I wonder if there’s a world expert on guttering? I certainly can’t think of one and googling “world expert on guttering” didn’t really come up with a page full of references to a single person. Perhaps that is why we take the gutters and downpipes on our property for granted. Or perhaps we are not very confident on a ladder so we would rather not try to even check that everything’s okay. I mean after all what could possibly go wrong? There are no moving parts to wear out.
If we carry out a visual check we can first of all make sure that the joints are still properly sealed. Look for water stains on the outside wall of the property; perhaps moss is starting to grow. If it is raining steadily pop out and see if the gutters are overflowing it might only be a drip – pretty harmless you might think but over time it can make a big difference.
This leaking gutter had been dripping water for some time onto the stone wall and splashing the rear wall creating a significant damp patch on the outside wall of the property, the boundary wall and even the pavement.
Like all the elements of a house, guttering and downpipes don’t last forever and will need maintenance along the way.
If the pipes are cast iron, they’ll need painting. Run your hand slowly down the back to check for corrosion or use a mirror placed behind the pipe to check for holes.
Many Victorian houses still have timber box gutters. Sometimes these are lined with lead but either way the timber on the outside will decay and will need to be replaced eventually.
Fit bird guards on the top of waste or soil pipes to stop nesting birds or leaves getting in. If any vegetation is growing in the guttering or behind the pipe work then remove it, it’ll only cause a problem later.
Simple low cost maintenance could stop this happening.