Gutter Repair and Inspections
The function of guttering at the edge of the roof of a house is to carry away rainwater and melted snow. The guttering is usually of cast iron, but it may also be of zinc or plastic, and the use of the latter material is becoming more usual. Both types of metalare subject to failure of the metal through decay or rust.
Some different types of gutters are illustrated in Image 1 (below right). Make a point of carrying out regular inspections to gutters, especially during the Autumn and Winter months, when they become clogged by falling leaves and dirt washed from roof surfaces. The gutters should be cleaned with a stiff brush to remove all dirt. This is best done on a dry day. Any rusted patches should be vigorously attacked with a wire brush and emery cloth, cleaning the metal until it is sharp and bright, before priming it with red lead paint, or coating with aluminium paint, or treating with anti-rust paint which has a high zinc content. The inside surfaces of gutters should be painted at least once a year with lead paint to preserve the metal. Asbestos gutters are not prone to decay or rust.
Some are affixed to the fascia board with brackets. These being of metal, they are attacked by adverse weather conditions and if not properly cared for will rust and break. When examining gutters, special attention should be paid to brackets and any rusted metal should be cleaned bare and bright, primed with red lead, or treated with anti-rust paint, and given two coats of lead undercoating before touching up with a finishing coat of paint.
Ogee guttering is fixed to the fascia board with galvanized, which with the passage of time rust and sometimes snap, especially after falls of snow. Any damaged screws should be replaced by drilling through the back of the and affixing new screws. The edges of sections of guttering are shaped so that the pieces overlap each other as shown right.
According to the position of the shaped end, the pieces of the guttering are known as right-and left-hand sections. Should it be necessary to replace a section that has become rusted through or cracked, take special care to obtain a new section of the appropriate left- or right-hand description. The joints of guttering are sealed with lead paint and putty or a bituminous compound. If the joints are not tight through decay in the sealing, the old putty, etc., should be raked out, the lapping parts of the metal coated with lead paint, finished with a fresh soft putty or sealing compound, and firmly tapped into the space between the two sections. The edges of the putty should be cut smooth and touched over with one or two coats of lead paint. The overlapping ends of lengths and pieces of guttering are secured withbolts. Although galvanized when new, these bolts may rust with the passage of time and sometimes break.
Any worn or rusted bolts should be replaced by new ones of the same thickness and length. A smear of putty or sealing compound should be wiped under the bolt heads before securing the nuts. Old gutter bolts that stubbornly resist removal with pliers or footpad grips may be removed by cutting through the bolt with a— wielded just above the nut.
Gutterings which are fixed to fascia boards are adjusted to ‘run’. This simply means that the lengths of guttering are fitted so that they fall slightly downwards towards the down-pipes which carry rain-water into the house drains. If after a heavy fall of snow or storm, water splashes over the edge of the guttering, this may be due to strain on the brackets or gutter screws, resulting in one or more sections of the guttering losing its run. It may also be due to some obstruction, such as dead leaves, birds’ nests, etc., inside the guttering. If the run is interfered with it will be necessary to re-adjust that section of guttering. This usually consists of relocating the brackets and tightening or renewing gutter screws.