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The importance of good guttering

Many of us don’t even think about the guttering on our homes, until it’s too late! There are many mistakes we make that devalue our property, but the one common factor people tend to ignore is their guttering.

Unfortunately, a good guttering system is its own worst enemy in that it functions so competently that we forget it’s even there. The importance of good guttering can not be overemphasised and without regular maintenance, the water seepage from faulty guttering can cause you serious problems, including:

  • Damage to siding
  • Internal property damage
  • Staining to brickwork
  • Long term damage to the property’s foundations if left long enough
  • Erosion and damage to gardens, patios driveways and pavements
  • Basement flooding

In a country like Britain where we have our fair share of rain, almost every property has guttering and many people are constantly dealing with the problem of overflowing gutters. It’s worth taking a bit of advice from the people at Age Concern Luton who inform their elderly residents that: “ It’s important to keep your gutters clean and clear”.

Just like window maintenance, regular repairs and maintenance of guttering can ward off larger and more costly damage. To help, here are some simple, yet effective tips on how to keep your guttering in tip top condition:

Clearing the trough

Removing debris from the gutters is a job best undertaken at the beginning of winter. During autumn, leaves will undoubtedly be blown or fall into the guttering and without clearing these the water build up could cause major damage. As we’ve already mentioned, built up leaves, dirt or other debris that has run down your roof and into your gutter can lead to a blockage in the system which in turn could lead to major problems.

The simplest method is to access the guttering from a ladder and scrape away the leaves, seeds and rubbish with a trowel. If the blockage has gone further into the downpipe then a drainage rod will be needed to flush out the debris from above.

Tip; to prevent the downpipe becoming blocked use an old school trick of a rolled up ball of chicken wire inserted at the point where the gutter meets the downpipe. This allows the water to flow freely, whilst halting the accompanying debris.

Leaky gutter joints

Did you know that one of the most common causes of isolated damp in UK homes is a leaking gutter. This can be caused by one of two faults:

  • Loose fittings or screws either from general wear and tear or from debris caught in the joints.
  • A faulty bracket, which will need replacing.

Gutter holes

If you discover small holes in your guttering you can try and seal it with metal sticky tape adhered over the hole with bitumen adhesive. But although this is a quick fix for the smaller holes, it won’t last forever and it would be at this point when you’d look to replace your guttering.

Like many things, gutter maintenance is reliant on good common sense and if you live in an area surrounded by flora and fauna, springtime and winter should be highlighted on your calendar as time to check your gutter. In our next post we can look at the history of guttering and where it all began.

[Photo by misiafefe]