Guttering – Common Problems

January 8, 2019 introduction

In this blog we will provide some helpful hints and tips in correctly detailing your guttering and maintaining it moving forward.

What is a gutter?

Put simply, gutter is a trough into which water collects. This water is normally discharged off of a roof surface such as a pitched roof or flat roof and from there is taken away from the building normally into the sewers. If gutters were not present, the water would simply discharge into the ground below which could cause foundation damage and movement of the soil. Therefore it is important that gutters are correctly detailed and well maintained, failing gutters are a very common source of serious problems within property.

Common Problems With Gutters Blockages:

Gutters are not always easy to access and as such are not often check by the owners or occupiers of the property. Sometimes gutters are inaccessible or require specialist equipment to view and as such are the most common area where a lack of maintenance will begin to manifest problems. In the image above it can clearly be seen there are two types of blockage, the first is a tile which has slipped down into the gutters and the second is the self seeded vegetation, both of which will be blocking the gutter. In this instance where rainfall occurs, the gutters will simply overflow.

Leaking Joints:

In the image above it can clearly be seen that there is a powdery white substance. This is a mineral deposit left there by the rainwater as it leaks from the joints. The longer the leaking has been occurring, the more of the white substance will be present.

Loose Gutters:

This is normally self-evident and can be easily seen from ground level where gutters are visible. The loose end piece in this image will not cause significant problems as the majority of the roof has a gutter which flows into a downpipe however there will be some overflowing during heavy periods of rainfall.


Metal portions of rain and waste water pipework are often very old and sometimes poorly maintained. Where this happens the pipework can corrode and will leak as a result

Rotten or old fascia boards:

Commonly fascia board will be formed in timber and affixed to the ends of the rafters which form the roof structure or in the case of the picture above, directly to the wall. The fascia board has a dual role of providing a fixing for a gutter and also stopping infestation of vermin and insects where correctly installed. If not maintained the timber will rot and so regular painting is required. Alternatively a plastic fascia can be installed which will require less maintenance.

Poorly arranged pipework:

In this image the downpipe above the gutter is meant to discharge into the gutter directly. Instead it overhangs slightly and therefore water overshoots the gutter and courses down the wall which can clearly be seen to be stained, the fascia board is also beginning to rot. It is vitally important that pipework is correctly arranged so that water does not overflow and is directed carefully into the sewers.

Undersized gutters:

Where there is a large roof area or many roofs discharge into the same gutter it is normally necessary to use a larger capacity gutter known as a ‘deepflow’ unit. This will be able to carry more water however it may also be necessary to install a further downpipe in an alternative location.

These are just a few tips and if you do require any further information, feel free to give The Hopps Partnership call.


Posted by:

Robert Hopps

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