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Everything you need to know about PVC

PVC is a popular sheet material that is used in a wide range of industries, from sign making to mechanical engineering. The diversity of applications has everything to do with its properties of workability and insulation. PVC can be formed into any shape. That is why it is mainly used for products with complex shapes.

The material is available in two types: foamed PVC and hard PVC. In our webshop, you will find both types, in nine different colours and in sheet thicknesses of 0.5 to 20 mm (hard) and 1 to 19 millimetres (white foamed). We saw all customised orders and deliver them as soon as possible.

PVC designations

The abbreviation PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. Foamed PVC is also called foam board because it consists of a plastic foam core that is laminated with paper on both sides.

Applications of PVC

PVC is an ideal material for both indoor use. You find it a lot in advertising industry, where the sheets are used as displays, billboards and stand material. In addition, it is also a popular material in construction, thanks to its good fire resistance and the sound and heat insulating properties of the panels.

Types of PVC

PVC sheets are available in two types: solid (hard) and foamed (foam board) sheets. It is important to know the difference between the two types of PVC sheets because they each have their own applications and processing options. Whatever type of PVC sheet you choose, you are always assured of a long life of the sheet and good recyclability.

Foamed PVC

Foamed PVC sheet is a particularly light material. These sheets weigh less than half a gram per square centimetre. That is half the weight of a standard PVC sheet! This type of sheet is very suitable for the advertising industry because it is easy to cut and print.

Hard PVC

Hard PVC sheets are more rigid, more solid, dimensionally stable and much heavier. In addition, these sheets have good chemical resistance and electrical insulating capacity and are self-extinguishing. These properties make this material very suitable for industrial applications.

Which PVC sheet suits your project?

The application and desired processability determine which type of PVC suits your project. Do you want to be sure that you are making the right choice? Then please contact our customer service via 085-7325800.

Variants and colours

In our webshop, you will find white foamed PVC, coloured PVC foam board and hard PVC.


In addition to the different colours, you have a choice of different sheet thicknesses, ranging from 0.5 to 20 millimetres. In order to easily calculate which PVC sheet fits your application, we have developed the thickness calculator. Choose a vertical or horizontal installation and look up the length and width that you have in mind in the table. This will give you the thickness that you need.


We supply PVC sheet material in white, yellow, red, blue, grey, green and black. Do you want to know for sure if the colour of the PVC sheet is suitable for your project? Request a sample.

Processing options

PVC sheets are easy to process. We are happy to explain the various processing options for foamed and hard PVC.

Process foamed PVC (foam sheet)

Foamed PVC can be sawn, cut, drilled, painted and bent. The surface is flat and smooth and can be printed and inscribed very well.

Working with hard PVC

Hard PVC is very easy to machine with machining techniques such as sawing, drilling, milling. Hard PVC can be bent easily using heat (filament).

PVC adhesives

Hard and foamed PVC sheets can be glued very well using special PVC glue.

Properties of PVC

It is important to know the distinction between hard and foamed PVC sheets. The sheets each have their own unique PVC properties.

Properties of foamed PVC

PVC foamed sheets can be used
indoors, thanks to their excellent chemical resistance, fire resistance and sound and heat insulating properties. These high-quality plastic sheets have a long service life and are easy to recycle.

Properties of hard PVC

Hard PVC has good chemical resistance, is electrically insulating and self-extinguishing. The heat resistance of hard PVC is not high up to a maximum of 60 ° C (short-term). Hard PVC is very resistant to low temperatures.

Maintenance of PVC

A major advantage of PVC is that it requires little maintenance and is easy to clean. You will find the required products for cleaning in our webshop.

History of PVC

The French scientist Regnault discovered the substance polyvinyl chloride around 1840 by accident but did not know exactly how it was formed. It took until 1926 for a scientist to find a method to plasticise PVC. The trick was to use additives. This insight led to contemporary production techniques. Since then, PVC has been the most widely produced and used plastic in the world!


Plasticsheetsshop offers a large range in PVC sheets. PVC comes in two varieties: foamed and solid PVC sheets. Solid PVC is mostly used as an engineering plastic, because of its high chemical resistance. Foamed PVC sheets are widely implemented in advertising and printing. In our online shop we offer white foamed PVC sheets, coloured foamed PVC sheets and dark grey solid PVC. The coloured sheets are available in yellow, red, blue, grey, green, black, ivory and orange. The sheet thickness ranges from 0.5 till 19 mm thick. Both versions are easy to handle, but to save you the effort we can cut the sheets to size. The required size sheet will be ready for delivery as soon as possible. More information about PVC sheets can be found at the bottom of this page.

PVC: versatile without limitations

PVC, short for Polyvinyl chloride, is a versatile material that is commonly used in industries such as machine development and sign making. PVC sheets are available in the solid version and in foamed sheets, also known as foam board, Forex® or Foamex. In our online shop we offer nine different colours and sheet thicknesses ranging from 0.5 till 19 millimetres. Both foamed and solid PVC sheets can be cut to size.

