To overcome problems in long metal gutters, Dixon Jones has incorporated T-Pren on the roof of the Royal Opera House

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T-Pren supplied by Matthew Hebden has been used by architect Dixon Jones on the refurbishment of the Royal Opera House in London. The product was selected in order to overcome expansion problems in the long metal gutters on the complicated roofscape.

The daily and seasonal thermal cycling causes metal gutter linings to expand and contract, and if expansion joints are not provided this movement causes the metal to crack and so the gutter to leak. The traditional solution was to use the metal in short lengths, increasing the need for outlets, or incorporate expansion steps into the gutter. However, the height of the parapet may not be able to accommodate the number of steps required or, in the case of masonry, it may not be possible to cut the steps. 

T-Pren forms a waterproof expansion joint, which eliminates the standard step detail and results in fewer rainwater outlets, which can be difficult to position inside buildings.

Developed more than 25 years ago in Europe, T-Pren is a composite material with a centre section of neoprene to provide the expansion and contraction bonded to metal on either side, which is then soldered or welded onto sections of the metal gutter. The bonding is done under strictly controlled factory conditions in accordance with ISO 9002 quality standards.

The versatility of T-Pren makes it suitable for gutters of all shapes, widths and falls. Although expansion is more of a problem in internal gutter linings, T-Pren is also used in external gutters and structural self-supporting assemblies. Different versions are available for each metal – aluminium, copper, lead, stainless, terne coated stainless and zinc.

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