For those projects requiring a heritage aesthetic, cast-iron has traditionally been the go-to product despite its expense and the challenges with its installation and maintenance. For these reasons, a plastic cast-iron style is fast becoming the must-have solution for self-builders and home renovators who want affordability whilst not compromising on performance and architectural integrity. Here, Brett Martin uncovers the raft of benefits of these systems.
It’s crucial that every UK building includes a high-quality rainwater system that will provide it with the maximum protection from these days of heavy and intense rainfall. When specified correctly, this vital building component will remove rainwater quickly and efficiently and is a necessary part of any building’s operability.
Historically, cast-iron rainwater systems have been a core component of a building’s fabric but as building design and efficiency has radically transformed over time – rendering cast-iron expensive and time-consuming to work with – builders have sought out alternatives.
At a fraction of the price to buy, install and maintain, modern plastic materials are an alternative to aluminium or cast-iron rainwater specification to deliver projects under budget and ahead of schedule – exceeding both the builder’s and the client’s expectations. It’s why the Cascade rainwater and soil system from Brett Martin fits the bill perfectly whilst helping contractors boost their profits at the same time.
With significant additional weight, cast-iron rainwater systems can be heavy and difficult to install. Contractors must also be extra vigilant regarding health and safety and will require more time to lift and fix the system – leading to increased costs and potential delays in the installation process.
Almost every job will require both gutter and pipe lengths to be cut on site using specialist tools. To ensure long-lasting durability, they need to be fully finished on site using a primer, undercoat and topcoat, to ward off corrosion. Even if the system used is delivered pre-painted, any cut lengths, or site damage to the finished surface, must be protected to the same level by the installer. It should be noted that, in some cases, if the level of protection applied on site is deemed insufficient, any guarantee offered may be, quite rightly, invalidated, leaving the installer liable.
Because the plastic ranges are so much lighter than cast-iron, installation at height is less hazardous, being effortless to lift, easy to manoeuvre, simple to cut and quick to fit. The systems also benefit from external fixing lugs, enabling easy power tool access, which further speeds up installation. All gutter fitting joints have integral seals and flexible retaining clips, allowing the gutter lengths to simply click into place. No extra-cost fixing kits or nuts and bolts are required to make gutter joints, as with most traditional systems.
A wealth of benefits
To ensure each rainwater system can be designed to meet every client’s demands, there is an expansive choice of options and gutter profiles available to suit most requirements. From the domestic style of gutter to high-capacity systems for larger-scale commercial projects, plastic rainwater systems have been carefully designed to emulate original features, dimensions and detailing.
Once installed, the system is low-maintenance as, unlike cast-iron, it is not vulnerable to rusting or corrosion and does not require regular sanding, priming or repainting to protect it from the elements.
With budgets increasingly stretched and tight deadlines dictating product specification, contractors must be aware of every product’s cost – in both materials and labour. Equally, the same applies to self-builders who desire quality and efficiency without breaking the bank. Innovative alternatives to traditional cast-iron systems, therefore, prove their mettle; with their price tags and specifications ensuring modern construction incorporates pieces of the past in its contemporary buildings.