Buildings using ferrous and non-ferrous metals

The industrial age saw a substantial increase in the use of mass produced cast and wrought iron and its use in architecture.

Whilst its use is familiar in railway infrastructure, it was commonly used by the close of the 19th century in the frame of many commercial and industrial buildings, as well as used more decoratively as railings and gates.

Ferrous metals such as cast and wrought iron, and steel, will usually need to be protected with a coating, and will rust if this fails. Ferrous metals expand as they decay and this is commonly identified in layering of the surface (known as corrosion jacking). When the metalwork in question is embedded within the structure or covered by other materials the rate of decay can go unnoticed until surface materials start to crack. These types of repair are structurally complex and require specialist advice.

Where metal elements comprise surface fixtures, fittings or decoration, special attention should be given to the method of cleaning back to grey metal and applying oxide paints to prevent corrosion setting in again.

Non-ferrous metals such as lead and bronze are much more resistant to corrosion, but they may still succumb if water is trapped in crevices.

Historic Scotland has published guidance on reinstating boundary ironwork, and the maintenance of iron gates and railings, both of which can be downloaded below.

Who to contact

Spatial Planning
Salford City Council
Civic Centre
Chorley Road
M27 5BY
Map to this location
0161 793 3782

Traditional materials and construction methods

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