Why is it called uPVC and who invented it?
uPVC, which stands for Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride, is a popular material used in the manufacturing of windows and doors. Unlike PVC, which contains plasticizers to make it more flexible, uPVC is rigid and doesn’t soften with the addition of chemicals. This makes it a durable and long-lasting material for windows and doors.
For a more in-depth look at the difference between PVC and uPVC, check out our guide to uPVC vs vinyl windows.
The invention of uPVC can be traced back to 1935 when it was first introduced in industrial applications. The manufacturing process involves using sodium chloride through electrolysis to produce chlorine gas. Ethylene, which is derived from natural gas or petroleum, is then combined with chlorine and liquid vinyl chloride to form uPVC.
When were uPVC windows first used?
The use of uPVC in windows gained popularity in the 1980s, although double glazing had already entered the consumer space in the 1970s. Prior to uPVC, windows and doors were primarily made with aluminum, which also had its advantages and is still used today. However, certain drawbacks of aluminum windows, such as condensation during winter due to ineffective thermal break systems, led to the rise of uPVC as the preferred material for double glazing.
During the 1980s, uPVC windows started to replace aluminum as the material of choice. These windows were externally glazed, meaning the glazing beads were fitted on the outside. They offered better versatility, improved thermal performance, and the ability to create externally glazed windows and leaded designs. Molded uPVC panels became available, providing consumers with a “mock wood” style and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of uPVC windows.
During the 1980s uPVC windows began to expand outside of Germany to the UK. The popularity of uPVC windows continued to rise throughout the 1990s, with the majority of manufacturers offering internally glazed windows by the year 2000. These windows featured softer shaped frames and improved security features.
However, there were still issues with the gaskets fitted around the glass, as the black gaskets were large and ill-fitting. The introduction of white gaskets was met with enthusiasm, but they were soon withdrawn due to visible dirt and mildew buildup. As a result, many consumers switched back to black gaskets.
In 2010, the glazing industry witnessed a revolution in the demand for high-quality, maintenance-free windows that performed like uPVC windows but didn’t resemble them. Homeowners of high-value properties wanted windows that resembled timber without the associated maintenance and hassle.
During this period, there was a growing demand for windows that resembled wood but required less maintenance and were more cost-effective than traditional wooden windows. As a result, uPVC windows emerged as a popular alternative.
These windows featured grained finishes and offered a wide range of colors, including popular options like golden oak and nut. With advancements in precision manufacturing techniques, uPVC windows were able to achieve neater corners, mechanical joints, and a closer resemblance to traditional timber windows. Additionally, the production time for uPVC windows was and continues to be faster than that of wooden windows.
Why are uPVC windows so popular today?
uPVC windows have become increasingly popular due to their numerous benefits compared to traditional materials like timber.
Here are some reasons why uPVC windows are highly regarded:
- Low maintenance: uPVC windows don’t require much maintenance and won’t warp or rot over time. They can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth and require no painting or sealing.
- Energy efficiency: uPVC windows provide excellent thermal insulation, reducing heat loss and improving energy efficiency in homes.
- Durability: uPVC windows are long-lasting and resistant to weathering, making them a reliable choice for homeowners.
- Versatility: uPVC windows are available in a wide range of colors and finishes, allowing homeowners to match their style preferences and the aesthetics of their homes.
- Security: Modern uPVC windows come with advanced security features, such as high-quality locking systems, providing peace of mind for homeowners.
The increasing emphasis on energy efficiency and sustainability has also contributed to the popularity of uPVC windows. uPVC is a recyclable material, and advancements in recycling methods have made it recognized as a sustainable choice in the construction industry.
The lifespan of a uPVC window is estimated to be around 35 years, and the frames can be recycled up to 10 times without any deterioration in quality, making uPVC windows an environmentally friendly option.
Window technology & environmental sustainability
With advancements in window technology, uPVC windows have become even more efficient and environmentally friendly. Triple glazing, which offers superior insulation and noise reduction compared to double glazing, has become a popular option for homeowners. Additionally, the use of low emissivity (Low-E) glass coatings and gas-filled glazing units further enhances the energy efficiency of uPVC windows.
In terms of environmental sustainability, uPVC windows have made significant strides. The ability to recycle uPVC frames multiple times reduces the demand for new materials and minimizes waste. This, coupled with the energy-saving properties of uPVC windows, contributes to a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to window installation and replacement.
How Vistaza can help
At Vistaza, we offer a wide range of uPVC windows to suit your needs. Our internally glazed windows provide excellent energy efficiency and security. With a variety of colors and finishes to choose from, you can find the perfect uPVC windows to enhance the look of your home.
Contact Vistaza today for a quote and let us help you transform your home with our top-notch uPVC windows.