The guttering around your house is probably one of the last things you think about. Gutters and downpipes aren’t very exciting. Probably you will never even notice yours until something goes wrong and they start leaking or fail altogether. Then it’s the wrong kind of excitement.
Gutters and Downpipes are in fact an essential part of your home. They carry away all the rainwater from your roof into your underground drainage system. Primarily they stop water from running down the sides of your house causing damp brickwork.
Let’s have look at the most common types of guttering found on your house.
PVC (plastic): The most widely used guttering. It is lightweight, comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. It is easy to handle and install. The 3 main shapes are half round, Square and Ogee which is similar in shape to the old style cast iron guttering. It is worth noting that Square and Ogee guttering can carry larger volumes of water.
Cast Iron: If you own an old property chances are it has or may have had cast iron guttering in the past. It usually comes in half round or Ogee style but on certain properties you may find square guttering or other unusual designs. Cast iron typically comes in lengths of around 4 feet and is joined together with an overlap with a small bolt to secure it. Traditionally the joins were sealed with putty. Cast iron guttering is quite heavy and not as easy to install as plastic types.
Concrete formed: A lot of older type council properties if you live near to Nottingham or Derby have sectional pre cast concrete gutters. These are built into the top courses of the house forming a guttering and fascia. It is quite common to have these removed and more common types of gutter to be installed.
Asbestos Gutter: Again on older houses in certain towns you may come across asbestos guttering, not very common but these are usually of the round type. Care should be taken of course when handling or removing them.
You should ideally aim to check your guttering and downpipes at least twice a year and carry out any gutter repairs as soon as possible. If you have a head for heights then repairing gutters are a fairly simple task. Your first job should be to clear out any debris or leaves from all of you gutters and check that rainwater can run freely into the down pipes. If any leaks are detected then you should remove the gutter joint, thoroughly clean the areas and inspect the rubber seal if it is a plastic gutter they are easily replaceable and different sizes are available so you can ensure a good fit. If a sealant must be used then be sure to use a high quality brand that is specifically for gutters.
In the case of maintaining cast iron gutters again you should clean out any debris and check for leaks around the joints. Every few years you should also paint the inside of your cast iron guttering with good quality bitumen paint. To repair cast iron gutters you should carefully remove the connecting bolt, remove any existing sealant and apply a high quality jointing adhesive and fit a new bolt and carefully retighten it. Extreme care should be taken when removing joints or the gutter itself as it is very heavy. You must carefully inspect the holding brackets of the gutter and if they or the guttering itself are perished it is probably time to replace the gutter altogether.
Repairing or maintaining asbestos guttering is not recommended for the homeowner especially if it is in bad condition. If the gutter is in fair condition then it should be safe to repaint it every few years but it is advisable to seek the help of a professional gutter repair service in the case of asbestos gutters.