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All the leaves are brown: Autumn gutter maintenance tips from the experts

As September ticks by and we officially make our way into autumn, the unpredictable weather we all know and love threatens to take hold for another year. Although it might seem all doom and gloom, there are plenty of things to look out for in autumn to ensure your gutters and roofs stay in perfect condition.

Extreme weather conditions are here to stay

Last year was a record-breaker for extreme weather in the UK. 2020 was the first year to feature in the top 10 records for rain and hours of sunshine for over 100 years. According to a report from the Met Office and climate scientists, the latest 30-year period is 0.9C warmer than the preceding 30 years, but perhaps more importantly, the UK has been 6% wetter on average in the more recent period. With this in mind, it certainly seems as though moderate British weather is becoming a thing of the past.

The fact of the matter is that these extremes are likely to cause severe problems, as the UK’s infrastructure has not been built to tolerate the sort of rainfall and storms that are becoming increasingly common. With the autumn equinox behind us, we’re entering into those cold and blustery months where extreme weather conditions could threaten increasingly more intense flood warnings – which are, in essence, the nemesis of roofs and gutters nationwide.

Autumn weather threats to look out for!

As we all know, as winter approaches and the nights draw in, we expect dropping temperatures and falling leaves during the autumn months. The unsettled weather we expect towards the latter part of the season often brings stormy conditions, with strong gales and heavy rainfall across our green and pleasant land.

The perfect conditions for blocked gutters later in the year are created in autumn. Between leaf fall, autumnal winds and driving rain, gutters catch all of nature’s debris, filling them up until they’re completely redundant.

On top of blocking your gutters and downpipes, that pesky wind can wreak havoc on loose roof tiles or corrugated panelling, lifting any strays and exposing your property to the elements. And for those of you with trees close to your property, the wind poses an even bigger threat; roof damage from fallen limbs.

What happens if your gutters are left blocked?

When our gutters fill with leaves, those leaves rot over time turning to silt or mulch. Without proper maintenance or preventative measures, that silt will flow into your downpipes and cause a blockage. With no escape route, rainwater will back up the downpipe and eventually fill your gutters to the brim.

If the rain is heavy enough, you might see water overflowing your gutters, spilling onto foundations and running down your walls. If left, this can cause lasting damage through water ingress.

Damp. A word that strikes fear into the heart of any property owner, whether commercial, industrial or domestic. If your gutters are overflowing, and the foundations are left to soak up this water over a period of time, you could find yourself having to deal with rising damp. Equally worrying is penetrating damp, which can occur when a wall is overly saturated with gutter run-off for an extended period.

Last but by no means least are broken gutters. We all know how heavy water can be, right? Well, the majority of gutter brackets aren’t designed to hold an excessive amount of weight. Between saturated debris and standing water, a blocked gutter is undoubtedly a heavy gutter, and when left untreated can be prone to breaking or falling off completely.

How to stop your gutters from getting blocked

It may sound like an oversimplification, but there are four easy steps to stop your gutters from getting blocked in autumn:

  1. Keep those leaves out of your gutters – This one is obvious, but in order to keep your downpipes clear and prevent silt from developing, you need to keep the leaves away from your property. How do you do this? Read on
  2. Install guards, nets & grills – Employing a professional company to install some form of cover over your gutters is a great way of preventing debris blockages. That said, leaves will still gather on top of the gutter guards, so removing those leaves will still need to be a priority.
  3. Keep branches from overlapping your roof – If you have trees close to your property, ensure that you lop any limbs that are overhanging your roof. This will limit the amount of leaf fall landing in your gutters, and also vastly reduce the risk of limbs being blown off the tree and damaging your roof in a storm.
  4. Planned preventative maintenance – We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the best way to stop lasting damage to your gutters and, in turn, your property, is to implement preventative gutter maintenance with an experienced professional. We can’t control the weather for you, but we can help you to control the condition of your gutters!

Gutter cleaning, maintenance and repair

Sourcing a professional gutter cleaning service isn’t often high up a property owner’s list until it’s too late. So often we find ourselves being called out for emergency gutter repairs or even roof repairs which could have been avoided had the gutters been regularly cleaned.

We specialise in commercial and industrial properties, businesses on retail and industrial estates where roofs are very high and very dangerous. Even with the schools and university buildings that we regularly service, gutters are often in hard-to-reach places where it is genuinely dangerous for anyone other than an expert to either maintain or repair a property’s gutters.

When working on public buildings out in the open, there are a catalogue of health and safety laws that need to be adhered to, not to mention the public liability implications associated with buildings maintenance.

At UK Gutter Maintenance Ltd, our friendly and expert team of engineers are all completely compliant with the latest regulations that are required. We’re an experienced group of specialists, with all manner of up-to-date equipment needed for working at height and making sure your property remains damp and damage-free.

Although the skies are turning grey, there’s no reason to let the rain put a dampener on the condition of your property’s gutters. Get in touch with the UK Gutters team today, and keep the sun shining on your business this autumn.