Guttering and drain pipes on houses are always overlooked, but if they develop issues can lead to some serious problems for your roofline. Follow this advice on how to repair or replace your guttering.
Warning signs to look out for:
Damp patches appearing on walls or ceiling, but remember that condensation can move in strange directions so the cause may not be obvious.
Stains, discolouration and algae on the walls, and plant growth in the actual gutters.
Deterioration to walls due to frost damage, caused by the wall constantly held to water.
Water pooling around the base of the building.
Gutter fixings or other brackets found on the ground near to the house.
How to check your gutters for damage
Check your gutters once yearly for damage. Get a ladder, climb up and visually inspect them. Looking from the ground up just won’t work as you need to see inside of it and behind it to check the brackets.
Visually inspect the guttering system is fit for purpose, start at the top of your property and follow the route the water takes when travelling down to the ground, or on rainy days check for leaks and overflows. To prevent rainwater cascading off roofs, it’s important that the guttering is positioned correctly, and that there are sufficient downpipes to cope with a heavy downpour – at least one downpipe for every 12 metres in length.
It is essential that the brackets and fixings that attach the gutters to exterior walls are secure and able to withstand heavy seasonal loadings from snow and ice.
Guttering is supposed to have a gentle slope to help direct the water cleanly to the exit point. If there is no significant slope, the water will not flow away and a build-up of sediment may cause overflowing. Too much of a slope, however, and torrents of water will gush past and overshoot.
Gutters and downpipes that are blocked by leaves, moss and other debris cause water to spill down the face of the wall or seep into the timber behind the guttering, including the ends of the rafters and joists. Water trapped in pipes during cold weather can freeze, resulting in cracks and splits in the metalwork.
Cracked gutters and downpipes repairs can sometimes be made with joint repair tape or gutter sealant.
Joints are a potential weak point in both gutters and downpipes, so ensure they haven’t become disconnected and are leak free. Rusted or missing bolts are often the culprit, along with loose gutter brackets and downpipe fittings.
Where a gutter is clear but water is not running away, the ‘fall’ or angle may be incorrect. A good way to test this is by pouring a bucket of water along the gutter. If the slope is insufficient the water will not flow away, whereas if it’s too steep water will overshoot.
Ensure gutter brackets are fixed to a sound surface and are capable of supporting the added weight of snow or heavy downpours – ideally one bracket per every metre length of gutter.
A rainwater system should empty into gullies and drains at the base of downpipes so the water flows clear of the building. An easy way to check the system is running freely is by tipping a bucket of water down it.
Wearing gloves, clear any debris from gullies or, if necessary and possible, use drain rods.
Protect gullies with easily removable grille covers, which are available in a range of styles.
Old style gutters were mostly made of cast iron, which superseded earlier lead styled box gutters. Towards the end of the 19th century there was a short-lived vogue for copper guttering among architects, but as an expensive material its use was restricted to the best quality housing.
In recent years the rainwater fittings on many period houses have been thoughtlessly replaced with cheap-looking plastic gutters, often poorly fitted in clashing styles and colours. Only where buildings are listed or located in Conservation Areas is it likely that homeowners will have replaced the old guttering in authentic matching materials.
If your house still has its original cast-iron rainwater fittings, the best option is to overhaul the existing system. Where replacement is necessary, new factory-painted cast-iron systems are widely available.
PVC guttering is now the most common form of fitted gutters, soffits and fascia and also relatively light, making installation easier and quicker. Although it doesn’t suffer from corrosion, plastic is very prone to developing leaks at joints due to expansion and contraction, and older fittings become brittle with age and degrade in sunlight.
There are two main styles – curved ‘half-round’, and ‘squareline’, both available in a variety of colours. Plastic rarely looks complementary on old buildings. Traditional designs are, however, now available in glass-reinforced polyester, which replicates the texture and style of cast-iron fittings, but has a shorter lifespan.
Making sure you pick the right company to handle your gutter repairs Dublin is very important. This is why you should give us a call! Unbeatable prices on all our guttering repairs and installations.