It’s extremely likely that you’ll have to consider a gutter repair or replacement at some point while living in your home. The often-severe weather conditions in the UK make damage to your guttering more likely.
Whether a gutter repair or replacement is the best way forward for you will depend on several factors which we dive into in this guide, including the age of your guttering and the material it’s made from.
In this guide, we will:
What are the different types of guttering?
Two main elements differentiate guttering:
- Profile: The profile of your guttering will generally determine how efficiently your gutter disposes of rainwater, as well as contribute to the overall aesthetic of your home.
- Material: The material your gutter is made from will determine its lifespan and how durable it is in extreme weather conditions.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of guttering:
Gutter profile: advantages & disadvantages
Gutter material: advantages & disadvantages
How do I know if I need to replace my gutters or downpipes?
There are a variety of signs to look out for that may indicate it’s time to replace a gutter or downpipe. If you notice any of them, use My Local Toolbox to find a professional guttering expert who can quickly and efficiently correct the issue for you, preventing any further damage.
Here’s what to look out for:
- Damaged brickwork: If you happen to spot any damaged bricks surrounding your guttering, it is likely there is a blockage somewhere along the gutter. This results in water and other substances passing through the gutter which rise and overflow onto the bricks, causing damage.
- Evidence of pests: Guttering is an attractive place for animals such as ants, birds, and bees. Unfortunately, if they happen to nest, they also cause blockages to occur which could be harmful to both your home and the animals.
- Stains: A poorly maintained gutter can lead to water splashing up and staining the soffit, fascia and bargeboard supporting it. This results in an eyesore on the exterior of your home that can easily be avoided.
- Water overflow: Perhaps the most dangerous sign that you need to replace your gutter, water overflow is extremely unsafe. If you notice water overflow, My Local Toolbox recommends that you contact a guttering expert as soon as possible.
- Soil erosion: If too much water is getting on your soil, this can lead to soil erosion. Of course, this could be due to heavy rain, but it could also be due to water leakage from your gutter making its way to your soil.
- Rust: If your gutter is made from materials such as copper and cast iron, then it’s always wise to look out for rust. If you spot any, not treating it could lead to problems such as cracks and misalignment to occur.
Now you know which signs to look out for which signify it may be time to repair or replace your guttering, here are the problems which can arise if they are left untreated.
Common problems with guttering
There are many problems to guard against when it comes to properly maintaining your gutters.
Although certain types of gutters can be more resistant to problems arising than others, it’s likely you’ll encounter at least a couple of these symptoms over the years when living in your home. That’s why it’s best to carry out regular checks of your guttering.
Use the table below as a checklist to avoid having to fork out for a costly replacement or repairs:
|Blockages||Perhaps the most common issue that leads to a gutter repair or replacement is a blockage caused by debris such as leaves or twigs. Keep an eye on the tops of your gutter to spot blockages arising as early as possible.|
|Sagging||Often caused by a blockage, the extra weight on the gutter can cause sagging. If you spot this, a gutter repair will be needed to realign your gutter and prevent further damage.|
|Displacement||This occurs when one of the brackets supporting the gutter may have slipped. The connections between each part of the gutter become loose and can lead to falling water.|
|Freezing||During the winter months, the cold weather can cause your guttering to freeze. Constant freezing and thawing makes your gutter continuously expand and retract, leading to structural damage.|
|Plant growth||If you spot any kind of plant growth in your gutter, it’s a sign that its lacking the proper maintenance. Make sure the plants are removed to avoid blockages.|
|Leakage||A leaking gutter joint can often be the focus of a gutter repair or replacement. Look out for falling water from your gutter to catch the issue as early as possible, preventing further damage.|
|Pitching||If your guttering has been installed without being angled towards the correct pitch, then the water will struggle to flow through efficiently. This can result in damage such as leaking gutter joints.|
Another common problem with guttering (just not your guttering) is when a neighbour’s gutter leaks onto your property.
Firstly, we’d always advise giving your neighbour a friendly knock and trying to resolve the issue.
By recommending My Local Toolbox, you’ll be letting them know the most reliable and time-efficient way to find a local gutter specialist to resolve the problem.
If this doesn’t do the trick and your neighbour’s gutter is still leaking onto your property, then you have the right to protect your property.
The best way to proceed is to report the situation to the local council who will investigate the matter as a nuisance and advise you on the best way to move forward.
What is involved in repairing or replacing guttering?
Gutter repair and replacement both require a different set of skills, as they’re fulfilling different objectives.
A gutter repair is often the best course of action if your guttering is still within its normal lifespan but needs some TLC. This could be because it sustained damage such as a leaking gutter joint, due to harsh weather conditions.
Here’s a quick rundown of how long your gutter should last, depending on the material it’s made from:
|Cast iron||60 years|
|Stainless steel||50 years|
How to repair a cracked gutter
Clean the area
Removing loose paint and debris around the cracked or dislodged guttering will give you a better idea of the extent of the issue, while also giving your sealant the best chance to bond with the existing guttering to create a watertight seal.
