Guttering always looks so innocuous on the roofline and wall of the home. Unless it’s hanging off (which actually isn’t a common problem!), the simple gutter looks like it’s always doing its job, even when it isn’t. Unfortunately, it’s these lesser-recognised incidents that turn out to become the biggest problems and subsequently lead to the most damaging consequences.
The most common problem involving guttering comes in two distinct forms – the unforeseen you can actually see and the sneakier blockages hidden from view. Both can lead to a wide range of difficulties, as leaves, moss, bird nests and even snow and dead animals can cause pipes along the roofline and down to the drainage below to become blocked.
Astonishingly, just one inch of rainfall on a 250-square-foot roof equates to 150 gallons of water entering the gutters and downspouts – a massive amount of water for an exterior wall to resist. Exterior walls are robust enough to resist occasional rainfall and splashing but not a continuous deluge – and this can cause damp and mould to form inside the home.
Going back to how a guttering system looks when it’s in place, it’s not always possible to spot a system that’s been installed incorrectly. Guttering should actually be several inches below the roofline and adequately supported by well-spaced hangers. Guttering that’s placed too close to the roof, or not properly supported, will lead to overflow leaks onto your walls and the ground below.
With a flat roof, the guttering may even overflow back onto the roof itself, leading to extreme puddling and subsequent damage to the room below the roof. If puddling is causing you serious problems, then look immediately for a local professional to take care of it – search for something like flat roof repairs in Newcastle upon Tyne or the closest town or city to you.
While a blockage remains the most common cause of problems, improper maintenance can actually be the toughest issue to spot. Cleaning out the guttering roughly twice every year will drastically cut down on the chances of the system becoming damaged, but you also need to check that the downspouts are clear of debris.
Make sure that you check the system for holes, cracks and any rust spots around areas where the system is fixed to the wall. Additionally, do take care in the placement of your ladders, if you’re cleaning the gutters yourself, as the extra pressure of ladders against the system can cause it to weaken and loosen.
The consequences of each of the above problems are roughly the same: damage to exterior walls, internal environments and even to the roof above and the ground below. The only way to ensure that your property avoids the damage of faulty guttering is to regularly check and test it right from the moment it is installed. It is one of the few systems every home has in place that can go unnoticed, even when it’s not working, so be sure to check your own guttering system at least twice every year from now on.