Polyurethane (PU) or Polyvinylchloride (PVC)? Vinyl or faux leather? While these names tend to be used interchangeably there are important differences.
Polyurethane (PU) is a composite material made of one or more layers of PU and a woven or non-woven textile backing. This fabric provides the most realistic imitation of leather when it comes to its soft supple hand. It is also known to wrinkle like leather when gathered and stitched.
While PU fabrics are much lower in price than genuine leather; they tend to be higher in cost than PVC. PU is known to be a greener alternative to PVC in both production and after-care. It does not require the same chemical plasticizers and will eventually degrade over time.
Polyvinylchloride (PVC), also commonly referred to as vinyl, is essentially a flexible plastic made from PVC resin, various fillers, and additives such as plasticizers to manipulate its softness, color and texture. Once the desired fillers have been added, PVC is used to coat one side of a knit or woven fabric backing.
This versatile fabric provides a durable surface that is impervious to moisture and inherently flame resistant, making it ideal for marine, healthcare and high traffic hospitality and commercial environments.