We often don’t give much thought to our guttering, that is until it stops performing its function effectively. One question homeowners often ask when their gutters stop performing is “how often do gutters need to be replaced?”, but the answer depends on the circumstances. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the lifespan of guttering?
Gutters tend to last approximately twenty years. However, there are a number of factors that can affect how often gutters need to be replaced. These include the material they are made from, how they have been installed and how well they have been maintained.
It is good practice to check your gutters regularly and clean them properly twice a year, but there are signs you can look out for that indicate that your gutters may need replacing early.
It is also worth noting that, in some cases, you may be able to repair your guttering or replace individual pieces if only parts of it are damaged.
What signs should you look out for with your gutters?
Cracks or fractures
If you notice cracks or fractures throughout your guttering, it is probably time to replace it. Cracks or fractures mean that water will escape and run down the side of your property, potentially causing an ingress. Small cracks may be able to be repaired but if you notice them throughout, it means that the material is starting to deteriorate.
Sagging gutters are another indication that they may need replacing. If the guttering has sagged, then water will pool in that dip rather than being funnelled towards the downspout. Sagging can be caused by blockages, where water has pooled for a long time, putting stress on the guttering. As with cracked gutters, if it is only an individual piece of the guttering that is sagging, then you may be able to replace just that piece to solve the issue.
If you have standing water in your gutters, the water will not be able to flow freely. This could be due to a blockage caused by a build-up of debris such as leaves, dirt, and other plant material. If you inspect the gutters and there is a blockage, clear it out and wash the gutter down. If you still have standing water after this, then the gutters might not be set on enough of a pitch to properly direct the water or there could be an issue with the material itself.
Mould or rust
Rust on your gutters suggests that water has been allowed to sit for whatever reason and has begun to erode the material. It could also suggest that they are reaching the end of their lifespan. Similarly, mould is caused by areas of damp that don’t dry completely, which could be due to a lack of direct sunlight, but it could also be because the material is deteriorating and allowing moisture to settle into it.
As with standing water, overflowing water could be an indication of a blockage. However, if there is no blockage, your guttering is not working properly and may need to be replaced. Overflows that are not caused by blockages could be due to the gutter being too small for the amount of rainfall in your area. Alternatively, it could be because they are not positioned on the correct pitch for water to flow away or they have been positioned on a tilt, which means the water spills over one side.
How often gutters need to be replaced really depends on the lifespan of the material they are made from and how well they have been maintained. If your gutters have stopped performing their job effectively and there is no blockage, then it is probably time for a replacement. It is best to contact a professional roofing company to inspect the problem first and they will be able to advise on the best course of action.
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