The Great British weather is renowned for being unpredictable. One moment we are basking in a glorious heatwave watching the grass dry out and wishing for rain, the next we are waking up every day to downpours and wishing for sunshine. The trouble with these interchangeable weather conditions is the impact on our properties. From materials cracking and splitting due to weather extremes, to the build-up of dirt, moss and algae in our gutters, it is important to be aware of the damage that these weather conditions can cause and what you can to do protect your property, starting with uPVC guttering, fascias and soffits. .
Out of Sight Shouldn’t Mean Out of Mind
uPVC guttering, fascias and soffits are a prime example of fixtures of a property that can go unnoticed. That is until they are really dirty and in need of a clean. Because these core parts of the home are above our eye level, sometimes inspecting and cleaning them can be one of those forgotten jobs – out of sight out of mind. It’s important to understand that cleaning and maintaining your uPVC guttering, fascias and soffits is really important.
Protecting the Structure and Décor
Guttering exists to protect your property from water. It’s primary job is to carry rainwater away from the property and into the drains via downpipes. If the guttering system did not exist, the structure of your property would be exposed to all of that water and the potential damage it could cause.
Unfortunately, while uPVC guttering is highly efficient, it needs to be looked after and regularly inspected to ensure that there is no build-up of debris that could cause a potential blockage. You should also be checking for cracks, splits, damage and leaking joints.
Inspecting Your Gutters – What to Look For
We recommend inspecting your uPVC guttering at least once a year to check for damage. This will involve enlisting the help of a friend and climbing a ladder so we would urge caution. It is also very useful to know what you are looking for:
- Peeling paint under the guttering or nearby – this would indicate a water leak
- Water marks/water stains under or around the guttering
- Water overflowing any part of the guttering. This could indicate a blockage somewhere
- Drips coming from the joints in the gutter
- Standing water in the gutters – meaning it is not flowing away as it should
When inspecting the gutters, be prepared to clear away any debris such as moss, leaves and old birds’ nests. Check that the water is flowing away correctly. If the gutter is not sloping sufficiently, the water will not drain away.
The Consequences of Not Inspecting Gutters
One of the most major consequences of a broken gutter is a roof leak. If your gutters aren’t doing their job, water will just sit on your roof until it gets too heavy! Then it will find it’s way in through the roof. Of course, this is then a much more expensive job that just repairing or replacing gutters, especially if the first sign is noticing a water stain on your ceiling. By this point you can assume that the water has travelled quite some distance and that there is damage elsewhere too.
Water that is left to stagnate quickly becomes mould. If mould finds its way into your roof, attic or your walls, it can be expensive to get rid of, not to mention a health hazard. You may also notice water stains and algae on the exterior décor if you have render for example. Any landscaping down below may be compromised from leaking water and there is the potential for additional damage to the structure of your home.
What to Do Next
If you have carried out an inspection of your gutters and have found potential issues you have a number of choices:
Clean the Gutters
Your first course of action is to give the gutters a thorough clean. Any water that isn’t flowing correctly could be the results of blocked gutters. Making sure the water has a clear path is the first step, including checking that the gutters are sloping correctly.
Make Repairs Yourself
Your next course of action largely depends on how old the gutters are, how much damage you find and whether you feel it is time for new uPVC gutters, fascias and soffits. You can undertake minor repairs yourself, or get an expert to do. You can certainly clean out any debris and give them a good clean up and if they have come off their fixings and are not doing their job, you can also fix this yourself.
Replacing Parts/or All of the uPVC Guttering
If you find one broken piece of guttering or feel you need a new down pipe, you can just fix that one section. It really does depend on the condition of the overall guttering and associated elements. You may find it’s time may to change your entire guttering system though.
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