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Ground-breaking new Heritage Valley Trough shows British innovation is alive and well


GRP manufacturing specialist Filon Products has a long-held reputation as an innovator in the roofing sector, having pioneered the original GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) profiled sheets manufactured by continuous pultrusion process in the 1950s. Filon also manufactured the first continuously produced GRP valley troughs as an alternative to costly lead products in the 1980s.

Heritage Valley with Stone Tiles

More recently, the company has introduced a ground-breaking new addition to its range of GRP valley gutters. Designed for use with plain tile and slate roofs, the Heritage Valley combines the proven benefits of GRP construction with the classic, heritage aesthetic of a close mitred valley – previously only attainable with lead soakers beneath the roof tiles. This design provides an elegant seamless transition from one roof slope to the next with a completely hidden valley gutter. The only things visible are the tiles.

Not just for heritage projects

The simplicity of the installation of the Heritage Valley has meant it’s also finding favour in a wide range of ‘non-heritage’ applications – in fact, wherever aesthetics is a key consideration. A recent project using plain tiles was a Sainsbury’s convenience store, but it is also perfectly suited to most other flat format tiles including concrete and clay interlocking varieties along with man-made and artificial slates. Another recent project replaced a failed swept valley that used reconstituted stone tiles and gave a beautiful trouble-free solution and appearance to the roof.

Heritage Valley with Natural Slate

Outstanding aesthetics, lower costs, practical advantages

It’s widely known that GRP is much lighter than lead and is completely non-toxic. Also, with no scrap value, it’s not subject to the risk of theft. In addition to these advantages, the Heritage Valley also brings significant cost savings when compared to lead. The material cost of GRP is lower and with no specialist lead working skills required on-site, labour costs are reduced too.

A truly innovative British design that delivers further savings, too

Steve Makin, one of the experienced British design team members behind the Heritage Valley, explains: “The unique, dry-fix ’S’ design of the Heritage Valley maintains a wide drainage channel but has a much narrower span between the tile support ledges. This design eliminates the need for costly valley roof tiles on plain tile roofs. With the short span between support ledges, there are no unsupported small cut tiles or slates, so no additional tile support pieces are required and the quantity of slate / tile and a half going into the valley is significantly reduced: another huge cost saving.” He continued: “Also, no special eaves closures are needed. With no gaps at the foot of the valley to fill, the fascia board is simply square cut to fit the valley trough profile.”

British design and production expertise working together

GRP is an outstanding construction material, but presents production challenges which have until now, limited the design of valley troughs.

Filon’s Technical Consultant, Steve Vickers, has been central to the project since its inception. He said: “Bringing the Heritage Valley to market has involved focussed teamwork. It’s the most complex profile we’ve ever produced. We’ve always encouraged a culture of continuous improvement and openness to new ideas at Filon and this latest achievement is down to the hard work and collaborative efforts of many people.”

Designing tooling to create the unique ’S’ profile of the product, was just one of the challenges faced. Technical Supervisor Matt Camp put the design into CAD format and developed the many different sets of tooling that were necessary to achieve the exact profile required. He commented: “In the early stages, the material simply didn’t behave as we expected it to. Tooling for GRP production can require refinement and adjustment, and this was a particularly demanding product to get right.”

Plain Tile Roof with Heritage Valley Trough Exposed

Filon: a proud British innovator

Managing Director, Mark Wilcox, concluded: “The Heritage Valley complements our existing valley trough range and meets a specific need in the roofing sector. I’m proud that it further endorses our claim to be ‘The innovator in GRP construction products’ – and I offer huge thanks to the brilliant team that have turned this outstanding idea into a practical reality with a realistic price point”.

For further information, visit: www.filon.co.uk/products/new-heritage-valley