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If you own or manage property, you should already be familiar with the value and importance of correctly installed and maintained gutters.

Protecting your structure – specifically the walls, foundation, and roof – gutters should never be overlooked. While not the most enticing or particular exciting aspect of building, one should never skimp on quality or skill as it will definitely hurt your efforts in the medium to long run. A gutter, otherwise known as a rain gutter, is essentially a shallow trough fixed beneath the edge of a roof for carrying off rainwater, and is part-and-parcel of any structure.

As referenced by Wikipedia, the “The main purpose of a rain gutter is to protect a building’s foundation by channeling water away from its base. The gutter also helps to reduce erosion, prevents leaks in basements and crawlspaces, protects painted or stained surfaces by reducing exposure to water, and provides a means to collect rainwater for later use.”

A great rule to remember when owning or managing property is: Never neglect the gutters!

In this short article we will take a look at some of the fundamentals of guttering in South Africa, including cleaning and installation of gutters, gutter guards and roof gutters, rainwater tanks, and down pipes.

By the end, you should have a relatively clear understanding of the basic aspects of this essential aspect of property installation. And with all aspects of installation, maintenance and repair, a quality contractor makes all the difference.

Commercial Gutter Cleaning Services

Commercial gutter cleaning services often involves high pressure hoses which rely heavily on blasting water on, along, and inside. This can be carried out by one specialist or a trained and experienced team of hired by a contractor. Commercial gutter cleaning is a given aspect of property ownership, especially when the structure is regularly exposed to rain, wind and the natural environment including tree branches, leaves, weeds, and birds that often use a building’s gutters as a home.

Commercial gutter cleaning is often used to perform maintenance on factories, warehouses, shopping centres, universities, large homes, hotels and lodges, and even airports.

A trained and fully equipped contractor and his or her team should be able to clean almost any surface with ease, including stone, brick, sturdy plastic and more. Costing for gutter cleaning can vary greatly depending on the material, the building (including the length of gutters and their height), scope and whether it is commercial or domestic property.

 

Down Pipes

A down pipe is an essential and much-needed part of your gutter system, and without them you would need near constant repairs and cleaning. A down pipe allows for water to drain down from the upper gutter system, meaning that without it your gutters would become easily clogged with dirty water, leaves, sticks and other undesirable waste.

Make sure that your contractor is well-equipped to correctly install a down pipe, and ensure that it is of high quality and will stand the test of time. While plastic is durable and in most occasions more than sufficient, metal makes for an extremely long-lasting installation.

Gutter Guards

As published by Wikipedia, “a gutter guard (also called gutter cover, gutter protection, or leaf guard) is a home renovation product primarily aimed at preventing damage caused from clogged gutters and reducing the need for regular gutter cleaning. It is commonly an add-on or included as an option for custom-built homes. It usually used to collect water from melting snow, rain and debris from roofing. It’s connected to downspouts to channel water down and away from a home to protect the structure.”

The 5 main types of gutter guards are:

  • Mesh gutter guards – these metal sheets (filled with tiny holes) attach to the roof shingles and cover the gutter.
  • Reverse curve gutter guards – these position the water downward while directing the leaves to fall to the ground.
  • Bottle brush gutter guards – these are made of bristles that face upright inside the gutter. The debris rests on top while the water flows away.
  • Nylon gutter guards – these work exceptionally well in the winter due to their unique design which prevents snow from building up and freezing.
  • Foam gutter guards – these are actually made of plastic that fits directly into your gutter, helping to block the debris from going into the gutter.

 

Gutter Repairs

All types of gutters, and no matter where they are placed, require repairs from time to time. This could be from general wear and tear to specific damage caused my one or many related incidents. Generally, gutter repairs constitute one or more of the following:

  • Interior damp (which can then easily lead to mold)
  • External or internal leaks
  • External mold patches
  • Water not flowing properly through the gutter
  • The gutters starting to fall apart

 

Rainwater Tanks

A benefit of certain forms of gutters is that they allow for one to collect fresh and clean rainwater. This absolutely free water can be used for watering one’s garden, swimming, laundry or even dishes.

Speak to your contractor about installing a rainwater tank, and the correct type and use of gutters, and you will soon be able to collect fresh rain water after the next storm break.

 

Roof Gutters

Roof gutters, arguably the most well known form of gutters, allows for drainage and damage control of roofs. The are found not only along the roofs in a horizontal fashion, but also diagonally . Like most, if not all, types of gutters, roof gutters push debris, water and other undesirable material away from the roof, helping to lesson the amount of weight and pressure on the structure itself.

Roof gutters should be very well maintained – cleaned often and thoroughly so that no damage or block up occurs. While one can and should clean your gutters yourself or by hiring a contractor for a pain free way of cleaning, a specialised cleaning service should be brought in at least once a year to ensure that the roof gutters are as good as new and that no short to long term damage has occurred. As with many aspects of a building, once damage has taken place the situation can quickly snowball and incur a great many more costs, time, and effort.

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