uPVC is a lightweight, sturdy polymer that’s used in all kinds of building products – like fencing, cladding, guttering, and downpipes. uPVC is an excellent insulator, and far more energy efficient than the very best aluminium. In fact, it’s actually uPVC that’s used to create the ‘break’ in thermally broken aluminium joinery.
uPVC is sometimes confused with PVC, which is also a widely used building material. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, and is the world's third-most widely produced plastic. PVC was first synthesized in 1872 by German chemist Eugen Baumann, but wasn’t used commercially until the 1920s.
Modern PVC often undergoes plasticization, where chemical compounds called plasticizers are incorporated into the material. If no plasticizers are added, then it’s simply known as uPVC (Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride), or ‘rigid PVC.’
uPVC is known for having strong resistance against chemicals, sunlight, and oxidation from water. In the US and Canada, uPVC is referred to as vinyl.