Architectural metalwork care and maintenance guides

These guides aim to help homeowners and property managers to understand the nature and requirements of caring for historic metalwork.

Dorothea Restorations are passionate about the preservation of historic architectural iron and metalwork. As recognised specialists in this field, we’ve put together some helpful guides on the maintenance of all types of architectural and ornamental metalwork that you may be responsible for the care of.

From cast iron rainwater goods to casement window maintenance, we’ve put together these guides for both homeowners and professionals to help broaden your understanding of metalwork care and aid in formulating a best practise maintenance plan.

As always, restoration work should always be carried out by a qualified professional so in the first instance, please do get in touch with your specific needs or requirements for the best advice and an expert opinion.
You are welcome to use this material as you see fit, but please do give us credit if you decide to publish the material elsewhere.

Caring for Cast Iron Rainwater Systems

Metal Casement Window Care

Maintaining Traditional Leaded Light Windows

Architectural Cast Ironwork Care

Caring for Architectural Wrought Ironwork

General Conservation & Care Principles


Many examples of architectural metalwork have been around for generations, and we have a responsibility to hand them down again to the next.
Dorothea Restorations developed a “first of its kind” conservation policy which set the industry standard for conservation works which you can read here. Some of the most basic and fundamental principles to sensitive and correct conservation are listed below.

  • Use acknowledged experts - Independent and objective advice from the right people is fundamental. Only employ skilled and experienced craftsmen with knowledge of conservation work
  • Only repair the parts of the structure that really need it – Replacement is always a last resort and even then needs careful consideration for the existing ironwork and historical context
  • Ensure correct materials and recognised repair techniques are used and that even the smallest alterations made are done well
  • Understanding the reasons for the failure of any metalwork before undertaking repair works is fundamental.
  • Keep well-organised records of all restoration works undertaken.
  • Don’t look at problems in isolation – consider them in the context of the building as a whole

For more in-depth information about material properties, historical context, practical applications and restoration processes for specific metals such as cast and wrought iron please click here for our Tech Spec Guides.  
Coming Soon: Detailed information about some of the industrial machinery we often care for including water wheels, beam engines and traditional mills. Ideal for those responsible for the care and maintenance or purely with an interest in Britain’s engineering heritage.