26 Nov 2015

Drainag: Adding the final touch

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Tony Wereszczynski, Technical Director at Marley Alutec explains how to use rainwater systems to add that final touch to a self-build project.

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Reaching the end of a construction project and seeing the finished product has to be one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of the self-build experience. But in order to achieve a building with a coherent style it is crucial that a consistent theme is present, particularly in the exterior finishes.

Rainwater systems have the profound ability to tie a building together but are sometimes relegated to an afterthought. However, overlooking the specification of rainwater systems misses a vital aesthetic opportunity to bring all the exterior elements together. Acting as the key transition between walls and roof and offering the opportunity to complement or contrast the fenestration, the rainwater system can add the perfect final touch.

Rainwater systems are available in a wide variety of materials and profiles so it’s worth considering how these will complement the other design elements within the building’s external facade. The first thing to consider is the material to use and the three most common materials are PVC, cast iron and aluminium, each of which come with their own benefits.

Material specification

Cast iron is traditionally the material of choice for projects seeking a period or heritage feel as it offers a robust and ornate finish. It is worth noting however, that cast iron is a more costly option for both the initial outlay and installation costs, as it is much heavier than the other two materials. In addition, cast iron systems require significantly more on-going maintenance than PVC and aluminium.

PVC is often used on newer properties where cost and speed are paramount. While it is cheaper to buy and install than cast iron, it is also much less durable with a lifespan typically no longer than 10 years.

Aluminium offers the best of both worlds. It is much lighter than cast iron making it as easy as PVC to install and it is also extremely durable, with marine grade systems offering maintenance free lifespans of 50 years or more. What’s more, some aluminium rainwater systems, such as those manufactured by Marley Alutec, offer both modern and traditional ranges, all polyester powder coated with a durable, fade resistant architectural grade finish. Furthermore, if a traditional style is required, Marley Alutec offers a textured black finish that emulates the cast iron look.

Colour is another aspect to bear in mind. Gone are the days when rainwater systems were only available in black or murky greys, as new paint technology means self-builders can choose from a host of bright colours, including vivid reds, yellows, blues and greens – whatever takes their fancy. It’s worth looking out for a colour-stable product that has been powder coated using architectural grade paint, as this will ensure it keeps looking fresh throughout its life span.

Carefully choosing a rainwater system to complement the overall design of a self-build project pays dividends when it comes to the overall look and feel of the building. Working with a reputable rainwater system manufacturer that can provide high levels of technical support is the best way to ensure the chosen system delivers on both a practical and aesthetic level.

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