Difference Between PVC, UPVC and CPVC

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between PVC, UPVC and CPVC

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Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC is a type of plastic or a polymer that is made up of chlorinated hydrocarbons. PVC pipes are mostly used in sanitary sewer systems, plumbing, doors, windows or any other pipes. It is popular due to its relatively low cost as compared to other pipes, high transition temperature, chemical inertness and flame as well as smoke resistance properties. UPVC and CPVC, on the other hand, are different types of PVC. Un-plasticized Polyvinyl Chloride or UPVC is also referred to as rigid PVC. They are lightweight and easy to carry from one place to the other. It is one of the most versatile materials that can be manufactured in various colours. CPVC or Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride is a thermoplastic that is created by chlorinating the resin of PVC. These pipes comprise the same benefits as that PVC with added durability. It is also used in a variety of industrial applications. This article shall be focusing on the differences that exist between all these three types of pipes.


The key difference between these three is that PVC means Polyvinyl Chloride which is produced by adding plasticizers to it. Whereas, UPVC is the un-plasticized version of PVC i.e. no plastic materials are used while preparing this type of pipe. CPVC, on the other hand, is more flexible because of the inclusion of plasticizers in its preparation. It is more rigid and hard than the other types of pipes.

Difference Between PVC, UPVC and CPVC in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison PVC UPVC CPVC


Full form PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride. UPVC stands for Un-plasticized Polyvinyl Chloride. CPVC stands for Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride.
Application PVC is used in pipes, cable insulation, plumbing, toys, and so on. UPVC is used indoors and windows, frames, sewage management, drains and so on. CPVC is used in hot or cold water pipes because of its flexibility and durability.
Material used PVC uses composed as well as un-composed plasticizers. UPVC uses un-composed plasticizers. CPVC, on the other hand, is made from the resins of PVC and hence uses composed plasticizers.
Characteristics Hard and strong, cost-efficient, biodegradable, easily bendable and higher flexible. Stronger, resilient and long-lasting, hygienic and safe for carrying drinking water and easy chemical resistance. Economical, maintenance-free and easy to install.
Consistency PVC is both stiff and malleable. UPVC has very high rigidity as compared to PVC. CPVC, on the other hand, is easily flexible compared to both PVC and UPVC.
Temperature It is limited or suitable for water up to 45 degrees. It is not suitable for water above 50 degrees. It is suitable for water up to 92 degrees.
Life span It is estimated that PVC pipes, if properly designed and installed, can last up to 70 years or more, according to recent technological advancements. UPVC piping systems are purely dependent upon the quality of raw material and the percentage of fillers used while preparing or manufacturing the pipe. On the other hand, CPVC piping systems can last up to a maximum of 50 years depending upon the quality of the pipe, with a safety net of 1.5 times.

What is PVC?

Polyvinyl Chloride, in short, PVC, is a type of polymer that is made up of chlorinated hydrocarbons. Due to its economic and versatile nature PVC is used in various applications like in the building and construction, health care, electronics, automobile and other sectors, in products ranging from piping and siding, blood bags and tubing, to wire and cable insulation, windshield system components and more. 

Depending on the various application, PVC pipeline systems can be used in either hot or cold water conduits in the various industrial, household as well as business settings. The life span of a PVC pipeline system, if properly installed and utilized can last up to 50 to 70 years, according to the reports given by the advanced technological services. PVC is utilized in the manufacture of hundreds of daily items as well as many more that are encountered less regularly but are nonetheless vital in building, electronics, healthcare, and other industries. Because of its economical cost and acceptable microstructural and chemical qualities, PVC is employed in several sectors. It is effectively constructed into a wide range of stiff and elastic goods. PVC is also naturally fire-resistant.

Benefits of PVC 

  1. PVC is long-lasting and useful for a wide range of applications. Their durability makes installation considerably easier in many circumstances.
  2. The chemical resistance of PVC to chemical reactions with other chemicals is an advantageous chemical property. This ensures that drinking water and domestic water are carried securely.
  3. Corrosion may be a concern in almost any situation, but it is especially problematic in an industrial structure, where fumes, gases, or exhaust can harm a heating and cooling system over time. PVC is regarded as a good solution for risk reduction and is frequently utilized to comply with statutory safety norms.
  4. PVC is also easily biodegradable. It requires little to no maintenance at all. 
  5. They are easy to mould into various shapes, making them a versatile material with several applications.

Drawbacks of PVC

  1. PVC contains up to 57 per cent chlorine. Carbon produced from petroleum products is also frequently employed in its production. PVC has been termed the "poison plastic" by some medical professionals and environmentalists due to the chemicals that might be produced during manufacturing, when exposed to fire, or when it decomposes in landfills.
  2. Metal ductwork is extremely thin and light. When fashioned into equivalent structures, PVC might weigh twice as much. This can be constricting in terms of construction and design. It can also make installation more difficult.
  3. PVC also raises serious sustainability concerns, since we want to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050.

What is UPVC?

Un-plasticized polyvinyl chloride or in short, UPVC, is very rigid because plasticizers are not added to them. They are used mainly in making pipes. They are rigid and hence are less flexible. These types of pipes are mostly used in cold water pipeline fittings. They are light in weight and are easy to carry from one place to another. UPVC is often used in dental retainers for its sturdy and non-toxic characteristics. They are also easy to maintain and hence used indoors and in windows due to their weather-resistant capability. 

