UPVC v Cast Iron Guttering

If you’re looking to replace your guttering you may be weighing up the pros and cons between UPVC and Cast Iron. There are many things to factor into the equation, but one of the most important is whether your property is a listed building. If it is you must comply with the law and regulations that surround listed buildings. For any changes you are planning to make to your listed property, you will have to obtain a listed building consent form from your local planning council. It is highly unlikely that plastic guttering would be approved for buildings like this. You can visit the website to see if your property is listed: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/

As well, if you own a period property which isn’t listed you may find that replacing cast iron gutters with a UPVC guttering system would look very out of place simply because of the character of your property. This could also be true the other way around. State of the art modern homes may not suit cast iron and UPVC would look much more in character.

Here we look into the general pros and cons between UPVC and Cast iron guttering.

UPVC

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  • Easy to replace. If you need to replace elements in the future you can do this quickly and easily.
  • Easy to clean. Even thought it may become dirty through the winter months with debris and green mould it is very easy to clean, especially if you clean it annually.
  • The flexible nature of UPVC guttering means that during freezing temperatures it is unlikely to split.
  • It is cheaper than cast iron guttering.
  • UPVC can last for many years without cracking, breaking or splitting.
  • Easy to install and lightweight.

Cons

  • Plastic can easily get scratched and scuffed.
  • Seal damage. The rubber seals can easily wear and become loose.
  • Weather damage. Plastic can bend and warp depending on the weather conditions.
  • The plastic can over time if not looked after, become discoloured and dull.
  • Double bracket issues. One of the main problems with UPVC guttering is that the double brackets through movement can create drips and leaks.

Cast Iron

Pros

  • Cast iron can literally last for decades.
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  • Easy to repair. If leaks or cracks appear it is extremely easy to repair.
  • No bending or warping.
  • Easy to repaint. Should the cast iron need sprucing up you can easily paint it with Bitumen which seals the inside and the outside of the pipe. Read this article for further details: https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/repairing-cast-iron-guttering/
  • Secure joints. As the joints are securely fastened with bolts and Bitumen, you are unlikely to suffer from leaks.
  • Aesthetically pleasing. Cast iron looks wonderful even after being installed for several years.

Cons

  • Can look tired. If you have used Bitumen paint and this starts to flake the guttering can look very unsightly.
  • If you do not look after your guttering it can rust which can cause problems further down the line.
  • Difficult to handle. Due to the inflexible nature of the material and its heaviness it can be difficult to replace.
  • It is more expensive than UPVC

Of course, this is just our verdict of pro’s and con’s, there are many more arguments for using one more than the other and of course everyone has different circumstances that they need to factor in.

Before you make any decision it is always best to seek the advice of a specialist cast iron guttering company so that you can talk through your property in detail and discuss your requirements.