Technical guides to metalwork restoration

These guides aim to help homeowners and property managers understand the metallurgy behind a variety of architecturally prevalent metals and how this dictates restoration techniques we regularly employ

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 resources explaining the background of a variety of metals used since antiquity in architecture. From cast iron to copper, we’ve put together these guides for both homeowners and professionals to help broaden your understanding of the significance of historic metalwork and what to expect from a professional restoration company when charged with its preservation. 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. 



Cast Iron

Wrought Iron

General Conservation and Care Principles


Many examples of architectural metalwork have been around for decades, and we have a responsibility to hand them down again to the next generation.

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