The guttering is not a part of the home we often think about until something goes wrong.
When gutters and downpipes become clogged or leaky, their functionality is compromised, resulting in water damage to walls and foundations.
But because the gutters are hard to reach, maintenance is often neglected even though it is easy to keep them in good working order.
Minor problems like small holes are easily repaired with a squirt of silicone, while installing gutter guards prevents a build-up of leaf litter.
But if the damage is extensive and guttering is corroded or coming away from the wall, it’s better to replace the damaged sections or install a whole new system.
Begin by removing the old gutter and brackets, then repair and repaint the fascia before securing the new guttering.
Do the work DIY
The gutter system has to cope with the volume of water runoff that spills from the roof, so consideration must be given to rainfall intensity, roof catchment area, gutter size, downpipe parameters and overflow capacity.
To calculate how much guttering you need, measure the lengths of fascia runs and sketch the house to scale, marking the required number of downpipes as discreetly as possible.
Your gutters must comply with National Plumbing and Drainage Code AS/NZS 3500.3-2003, which you can find in your local library.
The minimum gutter fall to a downpipe is 1:500, meaning an extra 2mm of fall for each metre of gutter.
Before buying, talk with your supplier to ensure the gutter system you have selected meets the criteria.
Working up high is hazardous, so also hire scaffolding on wheels to provide easy access and simplify the installation process.
Always check with your local council before you start work as in some areas of Australia, gutters must be installed by qualified tradespeople.
When calculating how much guttering a house needs, allow a minimum 100mm extra for any joints and add at least twice the width of the gutter for external corners as length is lost in cutting mitres.
At return stop ends, add the width of the gutter.
TIP: Internal corners and pre-made stop ends don’t need extra length.
Apply the finish
Gutter styles range from the modern square and half-round styles secured on steel fascias to the traditional quad gutters with external brackets that adorn every Federation home.
Whatever the style, gutters should blend in with the home, usually in a colour matching the roof and fascia.
To finish bare zincalume gutters, wash with sugar soap, sand and apply a coat of etch primer, leaving it to dry. Apply two coats of specialised paint such as Metalshield Premium.