The earliest use of PVC foam boards was in the 1970s. Back then, it was called the wood of the future. Today PVC foam board lives up to this name replacing traditional building materials.
We explore the basics of this product, its modern uses and future industry prospects.
What is PVC Foam Board?
It is a PVC flat, light-weight plastic board that comes in a variety of colors and thicknesses.
Polyvinyl chloride is one of the main thermoplastic polymers in the market. Its monomer is vinyl chloride. Other polymers are PET(polyethylene terephthalate), PP (Polypropylene), and PC (Polycarbonate). Production of PVC foam involves expanding polyvinyl chloride melt. This makes it more porous and lighter than traditional PVC.
The top three worldwide consumers are the furniture, building, and advertising industries.
The foam board is available in a wide range of diameter sizes. Our company produces PVC foam boards of thickness ranging between 1 to 30 mm to cover many market needs.
Types of PVC Foam Boards
Plastic board companies specialize in one or more of the following types of PVC foam boards:
Integral Foam Board (Celuka)
It gets its name from the manufacturing process known as Celuka extrusion. The process produces boards with a solid, smooth outer surface and a foam core. Unlike the co-extruded Foam board that has three layers, Celuka is a single-layer board.
Co-extruded Foam Board
It uses a co-extrusion process by forming a sandwich. The resulting panel comprises a foam core inside two rigid PVC layers. Its surface is smoother and shinier than Celuka, a better choice for tabletops and interior décor.
Free Foam Board
The board applies the free-foam process. During production, the PVC melt expands without restriction before getting into the calibrator. The result is a homogenous closed-cell foam board without rigid surfaces. This is ideal for graphics like digital printing, screen printing, and painting.
Laminated PVC Foam Board
It’s a PVC foam board with a film of textured PVC on either side. The textured lamination gives it a wood-like appearance.
WPC Foam Board
The wood plastic composite (WPC) is a cross between PVC and wood. It contains wood or bamboo powder.
The Main Applications
Whether looking for advertising or interior design material, PVC foam is ideal. There are more ways to use it in the home, office, and construction industries. Below are some of the regular applications in these areas.
Displays (POP Models and Exhibition Boards)
The smooth and colorful finish is perfect for display. Foam boards make beautiful models and display items for shops and office receptions.
Interior and Exterior Design Paneling
It is common practice for companies to partition the office spaces into cubicles. Plastic boards are the go-to option since they are easy to install. Using PVC foam board tends to enhance privacy as it is soundproof. Materials like brick and wood have now become obsolete.
Most people like to be creative with their home interiors. PVC offers flexibility for these designs. One can shape into various forms by molding, cutting, and crafting. It is also easy to paint in modern house colors.
The most common application of PVC foam board is outdoor advertising. Its durability against corrosion from rain and sun’s rays is a useful feature for this. Commercial enterprises use it for making billboards and outdoor kiosk signage.
Home and Office Furniture
It is popular with making furniture for living and office spaces. Being stain-resistant means housekeeping will take less effort and time. Some interior ideas for PVC foam board are:
- making dining furniture
- office desks and cabinets
- kitchen surfaces and shelves
- and the swimming pool plank floor.
Screen Printing and Graphics
It is suitable for screen printing using vinyl-compatible inks. The result is artwork pieces to change and decorate bland spaces. These products include screen printed panels, digital print posters, vinyl-laminated posters, and wallpapers.
Like most plastic boards, it is light but strong. Contractors use it as a substitute for wood, plywood, and other composite panels. Modern buildings have PVC foam wall panels, ceilings, decks, doors, and washroom cubicles.
Advantages over Other Composite Panels
- It is weatherproof and that is why it is the material of choice for outdoor signage.
- When it comes to building projects, PVC foam boards perform better. They do not decay and fade color fast like wood.
- The smooth surface adds a neat finish on PVC foam board products.
- It is less likely to scratch and absorb moisture because of the smooth plastic surface. Thus, ideal for kitchen cabinets, office models, and furniture.
- The substrate makes it easy to print and paint on.
- It is lighter in weight than glass, wood, and metal, so easy to transport.
- It’s resistant to chemicals. The PVC board composition makes it resistant to chemicals found in powerful cleaners. It can replace the abrasion-prone acrylic. It is resistant to salt, acid, alkali solutions, and alcohol. But, this does not extend to chemicals containing nitro chlorine compounds or ketones.
- Foam board has better sound and heat insulation than other thermoplastics. The porous nature of the panels acts as a buffer or cushion.
Market Share and Industry Outlook
There is potential for growth in the PVC boards market. According to market trends, the PVC foam board industry is looking up. The positive outlook is because of the rise in low energy consumption buildings. Other important drivers are the demand from the transport sector and wind energy.
The uses of PVC foam board keep evolving and increasing due to its many features. In construction, it is replacing the other materials because it is cheap and flexible. As an alternative to wood, it makes doors, cabinets, and wall panels. It is also in extensive use in interior design and the number one choice for outdoor advertising.