PVC or Vinyl frames are primarily made from polyvinyl chloride. This is highly effective insulating material; frames are available in many styles and are generally considered low-maintenance since they never need painting. PVC usually represents the lowest cost option of all three materials.
Polyvinyl chloride, PVC, is a chlorinated hydrocarbon polymer and was first produced in 1872. PVC is composed from chlorine, carbon and hydrogen. These elements are obtained from sea salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) and crude oil or natural gas, both of which are mixtures of hydrocarbons. It was first used instead of rubber to insulate wires found in electrical cables. After further exploration of its properties and characteristics, PVC found many other applications. PVC is the leading plastic material for the construction market, where it makes products such as pipe, electric cable insulation, conduits for telecommunication cables, flooring, windows and house sidings.
In the glass industry PVC is used in frames for windows and doors. Early frames were made out of wood, but PVC has been added for its superior performance. Today, some 40 percent of all windows profiles in Europe are made using PVC. Clients choose PVC windows because they are tough and durable, require low maintenance, have good abrasion resistance, offer design flexibility, are competitive in terms of price, and can be easily processed and fabricated. Particularly in double-glazed units, PVC frames offer significant advantages. They have excellent thermal and acoustic properties, qualities which are extremely important in dense urban environments.
Recent studies have also shown that PVC frames have an excellent ecological balance compared to wooden frames, and generally much better than aluminum ones.