If you’ve decided that the time’s come to get rid of your old, heavy, rusty or leaking gutters, or if you simply need to make good some of the leaky parts, then you’ll want to know what the best replacements are.
There are plenty of materials available for replacements, ranging from the traditional cast iron and asbestos cement to more modern cast aluminium and rolled-sheet aluminium and the increasingly popular uPVC. Here are a few of the most important considerations to help you choose your new rainwater goods.
Like-for-like replacement? Or start from scratch?
If you’re only replacing a short section of guttering rather than the house’s entire rainwater goods, then you’ll want to replace like with like – or at least with something that’s in keeping. This isn’t always as easy as it may seem, especially if you’re replacing cast-iron guttering, but it can be a problem with modern uPVC too.
On the other hand, uPVC guttering is a lot easier to install than either aluminium or cast iron, so if you’re replacing a lot of cast iron guttering, it may be worth considering full replacement of your rainwater goods rather than patching up a system that’s already near the end of its useful life.
Size does matter
Whatever you’re replacing, make sure that your new guttering is at least the same size, or you may well find that it’s perennially overflowing!
Go with the flow
Changes to the layout of your guttering and downpipes – even small ones – can make very significant differences to the rate at which rainwater is carried away. For instance, siting your downpipe near a bend in the guttering can mean a big reduction in the flow rate, and downpipes near the end of a gutter don’t perform as efficiently as centrally located ones. (This may only be a consideration if you’re providing guttering for a brand new build rather than simply replacing an old installation.)
Maintaining your profile
There are a variety of profiles of gutter – the most common are half-round, box and ogee. If the section isn’t symmetrical, as with the variations on the ogee theme, you’ll need to check whether to order left-handed or right-handed replacement components at certain points, eg on corners. The same applies if your guttering joins to your neighbour’s at some point and your replacement guttering will have a different profile from theirs.