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PVC vs. uPVC: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 26, 2024
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a versatile, flexible plastic; UPVC (Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride) is a rigid, more durable form of PVC, often used in construction.

Key Differences

PVC, or Polyvinyl Chloride, is a widely used plastic known for its flexibility. It's often used in products like cables, hoses, and clothing. UPVC, or Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride, differs by being more rigid. This property makes UPVC ideal for construction materials like window frames and doors.
PVC is made softer and more flexible by adding plasticizers. This adaptability makes PVC suitable for a range of applications from medical devices to inflatable products. UPVC, on the other hand, doesn’t contain these softening agents, which accounts for its hardness and durability.
In the context of environmental impact, PVC can release harmful compounds over time, especially when burned. UPVC is considered more stable and less likely to degrade, making it a preferable option in terms of environmental safety.
When it comes to cost, PVC generally is cheaper and easier to produce, which is why it's ubiquitous in various industries. UPVC, while more expensive, offers greater longevity and strength, justifying its cost in building materials.
PVC's versatility extends to its ability to blend with other materials to achieve desired properties. UPVC's rigidity limits its use to more structural applications, reflecting the fundamental differences in their composition and usability.

Comparison Chart


Flexible, adaptable
Rigid, inflexible


Clothing, cables, hoses
Window frames, doors


Contains plasticizers
No plasticizers


Less durable
More durable

Environmental Impact

Can release harmful compounds
More stable and eco-friendly

PVC and uPVC Definitions


A type of irregular heartbeat originating in the heart's ventricles.
The patient's ECG showed PVCs, indicating a potential heart issue.


A highly purified form of PVC used in specialized industrial applications.
The laboratory ordered uPVC containers for storing sensitive chemical samples.


A type of communication mode in telecommunications and computer networks.
The company set up a PVC for reliable and constant data transmission between offices.


A rigid, chemically resistant form of PVC used in building materials.
The windows were made of uPVC for enhanced durability and insulation.


A synthetic plastic polymer used in manufacturing a variety of products.
The plumber used PVC pipes for the home's water system.


A type of PVC designed for ease of use in consumer products.
The children's playset is made from uPVC, ensuring it's safe and easy to clean.


A technology used in solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity.
The building's roof was equipped with PVCs to harness solar energy.


A consistent quality PVC used in manufacturing for uniformity in products.
For the production of standardized piping, the factory uses uPVC to ensure consistent quality.


A component in computer graphics that manages the display of images on the screen.
The new gaming console boasts an advanced PVC for superior graphics.


A versatile form of PVC used in various utility applications.
The city's water supply lines are made of uPVC for its resistance to corrosion and chemicals.


A polymer of vinyl chloride used instead of rubber in electric cables


Irregularity of cardiac rhythm; recurrent occurrences can be a precursor of ventricular fibrillation


Can PVC be used outdoors?

It’s less suitable than UPVC for outdoor use.

What is UPVC?

A rigid form of PVC, often used in construction.

Are PVC and UPVC recyclable?

PVC is less eco-friendly, UPVC is more recyclable.

Is UPVC more expensive than PVC?

Yes, due to its durability and quality.

Can PVC be used for windows?

Not typically, UPVC is preferred for this.

Can PVC be painted?

Yes, but it requires specific types of paint.

Is UPVC safe for health?

Generally, it's considered safer than PVC.

Does UPVC discolor over time?

It's more resistant to discoloration than PVC.

Is PVC water-resistant?

Yes, it's commonly used for waterproofing.

What is PVC?

A versatile, flexible plastic used in various applications.

Are PVC products flexible?

Yes, they're known for their flexibility.

Can UPVC be recycled?

Yes, it's more recyclable than PVC.

Can PVC be used in medical applications?

Yes, especially in flexible tubing.

Are PVC and UPVC resistant to chemicals?

UPVC is generally more resistant.

Why is UPVC preferred in construction?

Due to its rigidity and longevity.

Is UPVC fire-resistant?

It's more fire-resistant than PVC.

How long does UPVC last?

It can last decades with minimal maintenance.

Does PVC have a smell?

It can emit a chemical odor.

Is PVC suitable for high-temperature applications?

It can degrade at high temperatures.

Is UPVC environmentally friendly?

More so than PVC, due to its stability.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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