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Maintaining Gutters

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Clearing the gutter

Whatever the material used for guttering, an accumulation of material such as leaves dirt or other debris washed off the roof can lead to a blockage in the system. Regular annual inspections often show an accumulation of material, which can be removed with a scraper or trowel. At the junction of the gutter and the downpipe, place a proprietary wire balloon or a crushed ball of chicken wire at the outlet to help prevent further blockages in the downpipe.

Clearing an angled pipe

Use a stiff wire from the top and push downward to remove the blockage.

Clearing a downpipe

If the downpipe is blocked, use drainage rods from above and push downwards to remove the blockage. A cloths prop can also be used if long enough. To avoid further blockages occurring, at the junction of the gutter and the downpipe, place a proprietary wire balloon or a crushed ball of chicken wire at the outlet.

Sagging gutters

If you have already checked all sections of the guttering and downpipes for blockages and have not found the source of the overflow, check the line of gutter. If it is sagging in places, the brackets could need replacing. It could just need screws replacing loose fittings or the bracket could have perished and be in need of replacement.

If the spillage is still occurring use a spirit level to check that the gutter is sloping toward the downpipe and not away from it. If there is a problem here, reset the bracket to a lower position at the outlet end. The other end can be slightly lifted by placing a small strip of lead under the gutter, between the bracket and gutter.

Cast iron gutters

Older properties have cast iron guttering. These will be long lasting if painted regularly to prevent rusting. The insides should be primed with zinc chromate paint. The finishing coat should be a bituminous paint. They are heavy and their fastenings should be maintained and checked at regular intervals. Overlapping the two lengths of gutter and bolting them together makes the joints in cast iron guttering. The joint needs to be sealed to prevent water leaking from the junction.

Repairing a leaking joint

If water has been seeping through the joint for some time, the joint is probably too rusty to unbolt. If this is the case, use a hacksaw to remove the bolt and drill out any remaining pieces. Use a chisel to lever the two sections of gutter apart. Remove the perished sealant by scraping it away and clean the area with a wire brush. Apply fresh sealant and using a new nut and bolt, bolt the two sections back together again. Remove any excess sealant seeping from the joint and paint the inside of the gutter. The insides should be primed with zinc chromate paint. The finishing coat should be a bituminous paint.

Repairing small holes in the gutter

If there are small holes in the gutter, then its life is limited. Repairs can be made using kits consisting of metal sticky tape. This is applied with a bitumen adhesive to the inside of the guttering over the problem areas.

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