Advice on gutter replacement

Inappropriate brackets caused this new plastic gutter to sag before the building was complete

Water is the enemy of buildings; it will saturate walls allowing frost to shatter the masonry and mold to grow internally; it will accelerate the deterioration of paintwork and cause joinery to rot.

Most water comes in the form of rainfall, falling on roofs then being carried away in gutters and downpipes eventually discharging into main drains or soakaways.

The weakest link in the chain is the gutters. They collect all the water that falls on the roof to carry it away from the building. Sadly, all too often, ignorance, short cuts and penny-pinching results in lack of maintenance or inappropriate replacements.

Have you ever been out in the rain to look around your property? Try it sometime; any gutter leaks will be obvious. Even on a dry day a trained eye will spot sagging, twisted and misaligned gutters, some leaking joints and the tell-tale signs of gutter leaks and damp-affected walls.

A common failing is the replacement of old cast iron gutters with cheap plastic.

Plastic gutters are fine as long as they are properly supported and the proprietary brackets are used.

The grooves and tabs on this proprietary bracket grip and stiffen the plastic gutter

When used as replacements for cast iron the plastic gutters are often laid in the old metal rise-and-fall brackets resulting in premature failure for two main reasons:

1. the brackets are spaced too widely. Iron gutters are rigid and self-supporting but plastic is flexible and needs more frequent supports. The lack of adequate support allows the gutters to twist and sag resulting in overflowing and also causing joints to fail.

2. the old brackets that acted as ‘cradles’ for the heavy iron gutters do not ‘grip’ the plastic gutters, as do the proprietary gutter brackets, resulting in the plastic gutters sagging, twisting and overflowing due to their flexibility. Proprietary plastic brackets ‘grip’ the gutters acting as stiffening ribs, making the gutter rigid and secure.

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