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Nick Ross

Nick Ross (Former BBC watchdog, Crime Watch Presenter & DGCOS ambassador)

Is it PVCu or UPVC?

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We have created this post to alleviate a common confusion between the difference between PVCu and UPVC; used in products such as windows and doors. At DGCOS we are committed to our responsibility to communicate clear and transparent information about the home improvement industry.

What is PVCu?

PVCu or Poly Vinyl Chloride is a common, lightweight and robust type of plastic used consumer goods. The "u" stands for un-plasticised, meaning the plastic is not softened during manufacture, retaining its strength.

What's the difference between UPVC & PVCu?

Simply put, there is no difference between the UPVC and PVCu because the two abbreviations represent the same material being Un-plasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride.

Installers use UPVC in the promotion windows, doors and other home improvement products but it is also referred to as PVCu. The change was made to align with European standards in the 1980s to create a universal naming convention because most languages pronounce the PVC before the U.

Why is UPVC commonly advertised?

UPVC was commonly used in English (United Kingdom) before the European changes and has maintained its presence within the UK public domain as the more popular naming convention for the material. As such, installers and manufacturers will often refer to the material under both PVCu and UPVC names.

When buying new home improvement products, consumers should be aware these are not two different materials, and instead, PVCu is just another way of naming UPVC.

Why is PVCu used for Windows & Doors?

PVCu is the most common material found to make the frame and casement of windows, doors and other home improvement products and a popular alternative to wood and PVC due to its lightweight and strong composition required to withstand the harshest weather conditions with decreased costs to consumers.

The benefits of PVCu in are:

  • it does not discolour in extreme sunlight
  • it can withstand extreme heat during the summer
  • it does not biologically decompose
  • it is lightweight material for mobility
  • it retains its shape during normal temperatures
  • the strength means it can endure with strong impacts
  • it can resist weathering
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