This section has tips about caring for gutters and downpipes.

Make sure you do the easy jobs. In the autumn, once the leaves are off the trees, make sure they are cleared from the gutters. If you have sand-coated tiles, take the opportunity to clear and sand as well as moss that has washed off into the gutters. Check too for cracks and damaged joints.

Most original guttering in houses from the Georgian period until the 1960s was in cast iron. Some was in lead.

The advantages are that:

  • it is strong
  • if kept painted it resists corrosion
  • it has a very long life; 100 years can be achieved

It can be refurbished. Be warned that cast iron is heavy; if you have to remove a section, scaffolding is recommended.

Typical problems are surface rust, splits and leaking joints.

To deal with minor rust and small splits, strip the paint in the area of the damage, chip off the loose rust and then use a two-part epoxy filler. Protect any bare metal with primer, rubber-based undercoat and two coats of gloss as soon as possible.

With major splits, you really have to replace the damaged component. Look for a salvaged part or contact a company making new cast iron gutters.

To solve a leaky joint, use a hacksaw to cut the bolts so you can separate the pieces. Clean the joint and re-assemble again with a sealant. Repaint as soon as possible.

For companies specialising in this area, see the Products and Services Directory.