

Acrylic Vs Polycarbonate Backboard

Acrylic Vs Polycarbonate Basketball Hoops: Learn The Difference

Hoop Basics

There are five total basketball backboard materials.

  1. Molded plastic
  2. Acrylic
  3.  Polycarbonate
  4. Glass
  5.  Steel

However, by far the most common materials are acrylic and polycarbonate.

Molded plastic is usually found on cheap kiddie hoops, glass is usually found on higher end hoops, and steel is usually found commercial hoops in public parks. So you will typically find acrylic and polycarbonate hoops in the driveways of your typical neighborhood.

If you are looking at two similar hoops and don’t exactly know how to choose between the two, how do you choose? Here’s a handy guide that breaks down these highly popular basketball goals.

Acrylic Backboards

Acrylic is the most popular material you’ll see on outdoor residential basketball hoops. It’s clear like glass, but unlike glass it can possibly fade to a yellowish color if left in the sun for a several years.

Since it is a durable plastic, it don’t shatter the way that a glass backboard might if it damaged. However, it still might crack if it suffers a strong enough hit. The material also weighs less and provides less rebound than glass backboards. However, the main advantage of acrylic boards over glass is that they are usually much more affordable.

Polycarbonate

The main advantage of polycarbonate is its durability and strength. Even when the material is very thin, you can usually count on polycarbonate backboard virtually never cracking.

In fact, many institutions that install backboards for public use opt for polycarbonate hoops in order to guard against damage from overuse or vandalism. Unfortunately, there aren’t the most popular materials. High end hoops (which can cost more than $1000) use thick acrylic backboards over polycarbonate.

Polycarbonate vs Acrylic Backboards: Which One Should You Get?

So which one is better? All things being equal, the polycarbonate backboard offers you the best value. They’re extremely strong, will last a long time, and actually have long warranties. They’re a perfect choice if you a getting a low or middle range hoop, and plan on playing rough or owning the basketball goal for a long time.

However, as backboards get thicker, such as ½ inch, like you can see in in very high end basketball hoops, the type of plastic you use doesn’t matter as much.

How To Install a Basketball Hoop

How To Install An In Ground Basketball Hoop

Installation

If you want to have an in ground basketball hoop your driveway, your work isn’t over when you have the system delivered to your house. You also need to have the system assembled and installed. Many local handymen can be happy to do this service for a fee, but you can also do it yourself.

If you have some time to kill, want a good DIY project, and want to save some cash, here the steps you’ll need to take to install your home basketball hoop.

1) Choose A Good Spot For Your Basketball Hoop

Choose a spot on your property that overhangs a hard concrete playing surface. Ideally, this spot should be soft ground that is easy to dig. Installing on a concrete or blacktop area is possible, but you may need to rent a jackhammer in order to break apart the spot where you will install the pole.

2) Gather Your Equipment

In order to install your basketball hoop, you are going to need

  • A Shovel
  • 2 Bags Of Concrete
  • A Wheelbarrow or other large container (to mix the concrete)
  • A bubble level

3) Dig A Hole

Now that you have your area, dig a hole on that spot. Be sure to contact your utility company before you dig to ensure there aren’t any gas lines or other dangerous materials on your digging spot. Dig a hole at least two feet in diameter and two feet deep.

4) Mix and Pour Concrete

Take your bags of concrete and mix them in your wheelbarrow with water as specified by your bag. Mix it up thoroughly so that there aren’t any dry spots. Once the concrete is good and mixed, pour it into your hole.

5) Insert Pole, Ground Sleeve, Or Ground Plate

While the concrete is still wet, insert the ground plate, ground sleeve, or bottom section of the pole. It is vital that you use your bubble level to check that these bases are level with the ground. If your base isn’t level, the whole basketball hoop will lean to one side. If you are installing the pole directly into the ground, mark a spot 18 inches from the bottom of the pole and only install the pole section up to that spot.

6) Let Dry

Once your base is installed and the concrete is smoothed out, let it dry for 24-48 hours. Or however long is specified on the bag of concrete.

7) Assemble Your Basketball Hoop

Now that you have the base of your in ground goal installed, assemble your hoop according to the instructions. Be ways, this bit may require two or more people. So recruit a friend or family member to help you get it done.

8) Start Playing!

After the last bolt is tightened, pat yourself on the back. Congrats, you do-it-yourselfer. You have installed a basketball hoop all by your lonesome. Celebrate with your very first round of hoops. (If you can’t because you forgot to buy your basketball, check out our basketball guide to learn which one is right for you.