SAVE BIG when you recycle your old Windows & Doors with us!

castle logo

What Is the Difference Between UPVC and PVC (And Which Is More Suited for Use in Windows and Doors)?

upvc open wood window

UPVC and PVC are similar materials with versatile applications in manufacturing processes and the construction sector. PVC is a widely produced synthetic polymer of plastic, whereas UPVC is a popular alternative to wood.

You’ve likely come across these terms if you’ve been thinking about replacing old windows or doors in your home. But what’s the difference between PVC and uPVC? And which is the better option for window frames and doors? 

You can find out here all you need to know about these materials and how to choose the right windows and doors for your home.


What Is PVC?

PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, commonly referred to as vinyl or polyvinyl, and it’s a widely produced synthetic polymer of plastic.

It was originally synthesised in the 1800s, and PVC products came onto the market in the 1920s – 20 or so years ahead of other plastics that are commonplace today.

PVC is used across a broad range of applications including building materials, electronics, health care, signage, packaging, clothing and shoe fibres, and vehicle parts and interiors.


What Is UPVC?

UPVC stands for unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, and unlike regular PVC, it’s a rigid structure.

Produced for the first time in the 1930s, uPVC and has been commercially available in large quantities for more than 60 years.

It’s become a popular alternative to wood in many applications, including doors and window frames.


“PVC” Windows and Doors Are Actually UPVC

If you’re asking yourself whether PVC or uPVC is more suited for use in windows and doors, it’s because uPVC is sometimes mistakenly called PVC, even by some window and door companies.

In fact, standard PVC is totally unsuitable for window frames and doors because it contains plasticisers that make it too flexible and pliable and prone to bending and warping.

With no plasticisers, uPVC has different physical properties and chemical composition. This makes it hard and inflexible – an ideal material for doors and window frames and sills.


Advantages of UPVC Windows and Doors

UPVC is generally the most affordable material for a door or window frame, and offers homeowners multiple benefits including a potential increase in property value. UPVC windows and doors are highly durable and energy efficient, reduce noise and improve security, and are easy to look after.


UPVC windows and doors are incredibly tough and can last 20 years or longer. Unlike wood doors, window frames and sills, uPVC won’t rot over time and can withstand extreme weather.

Energy Efficiency

Combined with double glazing, uPVC window frames are highly energy efficient, which cuts heating costs and reduces the carbon footprint. UPVC doors also provide outstanding thermal efficiency, maximising heat retention.

Noise Reduction

The sound insulation properties of uPVC windows and doors reduce outside noise significantly. Combined with double glazing, uPVC windows can absorb external sounds by up to 65%.


The strength of UPVC doors and window frames gives home an important security feature, providing an effective barrier against burglars, especially if they have a built-in, multiple-point high-security locking system.

Low Maintenance 

Unlike wooden doors and window frames, uPVC is low maintenance and doesn’t require frequent repainting and varnishing.


Do UPVC Windows and Doors Have Any Disadvantages?

The advantages of uPVC windows and doors make them a popular choice among homeowners, but they do have some potential drawbacks.

Although uPVC doors and windows come in a huge variety of customisable styles and colours, some people may find their plastic appearance less visually appealing than traditional timber doors and windows.

You can also get problems with wear-and-tear damage to hardware such as hinges and locks if you have older uPVC doors and windows. This may mean it’s time to upgrade your doors and windows with modern uPVC replacements.


Replacing Old Windows and Doors with UPVC

If you have uPVC windows or doors that have seen better days, or old timber doors and windows, replacing them with today’s high-performance uPVC windows or doors will give you several key benefits.

They’ll strengthen home security while reducing energy bills by keeping your home warm without ramping up the heating. Your house will also be much quieter and you won’t have the worry and cost of constant repairs.

Signs it may be time to upgrade your windows and doors to uPVC include:

  • Condensation, which can lead to damp and growth of toxic mould.
  • Your windows or doors are letting in draughts.
  • You have difficulty opening and closing your doors or windows.
  • Your timber doors or window frames have wood rot.


A further issue you may notice is that the colour of your furniture and home fabrics is fading. This is typically because of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun that penetrate through windows and glazed door panels. This can also damage your skin.

Modern double-glazed uPVC windows block up to 99% of UV light, and uPVC doors and window frames resist peeling, cracking or warping through sunlight exposure.


UPVC Door and Window Costs

UPVC doors cost less than timber doors and composite doors. Pricing varies according to factors such as door size, design, and colour.

The average cost of installing an unglazed white uPVC front door ranges from £400 to £750. Adding glass panels increases the price range to £750-£900.

UPVC is one of the most affordable materials for window frames. Pricing depends on the same considerations as door costs.

White uPVC casement windows are the most economical, costing £600 to £1,800. Sash windows cost around 50% more.

Table of Contents