PVC’s characteristics

Before deciding on a plastic sheet, it is important to realise the major differences between the two varieties of PVC. First of all, foamed PVC is a lightweight plastic; as it weighs less than half a gram per square centimetre. Foamed PVC weighs half as much as solid PVC, making it easy to handle and a choice material for advertising and sign making. Especially, since foamed PVC sheets are also suitable for several printing methods. Many advertising signs in stores are made of foam board. The surface of the material is smooth, but not hard like solid PVC sheets. Foamed PVC’s core consists of PVC foam, which makes the material so light. Foamed PVC sheets have other useful and important characteristics, for example: they are fire retardant and heat and sound insulating. Additionally, the versatile material is suitable for alterations such as drilling, sawing and cutting, making the material a common choice in construction.

Solid PVC sheets are significantly heavier and stronger than foamed PVC, making them more durable and abrasion resistant. Solid PVC sheets are extremely workable, so sawing and milling are easy tasks. It also helps that the material tends to keep its shape really well, making it suitable for precision work. And after making a notch in thinner sheets (1 or 2 mm thick), the PVC sheets are even foldable. Normally, the material will hardly change shape, even when it’s under pressure. Due to this shape stability, solid PVC sheets lends itself for brace material (adjustment and filling sheets) in heavy duty machinery. Another important quality is solid PVC’s high chemical resistance, which makes the material popular for applications in laboratories and in the chemicals industry. Finally, PVC is well known for being electrically insulating. Solid PVC is therefore commonly used as electric tubing and to cover electric equipment.

The wide variety of PVC at Plasticsheetsshop.co.uk

In our online shop we offer both foamed and solid PVC. White foam board is available in sheet thicknesses ranging from 2 till 19 millimetres. We stock coloured foam board in the thicknesses 3 and 5 millimetres. Solid PVC sheets can be ordered in white, dark grey or transparent. We stock one transparent sheet that is extremely thin: 0.5 mm thick. The white PVC sheets come in thicknesses 1, 2 and 3 millimetres. The dark grey variant on the other hand, is available in a wide range of thicknesses, going from 2 till 20 millimetres.

Working with PVC sheets

PVC sheets are easy to work with: sawing, cutting, drilling, painting and bending are no problem for foamed PVC sheets. The surface is smooth, which makes it suitable for printing or writing. Solid PVC sheets can be easily shaped by sawing, drilling and milling. When heated with a filament, solid PVC sheets can also be bent and shaped. Actions such as gluing and engraving require some special attention. Gluing solid PVC material can only be done by using a special PVC glue, such as Uni 100 PVC glue. Engraving solid PVC sheets can be achieved, but only with a low rotation speed. When the rotation speed is too high, the material will heat up to fast causing the surface to melt. The maintenance for PVC sheets does not require a lot of effort: they are easy to clean with common, mild household cleaning products.

Applying foamed PVC sheets

Due to its high processability and the possibility for printing, foamed PVC sheets are a popular plastic in the advertising and stand building sector. Many shop displays, billboards and model making applications include foamboard. In construction, foamed PVC sheets are applied where heat and sound insulating properties are required. Foamed PVC is not only used in professional settings, it’s also a choice material for a do-it-yourselver or a handyman.

Solid PVC sheets: used in many industries

Solid PVC is renowned for its shape stability and its high temperature, pressure and chemical resistance. Making it a common choice in the machine and appliance development industry. Solid PVC is often used behind the scenes as brace and filling material to align machines, roofs and façades. The shape stability makes the material useful for precision parts such as gears and other moving components. Due to the electrically insulating qualities, solid PVC is often applied in electrical cabinets and boxes.

How it’s made – producing polyvinyl chloride

The production process for polyvinyl chloride is a complex, but manageable chemical process. It is made by the polymerisation of vinyl chloride, this is the base material for PVC. This is done in a reactor where the base material is mixed with water and brought to a high temperature. The high temperature and pressure results in the polymerisation. The end product, after some more refining steps, is a white, powdered material. The material is mixed with additives to make the PVC granulate ready for production. PVC granulate melts at 180 degrees Celsius, and when heated it can be shaped or poured into any form. PVC sheets, like the solid PVC sheets found in our online shop, are made by repeatedly rolling the material until solid sheets are formed. In the past, plasticisers were used to make the rolling process easier, but these substances caused health problems. Nowadays, the PVC production is guided by strict regulations, making both solid and foamed PVC plastic completely free of any health risks.

The history of PVC plastic

The substance polyvinyl chloride was first accidently discovered by the Frenchman Regnault around 1840. History repeated itself in 1872, when chemist Baumann unexpectedly polymerised a bottle of vinyl chloride. He discovered that the process of UV light and heat started to polymerisation process. However, a valuable or useful application wasn’t found until two scientists from German company Griesheim Elektron started looking for a practical and commercial application for PVC. They found it when they discovered the electrical insulating quality of solid PVC. Unfortunately, they could not find an affordable and manageable production method for the material. Consequently, it wasn’t until 1926 when another scientist found a way to make PVC plastic by adding additives leading to the current production method. Ever since, PVC is the most produced and used plastic worldwide.

Order PVC sheets

You can easily and quickly order PVC sheets from us online. We saw these for you and deliver them to you as soon as possible. You will be kept informed of the ordering process via e-mail. We briefly explain this process in the video below.


Do you have any questions about our products or the ordering process?

We are happy to help you. Please contact our customer service: