When looking to select a rainwater system, there are a number of materials to choose from that each have their own characteristics and installation methods. Brian Bell, our Head of Technical Services, discusses the options available for roofing contractors who require an easy to install and high-quality rainwater solution.
A rainwater system is a crucial component of any building, protecting vulnerable parts of the construction from the elements and significantly improving the longevity of the overall structure. As such, the guttering itself must possess a number of characteristics in order to be competitive.
An obvious trait that specifiers look for is aesthetics. In a prominent position on the outside of a building, it is crucial that a rainwater system complements the overall appearance. The position of the guttering also means that it will be exposed to a variety of weather conditions, from direct sunlight to hailstorms, as well as temperature variations. Durability is therefore extremely significant when selecting a guttering material.
Ease of installation is a characteristic that is often overlooked. Employing a material that is lightweight can increase working efficiency, allowing work to be completed faster. This can also help lower the cost of installation as lightweight solutions require less tradespeople to complete the task. Lightweight solutions are also safe, and, considering that nearly 85,000 construction site injuries that took place between 2012 and 2017 were as a result of handling, lifting or carrying equipment, this is of fundamental importance.
When it comes to a rainwater system, cast-iron, PVC and aluminium are currently the most popular options available.
Traditionally, cast-iron has always been popular due to its longevity. A strong and long-lasting solution, a guttering system manufactured from this material is expected to last up to 50 years. However, cast-iron has other characteristics that deter customers, such as its need of regular work to maintain its visual appeal and ensure it lasts the test of time. Typically, it must be cleaned and painted every 10 years in order to prevent degradation, which can become tiresome and expensive. Another issue is its heavy weight, causing installation to be a long and difficult process, requiring multiple tradespersons to manoeuvre and install. This significantly diminishes working efficiency, whilst simultaneously increasing the risk of injury to installers.
Unlike cast-iron, PVC is very light in weight, meaning installation is far easier and safer than cast iron. It is also more affordable, however it does not offer the same level of durability - typically needing to be replaced after just 10 years. Colour stability is also an issue for PVC, despite being available in a variety of colours and styles.
The other alternative is aluminium, which harnesses the major advantages of cast iron and PVC. Capable of having a functional life expectancy of more than 50 years, aluminium offers outstanding longevity that does not require regular maintenance. Rather, it simply needs to be occasionally cleaned in order to sustain its immaculate appearance. This durability is in part due to the thin layer of oxide that develops on the surface of the aluminium to protect it should it sustain any damage, avoiding corrosion. This ensures that aluminium offers a weather-resistant solution, with long-term maintenance costs being avoided. Aluminium solutions are also 65% lighter than cast iron, providing a solution that is as easy to transport and install as PVC but with a far greater lifespan.
Furthermore, aluminium is an ecological choice; aside from being an infinitely recyclable material, any environmentally negative restoration and disposal processes are avoided.
However, it is crucial that only high-quality aluminium solutions are selected in order to benefit from these advantages to the greatest possible extent. Marley Alutec offers guttering solutions that are manufactured from high-strength marine grade aluminium.
In addition to benefiting from longevity, low maintenance and ease of installation that high-quality aluminium offers, the material also delivers aesthetically. For customers who like the look of a PVC or cast-iron system, it is possible to source aluminium products that mimic those particular appearances in terms of shape. In addition, a polyester powder coating (PPC) can be added providing a wide range of colours and finishes. At Marley Alutec, this includes Heritage Black, which has a textured surface to accurately replicate the appearance of traditional cast-iron gutters and downpipes. This corrosion resistant colouring process ensures that the guttering will retain its colour throughout its 50 + years functional life expectancy.
While there are a number of guttering options on the market, high quality marine grade aluminium offers the most complete rainwater system solution, combining the strengths of cast iron with the installation benefits of PVC. A ‘fit and forget’ solution, aluminium affords customers the flexibility they need to achieve any design with a long-lasting, hardwearing finish.
We offer technical advice and support from initial design to installation, to discuss your project call 01234 321996 or email firstname.lastname@example.org