WHY IS ALUMINIUM SO WELL SUITED TO RAINWATER AND EAVES SYSTEMS?
One of the most important considerations when working on a project is specifying a high performing rainwater and eaves system. Although roofline systems can come in a variety of materials, at Marley Alutec we only supply one, aluminium. In this blog our Technical Director Tony Wereszczynski explains why aluminium is so well suited for both rainwater and eaves systems.
One of the oldest recorded uses of aluminium is the statue of Eros in London, cast in 1893. The statue, which still stands today, is a testament to the wonders of aluminium as a building material. Since Eros, countless iconic buildings, sculptures and structures have been crafted from aluminium as well as naval frigates, aeroplanes and space ships. So how has aluminium become such a highly thought of material, and why is it so well suited to rainwater and eaves systems?
Firstly, aluminium rainwater systems benefit from an extremely long lifespan and in fact, our systems have a low maintenance life expectancy of 50 years or more, but be warned, not all aluminium is created equal. Only specify marine grade aluminium, as this will ensure you’re not getting a lower grade material that has a shorter lifespan and is more susceptible to corrosion – particularly in heavily polluted or coastal regions.
Aluminium is also extremely lightweight, about 65% lighter than steel or cast iron. This makes it easier to install, quickening the process and ultimately reducing the cost and time spent on site. What’s more, as it is lightweight it also helps to reduce the carbon footprint of transportation.
As well as helping to reduce carbon footprints, procuring aluminium is a sustainable process too. As the world’s third most abundant element, aluminium can be sourced responsibly without concerns of over mining. Once mined, 97% of all bauxite mines in the world operate rehabilitation projects, returning the land to its original condition after mining is finished. An infinitely recyclable material, aluminium can be reused again and again without loss of quality, with some 75% of all aluminium ever produced still in use today. Furthermore, when recycled, it only uses 5% of the energy used to make the initial aluminium from Bauxite.
Unlike PVC, timber, steel or cast iron rainwater and eaves systems, aluminium requires minimal maintenance and does not need periodically repainting. Instead, high quality, marine-grade aluminium is coated with architectural grade electrostatically applied polyester powder coated paint, which provides a maintenance free aesthetic paint finish for the life expectancy of the product. Even in its unpainted form, when exposed to the atmosphere, the surface of marine grade aluminium develops a dull grey patina oxide layer, which prevents further corrosion making it a highly corrosion resistant material.
Finally, with systems normally set at a fairly economic price point and maintenance requirements so minimal, aluminium rainwater and eave systems are an extremely cost effective and environmentally credible option when whole life cycle expenditure is taken into account.