Everyday Uses for PVC Plastic | Preferred Plastics

Everyday Uses for PVC Plastic

Accidentally discovered almost two centuries ago when a flask was exposed to sunlight, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has revolutionized the way people live, work, and play. Versatile and economical, it has become one of the world’s most widely used thermoplastic polymer.

PVC has improved or made possible an enormous range of consumer and industrial products, from electronic components and shower curtains to construction materials and plumbing pipes. At Preferred Plastics, we’re passionate about the materials that enhance our world. Here’s an in-depth look at vinyl.

PVC plastic uses

PVC Explained

Polyvinyl chloride, which commonly called PVC or vinyl, is made with carbon atoms derived from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl products consume less energy, generate fewer emissions, and save more energy than many other products.

PVC has been around longer than most plastics, having been first synthesized in 1872 and commercially produced by B.F. Goodrich Company in the 1920s. By comparison, many other everyday plastics were first synthesized and became commercially viable in the 1940s or later.

The principal advantage of vinyl is its versatility. Although naturally white-colored and very brittle, the addition of plasticizers can improve rigidity for industrial pipes, pliability for plastic wrap, or flexibility for wallcovering. It can also be manufactured completely clear or matched to any color desired.

PVC is produced in two general forms: Rigid and flexible. Here’s a breakdown of the two vinyl types.

Rigid PVC

This PVC type is a versatile thermoplastic resin that’s tough under ambient conditions. It’s cost-effective and has a high resistance to impact, water, weather, chemicals, and corrosive environments. Rigid PVC is also known as UPVC, PVC-U, or uPVC. Some characteristics include:

  • Good strength
  • High clarity
  • Sensitive to ultraviolet light degradation
  • Good weathering resistance
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Flame retardant
  • Poor thermal capabilities
  • Sensitive to Oxidative Degradation
  • Stiff flow rate
  • Narrow processing range
  • Good dimensional stability
  • U.S. Food & Drug Administration compliant
  • Suitable for transparent applications
  • Good electrical insulation characteristics
  • Strong vapor barrier properties


Rigid vinyl is prized for its combination of water resistance and high stiffness. Rigid PVC is used in a broad range of applications, including:

  • Building and construction
  • Exterior siding
  • Windows
  • Water pipes
  • Pipe Fittings
  • Sprinkler Systems
  • Office furniture edging
  • Bottles
  • Non-food packaging
  • Membership or bank cards


Flexible PVC

Flexible PVC is a soft and flexible material that ranges in appearance from transparent to opaque. It has excellent resistance to ultraviolet light, acids, alkalis, oils, and many corrosive inorganic chemicals. This PVC type is manufactured with plasticizers, which bestow rubbery properties on the end product. By adjusting the type and amount of plasticizers, flexibility is easily controlled. Characteristics include:

  • Good Strength
  • High abrasion resistance
  • High clarity
  • Strong electrical insulation characteristics
  • Sensitive to ultraviolet light degradation
  • Good outdoor weathering resistance
  • Poor thermal capability
  • Sensitive to oxidative degradation
  • Non-flammable
  • Low cost


A standard method of processing PVC involves the suspension of solid particles of the polymer in an appropriate plasticizer. This suspension, a “plastisol,” is then heated. This generates a homogenous system that becomes a flexible solid when cooled. Here are some typical flexible PVC applications:

  • Wire and cable jacketing
  • Pool liners
  • Flooring
  • Garden hoses
  • Rainwear and boots
  • Medical tubing
  • Automotive interior trim
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical cable insulation
  • Inflatable products
  • Imitation leather
  • Signage


Your PVC Source

The role of plastics in society has never been more influential. PVC is used in the manufacture of thousands of products consumers use every day, and many more that are encountered less frequently but are equally as important in construction, electronics, healthcare, and other applications.

Preferred Plastics can leverage rigid and flexible PVC to make better-performing plastic parts. We’re an industry-leading custom plastics extruder offering turnkey extrusion and finishing services.

For more about PVC and its benefits, Preferred Plastics is here to help.

Contact us for more information.

Plainwell, MI

800 E Bridge St
Plainwell, MI 49080

(269) 685-5873

Louisville, KY

8301 Cane Run Rd
Louisville, KY 40258

(502) 935-3070