Benefits of UPVC

  1. It possesses good physical and mechanical properties, as well as exceptional corrosion tolerance, making it suited for use in the material business.
  2. UPVC windows provide significant advantages over conventional windows, leaving no room for increased energy consumption, whether for air conditioners or heating systems.
  3. UPVC pipes have a long service life and are long-lasting between 30 to 50 years.
  4. In the building industry, UPVC is occasionally used to replace wood. UPVC replaces plumbing and is corrosion resistant.
  5. UPVC is also recyclable and may be recreated at extreme temperatures with a design.

Drawbacks of UPVC

  1. Despite technological developments that have resulted in a greater variety of texture and colour possibilities, UPVC windows and doors still trail behind wooden or aluminium doors in terms of colour and personalization options.
  2. UPVC doors and windows are made using a lot of energy and several chemical processes.
  3. They have a lower environmental impact than other varieties.

What is CPVC?

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride, in short, CPVC, is a type of pipeline system that is produced from the resins of PVC. Therefore, they are flexible and durable. They can quickly be transferred places and are economically efficient. The chemical makeup of CPVC makes it far more resistant to corrosion and degradation over time than PVC, but it’s also better suited for higher temperature applications. 

Benefits of CPVC

  1. When designed correctly, a CPVC plumbing system requires little to no maintenance. Additionally, because CPVC is immune to even the harshest soil and environmental temperatures, exterior pipe coverings are unneeded.
  2. The CPVC industrial pipe's smooth inner surface avoids corrosion and clogging, decreasing friction pressure losses in the flowing fluid from the beginning.
  3. CPVC pipes are believed to be reasonably inexpensive when compared to other materials such as copper piping or galvanized steel piping. They are an excellent choice for individuals on a tight budget.
  4. With CPVC pipe and fittings, internal and external corrosion is minimized, resulting in fewer process leaks, flow limitations, and untimely pipeline breakdown.

Drawbacks of CPVC

  1. They have very poor resistance to chemicals. 
  2. Another downside of CPVC is its high coefficient of thermal expansion. As a result, CPVC may not be the ideal solution for areas with considerable temperature changes.
  3. While CPVC can technically do anything PVC can, its use in the home is usually limited to indoor water distribution (the system of pipes that carry water to fixtures around the house)

Differences Between PVC, UPVC and CPVC in Points

  • PVC can be made with or without plasticizers. Whereas, plasticizers are not present in UPVC. And, on the other hand, plasticizers are present while manufacturing CPVC.
  • PVC is utilized in a variety of applications, including pipes, cable insulation, plumbing, and toys. UPVC, on the other hand, is utilized in door and window frames, sewage management, drainage, and other applications. And, because of its flexibility and durability, CPVC is utilized in hot and cold water pipes.
  • According to recent technical improvements, PVC pipes may survive up to 70 years or more if correctly built and installed. However, the quality of the raw material and the percentage of fillers used in preparing or manufacturing the pipe are solely responsible for the performance of UPVC piping systems. And CPVC pipe systems, on the other hand, can survive up to 50 years depending on the conditions.
  • The major characteristics also vary from each other. Features such as strong, hard, elasticity, durable, easily bendable, flexibility etc are all associated with PVC pipeline systems. Whereas, features such as rigidity, durability, transporting of drinking water, usage of both hot and cold pipelines, transfer of water, fire-resistant, reusable, recyclable etc. are all associated with UPVC. On the other hand, CPVC is associated with features such as temperature resistance, UV stabilization, flexibility and others.
  • PVC Polyvinyl Chloride is a durable grey colour pipe that is used as a channel for sheltering live cables or raining water down take pipelines or in sinks under toilets and stoves, but it is for flow only. UPVC is a thermoplastic PVC pipe that has been disinfected with hydrogen chloride by free radical sodium hypochlorite and is coloured white. It is employed in the flow of cool water under pressure in residential water supply lines or the transportation of cylinder well groundwater, among other things. On the other hand, CPVC is made by adding plasticizers during manufacture and hence it is light yellow. They are also convenient for use in bathrooms or kitchens under high pressure.


Thus, from the above discussion, it can be seen that PVC is a popular polymer used for various industrial purposes as well as in the household. CPVC has better UV stability and can be used for internal & external applications. UPVC offers properties such as being UV resistant, chemical resistant, pressure-resistant, watertight, lead-free, and so on. Some various pros and cons come along with the usage of these pipes. PVC is rigid as well as bendable. When compared to PVC, UPVC has a much higher stiffness. CPVC, on the other hand, is more readily bendable than both PVC and UPVC. Unlike metals, which can corrode, scale, and pit, PVC and CPVC are relatively immune to most acids, bases, and salts, as well as aliphatic hydrocarbons. If the product is correctly made, CPVC outperforms PVC. A molecule like ammonia, on the other hand, is capable of reacting with chlorine. Because of the higher chlorine concentration of CPVC, PVC outperforms ammonium and most organic compounds. In recent years, however, plastic pipes have been increasingly popular among people replacing the traditional ones. It, therefore, depends upon people how they use them keeping in mind their benefits and drawbacks.



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"Difference Between PVC, UPVC and CPVC." Diffzy.com, 2023. Sat. 03 Jun. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-pvc-upvc-and-cpvc-777>.

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