Plastic gutters are usually cost-effective to install, durable and inoffensive to the eye. It is this sheer functionality that perhaps explains why many home owners or other building occupants tend not to think too much about their gutters. Ironically, it is often heavy rain – exactly what gutters are designed to deal with – that show any signs of wear and tear. Unfortunately, by the time a problem is noticed, water is likely already damaging the walls and roof of the building. However, this is a situation that is easy to avoid with a little knowledge and some regular maintenance.
Twice a year….
Like teeth, gutters, including soffit and fascia boards, should be inspected twice a year. Unlike teeth, this does not necessarily mean calling in a professional. Although high, inaccessible guttering may necessitate a professional, many people will be able to inspect their own gutters with the help of a ladder and somebody to steady it. The HSE has helpful guidance on safe ladder use.
…..Remove any debris
A visual inspection of the guttering will confirm if it needs further attention. Any debris should be removed carefully. This can be done by hand or with the aid of a small scoop, and without knocking the leaves or twigs into the downpipes.
……Check for leaks
Although leaking gutter seals along the soffit and fascia boards can be replaced, it is usually best to replace the entire fitting with a new one. This is easy to do; the gutter unclips from the brackets to allow the fitting to be removed. Buying replacements is not usually problematic as most Half Round Gutter systems are compatible with each other, as are many of the square systems. However, to be sure of not buying the wrong thing, a quick examination of the removed section of gutter should reveal the manufacturer’s name. It should then be simple to check that the new section is compatible.
.…….Unblock the drainpipes
Rainwater pipes rarely get blocked completely. When they do, they need removing for cleaning or repair. Smaller blockages are normally located in the drainage gully, the rainwater shoe or at the foot of the drop.
……..And clean and polish
Finally, a twice-yearly cleaning with soapy water and a soft cloth will keep the exterior of the guttering clean and looking good.