Metal products: showcasing a cast of thousands

Metal-products supplier Rainclear has been steadily expanding its versatile offer

Whether it’s a major heritage restoration or building a garden shed, Rainclear’s metal products can be found on many sites, painted and ready to use.

“Metal products are often made from a high percentage of recycled material and can be fully recycled at end of life”

Although best known for rainwater systems, the company has expanded as a supplier of fascia and soffit, window pods, copings, flat roof outlets, door canopies, carports, verandas and pergolas, among much else.

Managing director Anthony Hitchman explains: “Whether it’s a heritage and conservation project requiring cast iron guttering – which is where we started – or a contemporary project, we’ve got the expertise to supply both. We can supply metal construction product ranges for anything from DIY projects, up to the National Trust’s headquarters, so it’s a wide customer mix.”

The trust’s Swindon headquarters (pictured) is not a listed building, but was a refurbishment project for which Rainclear supplied bespoke aluminium copings where “almost every component had to be made to measure”, Hitchman says.

Other notable heritage projects supplied by Rainclear include the Flaxmill in Shrewsbury, and Coal Drops Yard in London’s Kings Cross, the latter of which “has been fully refurbished as a shopping complex with restaurants, and there was a lot of work required for conservation purposes, so that was quite a challenging but rewarding project”, he says.

Ready painted

Rainclear’s cast iron rainwater-system products come ready painted unless the customer wishes to do their own painting, in which case they can be supplied primed. The advantage is that products are ready to install immediately, instead of simply being primed for painting on site.

“I believe we were the first online retailer to offer pre-painted cast iron,” Hitchman says. “It’s popular because I don’t think clients find it cost-effective to have people trying to paint metal by hand, especially on a cold, wet, wintry site.”

The architectural aluminium and galvanised steel roofline ranges, which can be supplied either naturally uncoated or colour-coated, come powder-coated, “which gives better ongoing protection for the products”, he says.

Rainclear was originally an online stockist only of metal rainwater products but has since evolved into a large stockist of all the various metal retail and commercial building construction products.

“We started off with cast iron rainwater, moved into cast aluminium, then into contemporary aluminium for more modern projects, and once more into galvanised steel, zinc, copper, and we’re now a multi-product-metal stockist,” Hitchman explains.

The industry is increasingly concerned about sustainability and faces client demands for this. “Metal products are often made from a high percentage of recycled material, and can be fully recycled at end of life,” he says.

“The embedded carbon varies between the different metals and some contain higher percentages of recycled material than others, depending on the availability of scrap at the time of production,
but the overriding case for metal versus other materials is its full recyclability.”

Hitchman says Rainclear’s huge stock range means it can supply products rapidly. It also has good relationships with UK manufacturers, allowing it to supply the appropriate system to a customer irrespective of who manufactures it or whether it needs to be fabricated to order.

He adds: “We understand the products we offer – and that is where our expertise lies.”

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