Autumn is traditionally the wettest season of the year, and the combination of falling leaves and constant rain can cause havoc when it comes to maintaining your home. One of the most important jobs is to regularly inspect the drains and gutters, as they divert large volumes of water away from your home and its foundations preventing water damage and subsidence. The most common problem is blocked gutters and this can occur through the build up of leaves, moss, lichen and other debris washed off a roof; therefore it’s important to clear your gutters and downpipes regularly to ensure a free-flowing system. Here are a few tips for maintaining your drainage system and protecting your home.
Prevention is always better than cure, so it’s important to carry out regular inspections of your property to spot any damage and prevent minor problems turning into major ones! There are many early signs which can indicate a problem with your drains and guttering including:
- Water leaking or overflowing from guttering
- Sagging or warped gutters
- Discolouring of paint & exterior walls
- Excessive algae/water residue on exterior walls
- Damp patches on interior walls/ceilings
- Rotting fascia boards
- Crumbling stone or brickwork
- Damp basement
You will need either an extension ladder or scaffolding to carry out a full inspection of your gutters, but if you use a ladder, make sure it is either fixed (temporarily) to the wall, or you have someone else to hold the ladder in place while you work. Be aware working at height can be dangerous, so if you have any concerns or have not done anything like this before, we highly recommend consulting a professional.
Keeping your gutters and downpipes well maintained will not only prevent water damage to your home, but also increase the life expectancy of your drainage system. Remove leaves and debris by hand and once complete, wash the pipes through thoroughly to remove any last remnants. You may wish to install filters around the downpipe to prevent debris reaching your drains, but these will also require regular cleaning to ensure maximum efficiency.
Tip: A rolled up ball of chicken wire makes an efficient, cost effective filter.
If there is any minor damage such as loose/cracked brackets or sagging sections of guttering, you may wish to carry out the repairs yourself. You can purchase replacement parts from most home depot stores and if using vinyl or plastic pipes, are relatively easy to install due to their snap-together assembly. However, if you have wooden or metal gutters and downpipes, or any major issues affecting your home’s interior, you may wish to consult a professional.
Replacing Your Gutters & Downpipes
If your drainage system is in a serious state of disrepair, you may consider replacing the guttering and downpipes. There are a huge range styles and materials available, and it’s important to choose a product that not only meets your requirements in terms of function and style, but will also stand the test of time.
Metal gutters are the most common due to their strength, durability and pricing. Steel is the most cost-effective option while aluminium offers a more lightweight and sustainable alternative (most Aluminium gutters are cast from 50% recycled aluminium) and both can be coloured to match the exterior decor. The benefit with metal guttering is that it’s relatively easy to maintain and has a life expectancy in excess of 25 years!
Vinyl gutters are becoming increasingly popular because they do not rust like their metal counterparts. They are relatively cheap to purchase and can be installed by most competent DIY’ers due to their lightweight and snap-together assembly. However, do not attempt to install vinyl gutters if you do not feel competent, as this may result in ‘sagging’ sections that can cause the guttering to become brittle and crack over time.
Wooden gutters used to be standard but are rarely used nowadays due to the expense and high maintenance costs. Unless you specifically need wooden gutters (ie – If you own a listed property) we would recommend staying well away, otherwise you may find yourself up a ladder sanding down and applying wood treatment several times a year!
Plastic Gutters are the cheapest available but not necessarily the most cost-effective option. The gutters and wall brackets tend to deteriorate quickly and crack easily, especially in cold climates, and will require constant repair/replacement. The are most effective when used as temporary drainage systems as they are very easy to install, but make sure you upgrade to metal or vinyl as soon as possible!
Once you have chosen your new gutters and downpipes, you will need to figure out the best way to fit them. Replacing your gutters can be tricky as they are often difficult to access and require either an extension ladder or scaffolding to carry out any work. Why not save yourself the time and hassle and contact CPM Guttering specialists today? We specialise in all aspects of drainage including cleaning and repairs, and can supply and fit a range of drainage solutions to meet your requirements. Call 01392 363999 or contact us online to speak to one of our specialists for your free no obligation quote.