We all recognise the importance of having a "roof over our heads" yet we often neglect small signs of damage until problems reach crisis point. You can save time, effort and money by becoming well informed and tackling issues early.
If you have attempted to repair your gutters and none of the methods have worked, you will need to replace them. Here are some tips on how to replace your gutters and some general roof and guttering maintenance tips so you can avoid having to replace them in the future.
Tips on replacing your gutters
• The cheapest and most commonly used guttering has traditionally been galvanised iron.
• However, this has been largely superseded by Zincalume – steel that is coated with zinc and aluminium.
• Aluminium eaves gutters are being used increasingly, their big advantage being that they are less prone to corrosion, and therefore have a longer life expectancy. Their disadvantage is that they are more expensive.
• PVC gutters are a relatively new development and could also be worth considering. Take care when replacing or repairing either sheet metal roofing or guttering that materials are compatible. Zincalume sheeting is incompatible with galvanised iron guttering as well as lead flashing.
Tips on maintaining your roof and gutters
• Be aware that all roofing and guttering will deteriorate in time.
• Pay special attention to metal surfaces. They can deteriorate very quickly if not looked after. A seemingly sound metal roof or gutter can show an advanced state of decay in just six months.
• Clear away blockages. Debris in rusting gutters, for example, can accelerate deterioration considerably, particularly where the leaf litter creates an acidic environment, in the case of pine needles.
• Cut back overhanging trees. Many modern gutters are designed to shed leaves more effectively.
• Catch airblown debris before it can cause blockages. There are various gutter guard systems on the market, from lengths of spiral brush or plastic mes placed within the gutters, to fixed metal mesh covers, all designed to assist in shedding airblown, or tree dropped, debris.
• Don’t forget about hidden layers of debris in gutters. Despite the best of protection, there may be long periods of still and/or dry periods between heavy rainfall which may allow the litter to mulch and sink as soil like particles through the mesh or brush fibres, building up as a solid layer within the gutter. This layer, which will be out of sight, should not be out of mind, as it can cause pre-mature corrosion to the gutters if it is not removed.
• Check your roofs and guttering regularly, especially after storms. Deterioration to roofs and gutters can be suddenly accelerated by storm and high winds. While these factors are beyond the means of the home owner to control, Archicentre recommends that all home owners check their roofs and guttering after such events, and on a regular basis. Deterioration faults can then be detected at an early stage so that repairs can be undertaken before more costly damage occurs.
• Know what the existing problems are. Remember that the best way of avoiding expensive problems is to be aware of them before you purchase your house. Archicentre has carried out thousands of home inspections for home owners and prospective buyers, to help them make a realistic appraisal of the property before buying, renovating or repairing.