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Removing cast-iron guttering

If the plants in your flower beds next to your walls are being battered by overflows every time it rains heavily, and your walls have rusty patches just below your eaves, then it may be time to get your cast-iron guttering replaced. (But see Lawrence’s comment below.)

This can be a tough job! Cast iron is heavy and brittle. And since you’re likely to be working at the top of a ladder, you’ll need to get someone to help – to make sure that the area below where you’re working is kept clear, to help keep you steady, and to take the lengths of guttering off you as they’re removed.

Cast-iron guttering comes in six-foot (1828mm) lengths that are sealed together with putty and fixed together with bolts and nuts. Since these fixings are frequently wet, it’s very likely that they’ll have rusted, so you may well find that you have to cut the lengths apart using a hacksaw, or drill out the bolts. Either way, wear goggles – you really do not want to get rust or swarf in your eye! It wouldn’t be a bad idea for you and your assistant to wear some tough gloves or gauntlets either.

Once you’ve removed the old guttering, you’ll need to replace it – but before you do that, check the fascia boards (and soffit boards, if there are any) to make sure they’re still in good condition. If your guttering has been leaking badly, the chances are that the boards will have started to rot. You’ll need to either cut away the rot, treat the sound wood with wood preserver and fill the gaps with filler, or else replace the board altogether, possibly with uPVC so that you don’t have to bother about the replacement board rotting…

OK, now it’s time to put the new guttering up. We’ll be talking about that soon.

2 Responses to “Removing cast-iron guttering”

  1. Lawrence Kelly

    I am appalled by the ‘advice’ you have given about replacing cast iron guttering. Like any type of guttering the fact that it is overflowing may simply mean that it needs cleaning out. Why don’t you mention this? A building with cast iron guttering is likely to be old and the guttering an important feature in which case replacing it with uPVC guttering would be an act of vandalism. Can I also point out that cast iron guttering will last far longer than uPVC!

  2. HouseWiz

    Point taken about the overflows, Lawrence.

    We do in fact mention the possibility of replacing like with like in our article about choosing new guttering. But if guttering is leaking badly then it will need replacing. What individual householders choose to replace it with – whether cast iron, aluminium or uPVC – will depend on their own tastes, budgets and circumstances.

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