How water can damage buildings. Maintenance (of gutters) is better than cure.
This blog explains why you should take the time to make sure the guttering on your property is clear from blockages.
Why does a house have gutters?
Guttering on houses can be traced back thousands of years. They worked out that the best way to preserve their structures was to keep rainwater away from the walls. Gutters protect structures from potential water and frost damage as well as stopping water from getting inside.
It’s a system that goes back a long way and it still works well as long as you make sure that the gutters are clear of debris, leaves and moss.
The above image shows damp patch on the wall caused by blocked gutters and leaking downpipe.
The above image shows mould and staining on the wall and window caused by water escaping from poorly maintained guttering.
What happens when the gutters are blocked?
Here is why it is vital you check your gutters to make sure moss and leaves etc aren’t causing blockages:
- Water soaks walls allowing frost to cause ‘spalling’ damage to brick faces and render.
- Persistent sources of water will cause decay to timber windows, doors, frames, soffits and fascia, particularly leading to wet rot.
- It can also make timber decking decay or slippery with algae.
- Moss and debris can build up and eventually block down pipes and underground drainage.
- Water could leak into the inside of the house as it finds surprising ways to get inside. This could damage decorations and plaster and even cause decay to the timber of the roof, stairs, or floor structures.
- Damp walls will be cooler and not retain heat as well.
- Cold spots ‘cold bridges’ can allow condensation and mould growth to form on internal surfaces of the house.
How often should gutters be cleaned and maintained?
There isn’t a simple answer to this question so here are our top tips:
- Reactive maintenance must be undertaken when there is damage, if there are drips leaking from gutters or downpipes, or if you identify a blockage or vegetation growing in the gutters.
- Always check your gutters after building or roofing work to make sure there is no damage or debris.
Don’t delay this small job or it could end up costing you more money further down the line.
What do we check on a building survey?
We can check the gutters using binoculars, pole cameras or a drone to identify blockages and breakages.
If you have any concerns about your property then click here to contact our Building Surveyors.