Restoring a Listed, Heritage or Conservation Property?

What you need to know when choosing a rainwater system.

Case-Study---St Michaels All Angels Church---Britannia-Moulded-Ogee-and-Rectangular-Downpipes
Legacy Cast Aluminium Beaded Deepflow Gutter and Colonnade Cast Collared Downpipes Glenshee 1
Oakdale, Harrogage, Sentinel Vintage Ogee and Colonnade Cast Collared Downpipes 4

Renovating a listed or period property is always beset with challenges, with problems often crawling out of the woodwork – literally.

The best advice before beginning such a project is to obtain listed building consent from your local planning authority.  Each local authority works to their own standards pertaining to the listed, conservation and heritage properties within their area.  We suggest that you liaise with them at the beginning of your renovation so you are not presented with any undue surprises.  Working with your local authority and developing a relationship with them, will help you to understand what they expect and enable you to adhere to their standards.

When it comes to renewing or replacing your rainwater system, then the choices that you face are considerable.  Colour, material choice, profile, sizes, life expectancy, cost, etc.

However, before you consider these choices, you need to understand the weather conditions in your area.

Rainfall Intensity

The effects of global warming and a warmer climate in the UK has lead to a higher rainfall intensity in some areas.  Your rainwater supplier should be able to perform a flow calculation based on your roof type, size, pitch, geographic location, size and position of rainwater pipes to enable you to choose the right gutter size and profile to suit your needs.

Conversely, the UK has also seen an increase in the level of snowfall during winter months and if you are based in an area that is prone to snowfall, you need to factor this aspect into your choice of rainwater system.  The weight of the snow on the roof, which may then slide down the roof into the gutter, could damage your guttering if not placed correctly.

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Material Choice
As with any property, one of the considerations when choosing a rainwater system is the choice of materials on offer.  Ranging from upvc to metal systems, there is a huge choice on the market today and decisions may be made on aesthetics, cost or the sustainability of the material chosen, or perhaps a combination of all aspects.

Plastic or Upvc is not going to be an option when choosing a new rainwater system for your listed, heritage or conservation property.  A cheap and lightweight system, readily available from builders merchants, is not going to give the look and style of a metal rainwater system, and will certainly not provide the longevity a metal system will offer.  In addition, with the negativity surrounding plastic pollution, you are much more likely to choose a material that is already freely recycled such as cast iron or aluminium.

Cast Iron
Cast iron systems are made for the heritage market and are sand cast using traditional cast iron dies and comply with all listed building, heritage and conservation requirements.  Proven to last for over 100 years, they can be delivered transit primed or with a factory applied wet paint finish in a semi-gloss black or specific colour on request.

Our cast iron rainwater systems are available in a number of profiles and sizes, and we are sure we have a profile to suit your project.  Cast iron is a sustainable product as it is long lasting, durable and once it reaches the end of its useful life, it can be recycled.

If you have your cast iron pre-painted it saves time on site, but because of the application process:  four-stage cleaning process; zinc primed; painted and oven cured.  Only when the product has been dried for 24 hours can it be despatched, giving the finished product a far superior and quicker process than being painted on site.

In 1781 the first bridge made from cast iron was opened, it crosses the River Severn in Shropshire and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Source: English Heritage – Project Iron Bridge)

Cast aluminium rainwater products consist of gutters, downpipes and hoppers which are traditionally sand cast from an aluminium alloy to mimic cast iron.  The advantages aluminium has over cast iron, however, is that they are lightweight, easy to install, non-corrosive, made from marine grade aluminium and require minimal maintenance.

A cast aluminium statue of Eros was erected in London’s Piccadilly Circus in 1893, and despite having to be stored away during the two world wars, is still in situ today. (See the European Aluminium Association – Sustainability of Aluminium in Buildings).

Our aluminium products can be polyester powder coated to any RAL/BS colour of your choice, giving you a much wider range of colour choice than traditional cast iron or upvc, not only enhancing the final look, but also providing protection against the weather and presenting a very low maintenance option to cast iron.  Our in-house PPC line has a total of 7 stages, the most important are the pre-treatment stages prior to the coating being applied.

In addition to cast profiling we also offer extruded aluminium, where we can apply a textured paint to give the full visual effect and aesthetics of cast iron, but without the associated weight and planned maintenance programme.

With both cast aluminium and cast iron, you can be assured that the quality and aesthetics of the finish will be the perfect accompaniment to your roof and will enable you to adhere to strict planning guidelines for heritage, listed or conservation properties.

Sustainable Options
These days sustainability is the buzzword and when choosing materials for your listed property, you want something that will last for as long as possible.  Aside from the monetary investment, you may consider the recycled content in the product, the products life expectancy, the level of maintenance required and its recyclability at the end of its useful life. All these factors are adequately covered by metal systems, but plastic currently poses a substantial negative due to the publicity surrounding the amount of plastic now into our oceans and seas.

Read more below

Material Choice Comparison Chart

A quick reference guide to the benefits of metal rainwater systems versus upvc.

Cast Aluminium Cast Iron UPVC
Weight Lightweight and easy to install Very heavy, two person installation required Lighweight and easy to install
Maintenance Minimal Regular repainting Minimal
Corrosion Non-corrosive properties Will rust over time if not properly maintained Joints leak due to thermal movement over the lengths of the gutter
Life Expectancy 60+ years 100+ years 25-30 Years
Investment £££ £££ ££

Regardless of the style of your listed/heritage property, ARP has an extensive range of both cast iron and cast aluminium profiles available, our technical team can help you make your decision on the right material, the correct size and the profile to suit your design.

Once you have the relevant information on the scope of your renovation and local planning requirements, give us a call to discuss the rainwater package for your listed, heritage or conservation property.


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