Fill the cavity
Use a waterproof sealant to fill the cavity. The best way to do this is by placing the nozzle of the sealant gun in the area you need to fill. Then deploy the sealant thoroughly, ensuring that the cavity has been completely filled.
Smooth the sealant
Using gloves, use your finger to smooth over the sealant and leave a professional finish that fits into the aesthetic of your home.
Other Gutter Repairs
There are several other potential repairs that you may have to carry out depending on the damage caused to your guttering.
Repairs to guttering and how to carry them out
|Leaking gutter joint||Remove any debris and ensure the area is dry. Use a sealant to fill in the area which is causing the leak and hold for 3 minutes. Run some water down the drain to test if the sealant has worked.|
|Loose downpipe||The likely issue is the connecting bolt that holds the bracket and therefore downpipe in place. Purchase a new connecting bolt and screw it into place.|
|Overflowing hopper head||Remove debris from the top of the hopper – this will likely solve the issue. If not, push a garden hose up the gutter to try and dislodge any debris stuff inside the guttering.|
How to replace your gutter
Once you’ve decided to replace your gutter, the first step is to remove the existing guttering. To do this, wear some gloves and begin removing the brackets that support the guttering. Remove a metre of guttering, one at a time, as you go. Once it’s been removed, it’s time to install the new gutter. Here’s how:
Install the gutter bracket
Begin by moving along the side of your house and installing the gutter brackets on the fascia board. It’s recommended that you install a gutter bracket every three feet to adequately support your gutter.
Position the gutter
Once you have two gutter brackets in place, start positioning your guttering and secure it to the brackets. You can normally do this by snapping it into place without the need for screws or connectors.
Check the gutter is level
Use a spirit level to check if your gutter is straight. This will aid in the disposal of water. If you miss this step and notice your gutter isn’t in alignment at the end – you’ll have to start all over again.
Install the other brackets
Continue to make your way along the side of your home, installing a bracket and then positioning a metre of gutter by snapping it into place until you get to the end.
Fit the stop end
Installing the stop end at the end of your gutter will stop water from escaping and making its way onto your garden or soil. Like the gutters and brackets, you’ll normally just need to snap the stop end in place then make sure it’s secure.
Install the union piece
You’re nearly there! The last part is to install the union piece that secures the long line of guttering together. Screw a union piece into the fascia, then move along to the next joint in the guttering. Keep doing this until all the joins of the guttering are secured.
You can hire a guttering expert using My Local Toolbox to carry out your gutter repair or replacement. However, if you do attempt to complete the work yourself, prioritise your safety at all times.
Gutter repair or replacement FAQ
Can I replace the guttering myself?
Yes, you can replace your guttering on your own, but it can be extremely risky if you’re not a professionally trained gutter expert. This is because of how high up the gutter is from the ground.
In 2021 it was reported by The Health And Safety Executive (HSE) that 50% of fatal injuries to construction workers involved falling from a height. So, if you carry out a gutter repair or replacement, you need to make sure that you have the correct safety procedures in place before you begin.
Here are five safety tips to implement if you decide to carry out a gutter replacement or installation on your own:
- Ask a friend: Although you might be looking to carry out your gutter replacement on your own, it’s always a good idea to ask your friends if they’re available to help. Having an extra pair of hands will help you complete the job quickly while also improving safety.
- Find a good ladder: Ask an assistant in your local DIY store what’s the sturdiest ladder they have in stock and let them talk you through the options.
- Check the weather: As you might imagine, carrying out a gutter replacement on a sunny day is a lot safer than doing it while it’s raining, snowing or stormy.
- Avoid overreaching: If part of the guttering is slightly out of your reach, don’t stretch while attempting to get to it. This could lead to you losing your balance and falling off the ladder.
- Use gloves: Garden gloves will protect your hands from sharp objectives that might be lodged in the guttering.
Want to know how to replace your gutter yourself? Head over to our blog for a step-by-step walkthrough on how to carry out a gutter replacement on your own in a safe way.
How long will plastic guttering last?
On average, most tradespeople agree that plastic guttering will last around 30 years. Of course, the biggest factor which will determine this is the climate in which you live.
In the UK, with its famously bad weather, a winter storm may cause damage to your guttering which will mean that it needs maintenance.
If your guttering is showing signs of wear within 30 years, such as leaking joints, use My Local Toolbox to contact local gutter specialists in your area which can repair the problem and extent the lifespan of your guttering.
Will I need scaffolding outside my property?
The Health and Safety Executive, the UK government body responsible for worker wellbeing, official guidance states that “There is no maximum height for using a ladder. However, where a ladder rises 9 metres or more above its base, landing areas or rest platforms should be provided at suitable intervals.”
The average height of a 2-storey house in the UK is 9 metres. Normally, whether you need scaffolding will be for the guttering specialist to decide for themselves, or yourself if you attempt to carry out the work on your own.
Thinking about cleaning your guttering instead of repairing or replacing it? Our fascias and soffits page has all the information you need on a variety of different scenarios. Alternatively, use our helpful guide to work out the cost to repair or replace your guttering.
To get quotes for fascias, soffits or guttering – post a job now.