Proper maintenance on the gutters at your property is perhaps the most important thing you can do to prevent water penetration and damage to your home. Gutters are actually designed to do one thing — channel water away from the foundation — and they’re critical to protecting the structural integrity of your house. A whole host of reasons can lead to faulty gutters – Ignorance and money saving can result in lack of maintenance or inappropriate replacements.
Here are the 3 Most Common Types of Guttering in UK Homes:
PVC is the most common type of gutter found on newer buildings and the most typical replacement for the older cast-iron gutters. They are inexpensive, light and easy to fit, with no painting required. uPVC gutters tend to come in white or black and are made of unplasticised polyvinyl chloride – A rigid, chemical-resistant plastic.
Aluminium gutters are lighter than cast-iron gutters. These are rust-resistant because as the metal corrodes it creates a hard finish to the surface, adding further protection. They come in many shapes are desirable as they can replicate traditional styles of cast iron gutters, without the rust or the weight. Aluminium gutters are not commonplace as uPVC is a cheaper alternative.
Cast Iron Gutters
If you live in a period property, it is likely that your gutters and downpipes are made of cast-iron and painted for additional protection. These are quite heavy compared with uPVC or aluminium gutters.
Common Guttering Problems:
When a gutter becomes blocked the water will overflow onto your external wall. A common cause of overflowing gutters is fallen leaves, moss growth, vegetation growth, and birds nests blocking the gutters; preventing rainwater from traveling to the downpipes and out into the drainage system.
Gutters must be unblocked before the organic debris completely blocks your gutters, scooped out from gutters and pushed out of downpipes using drainage rods. There are preventative measures you can take such as wire mesh or plastic balloons in the outlet, allowing clearance to take place before downpipes become blocked. This cleaning tends to happen after the leaves have fallen in the autumn. Every few months hoppers (box on top of downpipes) should be checked and cleared.
Sagging Guttering and Guttering Coming Away from the House
This tends to be caused by a fault with the hangers – the brackets that secure the gutters to the fascia. They might have deteriorated over time, the screws/nails may extracted from the wood due to rot, or they’re spaced inadequately to support the weight of full gutters. The cost to fix this issue is inexpensive and easy to carry out.
Holes and Leaks
Joints between different sections of guttering can leak, but can easily be fixed by using sealant on the inside. Small holes can be filled with gutter sealant but larger holes will require a patch, using another small section of guttering or metal flashing.
Gutters are only useful if they are present, so an adequate system must be fitted to provide a channel for water to be moved away from the foundations of a building.
Improperly Pitched Guttering
Gutters need to be pitched toward the downspouts for the water to flow properly. You want a fall of 1cm for every 3.5 metres of guttering.