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The history of PVCu (or is it uPVC)?

Achieving life-like timber aesthetics with ease and a proven green building material, over the last 50 years PVCu home improvement products have come a long way – probably further than anyone could have imagined!

Highly secure uPVC windows

To give you an idea of how Britain’s most popular window material has progressed, and show off your expertise to future customers, we’ve put together a brief history of PVCu for you.

  • 1838

French chemist and physicist Henri Victor Regnault discovers PVC for the first time, after leaving a flask of vinyl chloride gas in daylight. Over time it had transformed into a hard white substance, but Regnault didn’t patent it as he couldn’t find a practical use for it.

During this time in Britain, large ‘Georgian style’ timber windows with astragal bars and even larger ‘Victorian-style’ timber windows with fewer astragals were the norm.

  • 1872

German chemist Eugen Baumann accidentally discovers PVC for the second time, but doesn’t know what to do with it either!

  • 1913

Residence 2 profile

German chemist Friedrich Klatte realises the potential of PVC and patents it. But due to its hard, brittle, and inflexible nature, he’s unable able to find a viable commercial use for it.

  • 1926

American inventor Waldo Semon and the B.F. Goodrich Company finally develop a method to plasticise PVC by blending it with a range of additives, making it much more flexible and easier to process.

  • 1935

uPVC (Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride) is manufactured for the first time, referred to as ‘unplasticized’ as no chemicals are added for softening.

  • 1959

The first commercially available PVCu windows are installed in Germany.

  • Late 1970s

Germany introduces PVCu window systems to the UK glazing industry. Originally designed for tilt & turn windows, the first German window profiles were much thicker than the slender timber casement windows they replaced. Thankfully, the UK glazing market excelled at developing slimmer window profiles specifically designed for British architecture as well as hitting the latest efficiency and security performance targets.

NOTE: The term PVCu is used to align with European standards, as most languages pronounce the PVC before the U. The term uPVC was commonly used in the UK before the European changes, which is why both terms are used interchangeably but mean the same thing.

  • The 1980s

uPVC windows and doors really take off in Britain, by the mid-1980s uPVC accounts for 75% of the 12 million windows sold to British homeowners each year.

uPVC windows with a traditional look

  • 2000

Internally glazed uPVC windows with better security options and softer frame shapes become available.

Thanks to developments in the manufacturing of uPVC, uPVC becomes widely recognised as a sustainable construction material.

  • 2010

The uPVC window and door manufacturing revolution begins! Exciting advances in extrusion technology empowers the UK glazing industry to match traditional window styles even closer, with shaped and sculptured beads, decorative sliding sash horns, life-like woodgrains, elegant flush finishes, timber effect corner joints, and more enduring colour choices entering mainstream markets – giving house builders, architects, trade suppliers, installers, and homeowners limitless design opportunities.

Residence 9 window with mechanical joint

  • 2011

Residence 9 timber effect windows extract the key principles, shapes, and dimensions from the restrictive Article 4 Conservation Area guidelines for windows. So aesthetically authentic, they are regularly accepted for use in conservation areas for timber window replacements. Its innovative 9-chamber profile can achieve outstanding energy ratings of A+ and accommodate triple glazing with ease.

  • 2016

Residence 7 windows and Residence² windows enter the market, delivering a sleek flush appearance on both sides (R7) or a contemporary flush casement exterior with square interior detail (R²).

Have a ‘Dekko’ at our industry-leading uPVC windows & doors

Specialising in premium uPVC home improvement products, over the last 13 years Dekko has become one of the UK’s leading suppliers and manufacturers of high-quality fenestration products. Experts in PVCu product fabrication, at Dekko, we also manufacture an extensive range of high performance aluminium and composite products.

Work with one of the UK’s most reliable trade suppliers by contacting us today.


Fast delivery and would highly recommend

"Ordered double glazed window for our shop. Dealt with Nathan on the Trade Counter, who was excellent and went above and beyond the usual customer service. Window was very well made and arrived with no problems. Fast delivery and would highly recommend."

Tony Spooner

The windows look fantastic

"Recently used Dekko Windows to supply the windows and aluminium bi-fold doors for our renovation project. We paid a short visit to their showroom where Rob and Neil were really helpful, showing us around and providing options for us. We were really happy with the whole process and the windows look fantastic. Would definitely recommend this company."

Richard Kennedy

Very happy with the level of service and products

"I've been using Dekko Windows for a number of years now and have been very happy with the level of service and products. Rob and Neil have never failed to get back to me promptly with quotes and lead times etc and Leon the delivery guy is always happy, friendly and helpful whenever unloading frames on site."

Peter Bain

Excellent service

"Excellent service. It's always a joy to deal with Rob, Neil and Leon. They always go out of their way to assist me with my projects and are very professional and friendly. Thanks again to the Swindon Dekko Team!"

Jordan King

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Nationwide delivery in the UK

From our state-of-the-art factory in Lancashire, our products are transported to installers across the UK. We strive to meet all delivery deadlines to ensure our customers are never delayed. They stock an extensive range of PVCu and ancillary products to give installers easy and convenient access to all the necessary hardware.

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