Understanding Different Gutter Styles
We all know that Melbourne weather can be unpredictable. Sunny one minute, windy and raining the next. That’s why it’s so important for Melbourne homeowners to be on top of their gutter cleaning all year round. But when it comes to gutter cleaning in Melbourne, understanding what type of guttering you have can help to make the cleaning process easier and more effective, while reducing the risk of damaging your gutters and roof.
Get to know your gutters
Once you know what style gutter you have, you’ll know what problems to look out for as you clean them. Below are the three most common styles of residential guttering in Australia.
The majority of homes have fascia guttering (also known as eaves guttering). These gutters connect to the board that runs under the edge of your roof, known as the fascia — hence the name. With this style, you can clearly see the underside of the gutter when you look up from the ground.As the most visible and common guttering style, you can expect to see all sorts of designs out there. Regardless of design differences, however, this style of guttering works with the angle of the roof directing water into the gutters, which then channels it into the downpipes.
While fascia guttering is the best for handling high volumes of water — hence the popularity in more rain-prone areas of Australia, like tropical North Queensland — they aren’t foolproof.
If they aren’t regularly cleaned, water may overflow from these gutters. Typically, water will spill over the sides of the gutters. This water can then run down the walls, leading to water stains on the outside of your walls. Over time, this water can cause serious damage to the walls and, in extreme cases, can even lead to foundation damage.
If the rain is particularly heavy or your gutters especially blocked, the water may push against the fascia itself. In this case, damage to the fascia can lead to water entering the roof cavity. Once water is in your roof, you could be dealing with a whole host of problems including water damage to roof structures, ceilings and walls, insulation and even electrical problems.
Concealed gutters are generally found on commercial properties. While they can be used on residential properties, they are less common than fascia gutters.Concealed gutters are built behind the fascia and cannot be seen from the ground. They can be less obtrusive and a better design choice when roof space needs to be given over to other purposes, like displaying signs or fitting security cameras and lighting.
Since they aren’t visible, they can be problematic. During dry spells, when there is little rain, these gutters can become home to pests like birds, spiders or possums, particularly if there is already some leaf litter present to make a nest. The presence of pests can lead to blockages, together with the other problems that pests present including damage to your roofing and unsanitary conditions.
Concealed gutters are also notorious for water pooling. Over time, pooling water can lead to corrosion, along with your gutter sagging from the constant weight. If this happens, you may need to replace your gutters to avoid water damage to your home
Box gutters are growing in popularity with more modern Australian residential properties. Their name refers to the fact that they are boxed in close to the roof’s edge. Like concealed gutters, they cannot be seen from the ground.
However, because they sit so closely to the roof’s edge, they do have a tendency to overflow in heavy rain. This can be a serious problem as it can lead to water flowing into your roof cavity.
Understand the material
It’s not just the style of gutter that affects gutter maintenance. The material your gutters are made from can also have an effect on your gutter performance and maintenance.
Lightweight and inexpensive, it’s easy to see why vinyl is a popular gutter material choice. While vinyl won’t rust or corrode, it can sag and over time exposure to the elements can make it brittle and prone to cracking.
Aluminium is lightweight and a common gutter material. It’s rustproof and weather resistant, but thin or cheap aluminium gutters are particularly durable and can sag.
- Stainless steel
If you want the best gutter material, you need to choose stainless steel. While it is one of the more expensive options, it’s highly durable, rustproof and can last for many years.
What does all this mean for cleaning?
Using the information above, you may be able to identify both your style and material of gutters. With this knowledge, you can adjust your cleaning routine and frequency to suit your gutters.
For instance, if you have concealed gutters, it may be better to clean them more regularly to prevent animals from taking up residence in them. Or if you have vinyl gutters, you may want to regularly check them for cracking during winter.
When it comes to the actual job of cleaning your gutters though, there are some rules of thumb to follow. For example, you should clean your gutters at least once a year, but ideally every six months if there’s been heavy rain or strong winds. And as you clean them, check on their condition, looking for signs of rust, sagging or cracks.
Call the professionals
Of course, if you really want to take care of your gutters, it’s best to have them professionally cleaned. When you use a professional roof and gutter cleaning service, like Melbourne’s Himalayas Group, you can be sure to get the best clean and to catch any issues before they can develop into full-scale problems. To schedule a clean at your home, call 0415 841 606.