With the unpredictable British weather in recent years, buildings need a variety of plastic rainwater systems to cope with the volume of water that needs managing. So, while installers are still using standard systems, there is also a movement to deeper flow systems that can carry more water.
Clearly, a major risk to these systems comes from lack of maintenance: if the guttering fills up it will overflow and water will run down the side of the house, heightening the potential for damp. Equally, if systems are not installed properly and could fall from a property, they become potentially dangerous to pedestrians.
Also, as we approach the winter months, rainwater systems face the problem of “snow loading”: snow gathers in gutters and becomes heavy, potentially causing system failure.
Under extreme weight, there is a risk that the system is pulled away from the side of the building. To avoid this, correct system specification and installation is very important.
Getting rainwater system installation right
The standard practice for plastic rainwater system installation is to use a bracket for every metre of guttering. For normal conditions, that’s adequate. However, in areas with high snowfall – we’re looking at you Scotland – it’s necessary to use a bracket every half-metre.
The plastic brackets Polypipe produce are robust and we recommend using the correct number of screws for installation, which is three screws rather than one.
Today, the majority of rainwater systems are made from plastic and are preferable to traditional cast iron, which can be difficult to install and requires repainting as part of its maintenance. Plastic, on the other hand, is easier to install, needs a lot less maintenance and is endlessly recyclable. It is also available in longer lengths – up to four metres – which means fewer joints and fewer brackets to make it functional.
People and products
The expanding market has also seen the introduction of new kite marks in the past five years covering brackets and loading. There’s also been a growth in “skinned” products: these are two-layer systems with an outer skin made from a premium material to make it a better product overall, performing better in sunlight and more durable. These new standards haven’t really affected Polypipe products, as we’ve always had credible rainwater systems and we’re one of the few manufacturers with both kitemark and BBA approval for our range.
As well as product quality, there is now a wider range of colours in plastic rainwater systems, offering greater choice and flexibility in design.
When specifying systems, you should be looking for products from reputable manufacturers, that are fit for purpose, with the necessary warranty and supplied with comprehensive installation guidance.