When it comes to choosing new windows for your home or building, one of the most important decisions you'll make is the material they're made of. Two of the most popular options today are PVC and uPVC. While these two share some similarities, they also have some crucial differences that can affect their performance, durability, and even their cost. So, What is the difference between PVC windows and uPVC windows?
First off, let's start with some definitions. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, which is a type of plastic made from vinyl polymer. It's a versatile material that can be used for various products, including windows. However, PVC windows are not as common as they used to be, as they have some drawbacks compared to uPVC. One of the main issues with PVC is that it's not as stable as uPVC, meaning it can warp, crack, or degrade over time, especially when exposed to sunlight, heat, or cold weather. PVC windows are also more likely to discolor or fade over time, and they tend to be less energy-efficient than uPVC windows.
On the other hand, uPVC stands for unplasticized polyvinyl chloride, which is a modified version of PVC that's more rigid, durable, and resistant to environmental factors. uPVC windows are now the most popular type of window among homeowners and builders, thanks to their numerous benefits. uPVC windows are more stable than PVC windows, meaning they can maintain their shape and strength even under extreme weather conditions. They also have better insulation properties, which means they can keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, thus reducing your energy bills and carbon footprint. uPVC windows are also low-maintenance, as they don't require painting, staining, or sealing, and they won't rust or corrode.
One of the primary differences between PVC windows and uPVC windows is their composition and manufacturing process. PVC windows are usually made of vinyl polymer mixed with additives like stabilizers, pigments, and plasticizers. The additives are responsible for giving PVC its properties like flexibility, color, and UV resistance. However, these additives can also cause PVC to degrade over time, especially when exposed to sunlight or temperature changes.
In contrast, uPVC windows are made of pure PVC resin that's been treated with a process called compounding. Compounding involves adding various ingredients like impact modifiers, lubricants, and fillers to the PVC resin to enhance its strength, toughness, and stability. This process creates a more durable and long-lasting material that can withstand the toughest weather conditions and last for decades without losing its performance or appearance.
Another difference between PVC windows and uPVC windows is their cost. PVC windows are generally cheaper than uPVC windows, as they require less processing and use less pure material. However, this doesn't mean that PVC windows are always the best value for money. PVC windows may be cheaper upfront, but they can end up costing you more in the long run due to their lower energy efficiency, higher maintenance, and shorter lifespan. uPVC windows, on the other hand, may cost more initially, but they can save you money in the long term by reducing your energy bills, requiring less upkeep, and lasting longer.
In conclusion, the difference between PVC windows and uPVC windows lies in their composition, performance, and cost. While PVC windows may be a viable option for some, uPVC windows are generally considered the superior choice due to their superior durability, energy efficiency, and low maintenance. When shopping for new windows, make sure to weigh your options carefully and choose a reputable manufacturer that offers high-quality uPVC windows that meet your aesthetic, functional, and budgetary needs.