Gutter blocked with debris

In this article, we'll take a brief look at the problems that can occur when gutters and downpipes are not properly maintained.

Guttering and downpipes have an important role to play in the protection of buildings. Their primary function is to channel rainwater away from structures quickly to prevent the many issues associated with dampness in buildings.

How does guttering get blocked?

It is very common for gutters and downpipes to become blocked by leaves, moss and other organic material from nearby trees and moss that forms on roofs. When wet, this type of material sticks to the inner surfaces of gutters and downpipes, blocking the flow of water from a building and creating the perfect conditions for germination of seeds deposited by wildlife.

Organic material rotting in guttering creates optimal conditions for the germination of seeds deposited by wildlife.

The consequences of poorly maintained guttering?

A build up of debris including moss and other plant life adds additional weight to rainwater goods causing brackets to break, joints to fail and guttering to twist, all of which can allow water to bypass guttering and downpipes, soaking walls and allowing water to penetrate buildings.

Accumulated water causes guttering and downpipes to overflow, making exterior walls damp and leading to water ingress and potential structural problems.

Standing water in gutters can find its way into the roof structure via capillary action causing leaks and in severe cases cause irreparable damage to structural timbers.

The failure of guttering and downpipes to expel water quickly results in the accumulation of excess groundwater, which through the freezing and thawing process can lead to cracking and structural issues.

Gutters filled with leaves and other debris create the perfect habitat for pests including insects, birds and rodents.

Gutter maintenance and cleaning

Fortunately, proactive maintenance of guttering and downpipes is inexpensive and unintrusive using cleaning equipment that can be operated from the ground, avoiding the need for costly scaffolding.

How often gutter cleaning should be carried out depends largely on the buildings' proximity to trees and other sources of organic debris that may cause blockages, although twice per year is normally sufficient to maintain clear flowing gutters and downpipes.

Where there are many surrounding trees, preventive measures such as gutter guards are used to good effect to stop fallen twigs and leaves clogging gutters.

Daniel James Construction Services provide gutter cleaning, maintenance, repair and replacement and our team are on hand to provide advice and guidance with guttering related queries. Contact us on 0208 132 8112 or email

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