The guttering and downpipes on your home serve an important, if often undervalued and overlooked, purpose – to funnel rainwater from the roof to the drain on the ground without touching the walls of your home. But why should you care? Your walls are sturdy, they’re brick or block and it’s a modern building with a cavity wall so there’s a gap between its layers to improve weather resistance. But would it surprise you to know that your walls are not as waterproof as you might think?

Most materials are porous to some degree or other and allow water to seep in – brick and block walls are no exception to this. So, as water runs down the outside of your home it can enter through the material, the mortar or tiny cracks and cause a number of problems.

  1. Rainwater can, over time, soak through to the inner plastering, causing wet patches, weakened plater and loosening wallpaper.
  2. If you have a cavity wall this might not always be effective at preventing water ingress, as structural elements and debris in the cavity can serve as bridges to allow the water in.
  3. If the water cannot cross the cavity it could still run down the gap and pool at the bottom, causing damp problems over time.
  4. Wooden structural elements and external panels can rot over time if left wet.
  5. Even when water does not enter it can cause damage as rainwater pooling at the bottom of an external wall can cause waterlogging which may damage gardens, and, in extreme situations, foundations.

The humble gutter system serves a vital protection role for your home, disrupt this and you risk the need for some very costly repairs.

So, what could cause your gutter system of protection to fail?

Individually, the things that could block your gutters and downpipes are unlikely to have much impact, but on mass and over time if left without clearing, things can build up to blockage levels.

Leaves, dirt, mosses growing where the environment allows, rubbish blown on the wind, the odd plastic bag that’s floated up, lots of bird droppings, and, if you’re very unlucky, a bird’s nest (which, if it has been built in the gutter, is a testament to how long it’s been since you cleared them, or it could just have fallen from an overhanging tree).

It makes sense, therefore, to get your gutters cleared and cleaned several times a year, ideally before and after winter. In wintertime the demands on gutters escalate as rainfall increases and melting snow and ice need somewhere to run off through.

Winter is also the time of year you’ll least want water running down the outside of your walls. Rainwater that get into walls can turn to ice and through the ‘freeze and thaw’ cycle can create and increase cracks which could cause additional problems.

Why instruct a professional?

Here are few reasons why you should consider contacting a professional rather than attempting it yourself with a ladder and broom:

  1. Working at height can be dangerous. Yes, I know, unless your home is on the 15th floor of a tower block, the height we’re talking about is unlikely to be more than a couple of storeys, but even this can be dangerous when you don’t have the right equipment or the experience to identify health and safety risks.
  2. Don’t damage your guttering. Guttering is just a light plastic material attached to the outside of your home and is, therefore, easily damaged, which could actually cause the problem you’re looking to prevent.
  3. Don’t damage your home. It is quite easy to dislodge roof tiles, a slip could end up putting a ladder through an upstairs window, or cleared gutter rubbish might land on other surfaces. Through this a small job could escalate into a time-consuming and costly experience.
  4. Professional window cleaners have the right equipment. Whether a secure ladder or jet washer to clean out stubborn muck, they will have all the tools of the trade to not only do the job more efficiently and quickly, but with more care for the outside of your home.
  5. They’re quick and clean. A professional knows what to do, they could be up and down before you’ve grabbed your first handful of bird-poo-covered leave mulch from up there.

Cleaning your gutters a couple of times a year will cost you next to nothing, but any of the above problems might cost hundreds, if not thousands. of pounds to sort out.

For all your window cleaning or gutter clearing needs, call London Window Cleaners 020 3954 2900. 



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