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Using gutters to protect your home from water damage

Water damage is one of the most common problems that homeowners have to deal with, particularly in locations with cold climates such as the UK. Annoyingly, water damage can strike at the most inconvenient times, and if your house is not properly protected, there can be a significant bill awaiting when you call in the specialists to perform the repair work. Water damage can accumulate over time undetected in the form of rot, which is not only expensive to fix but it can also cause a safety hazard and can affect the structural integrity of your property. The best way to combat water damage is through preventative measures, specifically by installing high quality, durable gutters and adhering to a sensible maintenance schedule to ensure that they are functioning optimally.

Why maintenance is essential

Cleaning your gutters might not be the most exciting task in the world, but it’s certainly preferable to dealing with the plethora of consequences of water damage to your property. Unclean, overflowing gutters can result in rainwater seeping into the roof of your home, which left unchecked can eventually cause the roof to collapse – hopefully not with you underneath it! In addition to the structural issues, damp spots in the building can also lead to fungal growths, mold and even insect infestations.

How to clean your gutters

GutteringThere are numerous businesses in the UK which specialise in gutter cleaning, and if you believe your property is at risk to water damage or your building is very tall, these kinds of companies might provide the ideal solution for you. However, if you’d rather save yourself the fee and you feel confident in performing this task yourself, it’s perfectly straightforward to do. Be warned however, ladder accidents are a real danger so when cleaning your gutters, always use a sturdy ladder and have someone at the bottom to hold it steady while you perform the clean. Never stand on the top two rungs of your ladder and avoid leaning out to the sides. For more information about ladder safety, please check out HSE’s informative guide (free to download).

Removing leaves and debris from both the gutters and roof should be your primary objective, since gutters clogged with leaves can quickly lead to overflowing, which can result in water damage. Cleaning should be performed wearing gloves and goggles, and it’s also useful to have a bucket to collect leaves and debris. Always remove debris working away from the drainpipe to avoid blockages, and cover the bottom of the pipe to avoid debris going down the drain just incase. A garden trowel is an ideal tool for removing debris, but there are also tools specifically designed for this job which can be purchased inexpensively. After the debris are cleared, hose down the gutters with water and brush off all encrusted dirt manually. Aim to perform a thorough cleanse at least twice a year, but be prepared to do this more frequently if you live in a particularly rainy climate or if your property is situated directly under trees.

Replacing defective gutters

If your gutters are old and simply aren’t doing the job properly anymore, it might be time for an upgrade. At Unicorn Windows we offer a selection of high gloss, gutters made out of PVC; a material which is commonly prefered over traditional cast iron gutters, which are heavier, more expensive and more difficult to install. Available in a selection of colours, our gutters are pleasing to the eye and are also built to last. If you’re considering upgrading your gutters, don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can help to guide your decision making process.

(Top photo by Christine and Hagen Graf)