Listed Building Maintenance - Gutters & Downpipes

Part of: Listed Buildings - Repair and Maintenance

Advice about maintaining and replacing gutters and downpipes on listed buildings.


When it rains, faults in gutters and downpipes will quickly lead to saturation of adjacent areas of wall causing damp problems.

image of gutters
Blocked gutters and downpipes and subsequent plant growth can cause water to overflow on to the façade, creating damp problems – an issue which can easily be avoided by regularly clearing and maintaining gutters.

In most listed buildings gutters and downpipes are made from cast iron. This is a very resilient material and will clean up well and be reusable. If part or all of the system needs to be replaced, it is essential that heavy duty cast metal, preferably cast iron, is used.

18 century cast iron hopper and downpipe
18th Century cast iron hopper and downpipe, Glynn Park, Carrickfergus

Plastic gutters and downpipes and most modern lightweight metal alternatives, as well as being out of place historically, will not last and can be prone to damage by ladders.

It is also important that when replacing gutters care should be taken not to alter the eaves detail, for instance by introducing a wooden fascia where there wasn’t one before.

cast iron ogee gutter hopper and downpipe
Cast iron ‘ogee’ gutter, hopper and downpipe, St Lucia’s Barracks

Further Information

For additional technical guidance please visit the Historic Environment Toolkit.

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