How to choose the right rainwater system for your project

04 July 2018

How to choose the right rainwater system for your project

There’s an abundance of choice when it comes to selecting rainwater systems, with a wide variety of aesthetically pleasing products available for any building project.  However, it’s important to consider the environmental hazards your project will be exposed to when deciding on the right system.

While aesthetics are important, selecting guttering and downpipes require a deeper consideration of the environment the system is going into. You’ll need to consider:

  • If your project is taking place in a heritage or conservation area. You may need to select a material that respects the original character of a property.
  • Level of water flow. In areas that receive heavy rainfall, some materials will be better suited.
  • Snow load. Again, when snow and ice are a factor your material selection will be affected.
  • Expected lifecycle. Some materials offer a longer lifecycle and more lasting durability, but may come at an increased cost.

Guarding Against Weather

Protect your property from the ingress of water by selecting a durable rainwater system that guards against water damage and damp. Combining aesthetic value with durability is important – as even the best-looking system must also be able to handle heavy downpours.

A good systems must also be able to retain their aesthetics when the sun comes out not discolouring or cracking when the temperature rises. One that can withstand a heavy snow load if required without becoming misshapen and which is also the right size to take the water flow from your roof.

Heritage and Durability Through Metal

All the above considered, a metal rainwater system is the only way to attain the right combination of hardwearing durability and aesthetic properties that can withstand the factors we’ve covered.

However, there are lots of different choices when it comes to metal guttering. How do you select the right one for your project? We’ve broken it down for you:


Aluminium guttering is supplied with either a smooth or textured finish adding a stylish touch. The range of gutter profiles, pipe shapes and sizes along with a choice of colours and ornate accessories such as ear bands, will help to tailor this product to the character of your dwelling.

A deep flow gutter is available to cope with high volumes of water flow from the roof, avoiding overflow and splashing.

The gutters will also be strong enough to accommodate heavy snow loads – though the addition of extra fixing brackets in areas of concern is recommended.

The addition of a joint clip fixing method on the gutters which doesn’t require mechanical fixings or welding joints will make it both quicker and easier to install. Aluminium offers a long service life of over 30 years and is fully recyclable.

Cast Iron

This classical rainwater system which has been popular since the 1700s is acceptable for use on listed and heritage buildings.

A heavier material than aluminium, cast iron guttering offers the same durable properties with a 40 year or more life expectancy, however a small amount of maintenance such as repainting can further extend this.

A range of traditional gutter profiles, decorative ear bands along with the addition of stylish rainwater hoppers can certainly ensure that the feel of old and historical buildings are reflected.

Cast iron is fully recyclable and through the natural oxidisation process it aids in the growth of green and planktonic life.

Copper, Zinc & Stainless Steel

These materials are chameleon like, changing patina overtime adding depth and colour to the rainwater system. They are a great choice for structures that are timber clad, oak framed or indeed garden houses whose exteriors also change colour as the wood ages, adding to their beauty.

The attractive patina caused by oxidisation also functions as an exceptional, natural defence against the elements, making them a good choice of material to be used on coastal properties where erosion by the salt in the atmosphere can be a concern.

Copper gutters & downpipes have proven durability having been used successfully for many generations offering an almost unlimited life service.

A natural truly sustainable and 100% recyclable material, copper also acts as an algaecide and fungicide helping to keep moss and lichen growth to a minimum, proving to be a maintenance free system. It’s also a great choice for those wanting to harvest rainwater.

A zinc or stainless steel rainwater system will bring a contemporary feel to building projects, again having outstanding durability and requiring minimal maintenance.

These rainwater systems are made from lightweight materials and do require a little more care to be taken when delivering and installing, with the use of gloves at all stages a necessity.

Advice from the experts

Still confused over which system to select? We’d be happy to talk through your project’s requirements and discuss our recommendations. Simply click here to get in touch.