Trying to find truly authentic ironwork and decorative metalwork nowadays can be difficult. These traditional skills are disappearing, but luckily there are still some maintaining this craft using all the old traditional methods and high grade raw materials. Traditional ironwork craftsmen make a wide range of metalwork products which are suitable for many applications and interior design projects. Typical products include bathroom accessories, bolts, door knockers, hinges, hooks, kitchen accessories, latches, pull handles, stair fittings, window fittings, gates, fences, guttering, downpipes and even staircases.
In many cases, professional metalworkers can salvage existing metalwork such as guttering and downpipes, renovating them and refitting with new fixings and seals. But if the original items are beyond repair or have been replaced with plastic, the traditional look can be reclaimed by fitting new custom ironwork goods which are exact reproductions of the originals. Iron gates and railings are a bit of a growth industry right now, as nearly all the original iron railings were removed by the government during the Second World War and many gates and railings that have been reinstated since the war are mostly the thin scroll wrought iron type which do not suit period properties.
Local metal or iron works around the UK can make wrought iron gates and railings to traditional designs which are galvanized and painted to last for many years. Another popular job is reproduction door furniture, fitted brass letter plates, knockers and door pulls can be custom made then fitted to give a fantastic period appearance with a natural patina over time.
If you are looking to commission some decorative ironwork, the headache is how to avoid the cowboys and find an honest metalworker that will provide a good, reliable service at a fair price. If friends and family can't recommend anyone, it's hard to know where to start, simply choosing from the listings in local business directories or Yellow Pages is not recommended.
Local recommendations are the next best thing to personal recommendations, your trading standards service may operate a Register with lists of tradesman who have been recommended and have undergone a strict vetting procedure, the Local Authority Assured Trader Scheme Network is another good starting point as it links together some of the schemes run by 18 local authority trading standards services. However, you choose, be as specific as possible and set out a detailed, clear brief when requesting at least three quotes.
Ask for a written quotation with start and finish times and agreed payment terms. Always seek references, speak to previous customers and if possible visit them to see examples of previous jobs. Only use established firms with an office address and landline phone number and only pay for work that has been done and not by advance payments. However, if materials need to be bought in advance, it's reasonable to pay a percentage of these costs.
6 feet lengths of mass produced iron railings can be bought "off the shelf" from around £60 to £200, and gates from around £100, depending on the height and design. However, bespoke railings and gates to your design will cost considerably more. For custom ironwork you will need to get in touch with local metalworkers and discuss your needs to get advice and quotes for the work required. Use the "post your job" button on this page to have metalworkers near you get in contact so you can find out more about decorative metalwork and the costs involved.