PVCu or uPVC: That is the Question

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PVCu WindowsIf you’re looking for a new set of windows, then you will have come across the terms PVCu and uPVC.

If you have, then you might also have seen the apparent confusion over the distinction between the two and what the difference between them actually is. At Warmseal, we use PVCu in some of our products and so this confusion is a concern to us. After all, we don’t want our customers to be misinformed over this because of contradicting facts on the internet, so allow us to explain the difference between PVCu and uPVC.

Poly Vinyl Chloride

First and foremost, let’s take a quick look at stands for Poly Vinyl Chloride. We use PVCu thermal inserts in our triple A rated windows and they have to be modified for that purpose. The modification of PVC means to soften it, and this is the process used when manufacturers want to make use of it in their products. Fake leather, for example, is made with PCVu. PVCu is a very popular material to use when it comes to making windows and doors for a variety of reasons:

  • It does not biologically decompose
  • It is a low maintenance material
  • It is resistant to weathering
  • It retains its shape at normal temperatures
  • It can withstand strong impact
  • It can be reshaped at hot temperatures, making it a great sustainable material.

It’s for these reasons that we use PVCu thermal inserts in our frames.

There is no difference

As for question regarding the difference between PVCu and uPVC, the answer is that there is no difference. PVCu and uPVC refer to the exact same material; it’s just that the ‘u’ is placed differently. Naturally, this has resulted in a lot of confusion along with the not unreasonable assumption that they must be different materials.

This is not the case at all. The placement of the ‘u’, which stands for un-plasticised, is a result of changes made to the term in the 1980s. Back then it was known only as uPVC, which would stand for Un-plasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride, but was changed to PVCu in order to fall in with the rest of Europe. Basically, it’s all a matter of language. Most European languages use a different sentence structure to the English language, placing the noun before the adjective.

In English, calling it uPVC makes more grammatical sense but this is not something that occurs within most of the European languages, so it was introduced for the sake of uniformity and fairness. To English speakers, it might seem a bit strange, but PVCu is used all across the world so it makes sense to make this change.

So there you have it

If you have any more questions about this when you’re browsing our window range then we’re more than happy to help, but hopefully this will clears thing up for anyone that’s had the misfortune to stumble upon this strange but ultimately meaningless difference. It’s the same product, the same materials and either term is acceptable.

Paul Jennison

Former Managing Director at Warmseal, 2002-2015. Family man with a passion for interior design.

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