We specialise in cast iron Gutter Repairs, cleaning, repairing or replacing leaking gutters and downpipes with a new replacement installation.
These days plastic uPVC gutters are the most commonly used solution on modern buildings, and they certainly fulfil the minimal requirements of cost and installation, but lack the more exacting essentials of longevity, maintenance, aesthetics and eco credentials.
The secret to longevity of Cast Iron work is to thoroughly paint each component up to gloss finish before installation, and for guttering this includes the insides, ideally with primer, undercoat and black bitumen paint this ensures that difficult-to-paint and vulnerable areas are protected from the outset.
Occasionally a joint will begin dripping. Once dry, this can usually be sealed with a smear of putty forced into the joint from the outside and then painted with gloss on the outside and bitumen paint on the inside. Larger leaks may require the joint to be undone and properly remade. Corroded or broken items will need replacing: undoing the original connecting bolts is a simple affair if they shear off when turned; otherwise a mini grinder will grind the nut off effectively. (One note of caution whilst using a grinder on metalwork ensure that any sparks are directed away from glass, enamel or glazed ware, including pottery, because the sparks will fuse on contact leaving a rough and damaged surface. Likewise sweep up any iron dust).
Cast Iron guttering on old properties is often over a century old — a testament to its longevity. Assuming the gutters are not beyond repair, it is always worthwhile restoring as opposed to replacing, both financially and aesthetically.
When repairing, we remove the bulk of the existing jointing compound by scraping, chipping or grinding. Dry fit the replacement piece to ensure a good fit and remove to enable joint preparation. These days there are various rubber gaskets and gun-applied jointing compounds available and all perfectly serviceable.
Traditionally linseed putty was used, sometimes with additions. If we are using putty, we sparingly apply a primer coat of oil-based gloss paint (any colour will do as it won’t be visible) to the joint services, place a thin sausage of putty the full width of the joint, fit the component in place and gently tighten the bolts until a snug fit is obtained. The excess putty will need trimming and smoothing at both ends of the joint, and then a generous painting internally with black bitumen paint, and externally with gloss.
Sometimes guttering will leak where it discharges into a hopper head by tracking back along the underside of the gutter. Fitting a bolt through the gutters at its lowest point directly over the hopper head to form a drip easily cures this.
Another potential problem can arise from the traditional practice of using one bracket per length of gutter, leaving one end dependant on its neighbour. This is fine whilst everything remains sound and does not require repairing, but this makes repairs awkward and any breakages from snow or old age can lead to a domino effect, bringing down adjacent components. We prevent this scenario by fitting extra gutter brackets.
Although it sounds obvious, after installation or repair work, gutters should be tested. A bucket of water poured into the far end will find any leaks and also indicate if any adjustments need making. Old buildings can settle considerably and sometimes the outlets need to be reversed.
And finally, for maintenance, cast-iron guttering and downpipes, like all gutters, needs cleaning out every year or two to prevent the build up of debris in the downpipe. This, together with the application of black bitumen paint to protect the inside every five or six years, will generally be sufficient to ensure many trouble-free years of use.