Here at Fresh Design we’re not afraid of tackling the less glamorous topics from time to time! While it’s difficult to get excited about guttering, it really is essential to keeping your property in good order. Broken or missing guttering can lead to puddles forming on the ground or even to water getting inside the house itself, so it’s important to check it regularly and keep it in good condition. Here is our complete guide to types of guttering and maintenance.
What does guttering do?
It won’t come as a surprise to you that Britain is a pretty wet place to live! Our houses are designed to allow rainwater to flow off the slope of the roof, collect into guttering fixed round the edges of the roof and from there flow away down downpipes. Excess rain water flows either into the mains drainage, or you can set up a barrel to collect it and use it for the garden. Normally this system works very efficiently, but if the gutter is blocked by leaves or other debris or a piece of it is missing or broken, then the water will start to cascade from this weak point rather than reaching the downpipe.
Types of guttering
Guttering and downpipes are made from either plastic or metal. Plastic is cheap and efficient, but some people don’t find it aesthetically pleasing and it can be quite brittle and have a limited life. Metal guttering can be made from zinc, cast iron, aluminium, steel or even copper. This looks much nicer, but is expensive and can be heavy to install. Cast iron guttering normally has a long life, but needs to be checked regularly for signs of rust.
A alternative to a downpipe is to install a rainchain, which needs to be positioned above a drain. These consist of a series of upturned metal bowls or bells, linked by a chain. The rain runs down the chain and collects in the bowls which overflow into the drain. They look much nicer than downpipes, but can struggle to cope in really heavy rain.
If you’re having problems with your guttering, the most likely culprit is a blockage, especially if you have trees overhanging your house. It’s not a very nice job, but at least twice a year you need to arm yourself with a ladder (and someone to hold it for you!), sturdy rubber gloves and a bucket. Scoop out any leaves and debris, and while you’re up there check that any joints and fixings are still secure.
Occasionally, the problem may be with the piping itself. It may have come away from the wall, or be split or broken. Plastic piping can be susceptible to damage from extreme heat or cold, and metal piping can corrode. Plastic piping will normally have to be replaced along the complete length, while it may be possible to repair metal piping.
If you see excess water on the ground, there may be a problem with the downpipe. The end of the pipe should be positioned squarely over the head of the drain, and sometimes these can move and squirt water straight out onto the ground instead. Re-site the end of the pipe, and clean any debris from the grid of the drain so that water can flow freely.
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