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‘The rain in Spain’ may well ‘fall mainly on the plain’, but in the UK it mainly falls on the roof and has to find its way effectively, from there via the guttering, down downpipes into the drains and soakaways that most homes have, before finding its way safely to the council’s drainage infrastructure or the local streams and runaways then heading to a nearby river. And in the UK, especially with changing weather patterns that are tending to see us get our rain less often, but in greater quantity, the rainwater goods have to be up to the task.

Rainwater goods have traditionally been metal – usually cast iron – however these days, on most new build, self-build, refurbishment and replacement projects, the rainwater goods are plastic-based systems, uPVC or similar materials.

And the increasing popularity of these modern rainwater systems is not coincidental. The benefits of a plastic system are many and obvious and when you’re looking for benefits of any system in the building industry, it’s best to have benefits for both the homeowner and the installer. For starters they are very lightweight but extremely durable, with lower initial outlay and lower maintenance costs. It makes it easier to sell to the property owner and easier to sell to the installation company. Its pretty inconceivable that in this day and age, many homeowners are going to insist on a new rainwater system that demands the erection of scaffolding to fix it to the building unless the roof is being replaced as well.

New lightweight rainwater systems can be easily fitted to most homes using ladders quite safely. And if a piece of guttering or a bracket slips out of an installers grasp, the likely damage on the way down to ground level is minimal if anything at all.

In addition there’s the speed of installation using modern lightweight systems. Assuming soffits and boards are in decent condition, removal of an elderly rainwater system and replacement with a new plastic system is for most standard homes these days, a day’s job, possibly a few hours more.

But what about the look of plastic rainwater systems….don’t they look, well, plasticky? The choice of profiles is huge so you can choose rainwater systems in a number of colours, a number of profiles and a number of finishes to slot neatly into any new building or replacement guttering and downpipe scenario. And even if you like the look of authentic cast iron guttering but don’t like the weight problems, and the maintenance and cost issues – there’s a solution for that too. Use a cast iron ‘look-a-like’ rainwater system such as Polypipe’s Elegance rainwater system, which once on a building, to the eye looks exactly like cast iron guttering and down pipes. So you can have ‘cast iron’ drainage systems with none of the degradation drawbacks you get with the real thing. You get a lightweight, low maintenance solution at a lower cost that’s quick to install, comes ready to fit without the need to paint it or apply protective coatings, and is fully compatible with other modern rainwater systems.

Polypipe Building Products offers its enhanced and extended Elegance cast iron effect uPVC rainwater system with the addition of the unique notched gutter concept for its Ogee profile to add to the original half round profile. The Elegance range has been designed in such a way that each profile in the range utilises a common downpipe, making installation and ordering very simple. In addition it has launched a new range of soil and vent products in a matching cast iron effect finish.

The new notched Ogee profile guttering provides a secure fit and counters the problem of gutters becoming dislodged from their retaining clips during warm weather due to heat expansion, help making leaky joints a thing of the past. The leading edge of the gutter is notched and the system uses a flexible band clip to secure the gutter. The lugs on the gutter are simply matched to the band clip and snapped into place.

In addition to the notches, Polypipe has included grooves midway between the notches which act as cutting markers when cutting the lengths of guttering. These benefits, in addition to the lightweight construction of the guttering system, make handling, assembly and installation as simple as possible for installers.

Simon Green is Polypipe’s Category Director for the drainage and water management side of the business: “We’re excited to be able to offer the Elegance range with the new Ogee profile which closely resembles the profile found on original cast iron installations and the range is being extended with new fittings available soon,” he says. “This will make it easy to preserve the traditional look of a period home when replacing the original guttering, but with the knowledge that it will give a more secure fit, be simpler to install, give rise to far lower maintenance and be far lighter than the original.”

The compatible soil and vent range is based on the Polypipe 110mm soil pipe, supplied in 3 metre lengths with a selection of sockets, bends and a vent terminal. The range uses Polypipe’s popular push-fit system, again for quick and easy installation.



One of the first homes in the UK to benefit from Polypipe’s Elegance Ogee rainwater system was the home of Steve Parsons in rural Worcestershire.

Following a major downpour in the Worcestershire countryside, the elderly cast iron guttering on Steve Parson’s house became detached from the fascia boards over his bedroom window. When he tried to temporarily straighten and reattach the now flapping piece of guttering, it became detached either side of the original problem as well, swinging alarmingly in the air and Steve realised – despite not being ‘Mr Practical’ – that the cast iron guttering – which was far heavier than he had anticipated before heading up the ladder to sort it out – could literally fall off, damaging the house and from his precarious position up the ladder – him! It was time to call in the experts!

The house, a solid four bedroom detached red brick house, stood out in the countryside, open to the elements. It had been built by a farmer who had retired, sold the farm and built a retirement home at the end of one of his former fields. That was in 1954.

Now in 2010, the guttering needed replacing. Having been nearly decapitated by the old guttering, Steve had no desire to replace the old cast iron guttering and downpipes with new cast iron, and was impressed by the latest Elegance uPVC cast iron look alike system from by Polypipe. The Elegance Ogee notched – which to him had a little more class, looked just right for the property and the decision was made.

“I’m impressed both by the way it looks and that the guys who fitted it, who had not worked with this system before, managed to get it up and in place so quickly,” said Steve.

Full details of the new extended Elegance rainwater range can be found on its own dedicated web site at www.polypipe.com/elegance and Elegance is available from merchants now.

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