New Heritage Valley is a ‘game changer’ for plain tile & slate roofs

‘Innovation’ is a word that tends to be over-used these days. However, GRP roofing products specialist Filon Products is receiving widespread accolades for its new Heritage Valley design, which breaks important new ground in the pitched roofing sector. Designed for use with plain tile and slate roofs, the Heritage Valley combines the proven benefits of GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) construction, with the classic, heritage aesthetic of a close mitred valley – previously only attainable with lead soakers.

Heritage aesthetics, with lower costs and practical advantages

GRP is much lighter than lead, completely non-toxic and because it has no scrap value, it’s not subject to any risk of theft. In addition to these advantages, the Heritage Valley also brings significant cost savings when compared to lead.

Firstly, the material cost of GRP is lower, resulting in a reduced initial outlay – and with no specialist lead working skills required, labour costs are reduced too. Further savings are delivered by the innovative design of the product itself.

Steve Makin, one of the design team 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.”

GRP design and production teamwork at its best

GRP is an outstanding construction material, but presents challenges in product design and production, which have until now, limited the extent to which various product features could be employed.

Filon’s Technical Consultant, Steve Vickers, has been closely involved with the project since its inception. He said: “Bringing the Heritage Valley to market has involved intensive teamwork, as 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 designed 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 always requires refinement and adjustment and this was a particularly demanding product to get right.”

Production Manager John Charles was tasked with overseeing production trials and keeping the team motivated throughout a long period of trial and error which eventually led to the solution. He added: “There’s often no shortcut with GRP. One of the biggest challenges we faced was the very small time window required to get the material to working temperature. We’ve now firmly established all the production parameters, which means we’re able to manufacture in quantity to our regular lead times.”

Filon: a long tradition of innovation

Filon has been a leader in GRP construction products for over sixty-five years, having pioneered the original GRP 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.

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

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