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The benefits of installing rain gutters

08 Jun 2016

Home gutters are long, narrow tubes used to reroute rain that falls on the roof of a house or building through a downpipe and out to the drainage system and away from the home.

While gutter maintenance can be a nuisance, fixing damaged gutters is not difficult or expensive.

This keeps the ground around the house from becoming waterlogged and the rainwater from potentially being absorbed into the foundation where it will cause severe damage to the structure, as well as surrounding structures.

Without gutters, rain will run down the roofline, creating a waterfall effect. If the roof has a wide overhang, this may not be much of a problem for the foundation.

While gutter maintenance can be a nuisance, fixing damaged gutters is not difficult or expensive. Holes can be patched and plugged using roofing cement, while sagging or loose gutters can be hammered back into place.

If gutters are badly damaged, you can replace each individual section. Home gutters are most commonly made from vinyl, steel, aluminium and copper.

Gutters start at around R5 000, and are a worthwhile the investment - especially if you want to extend your home’s life.

SA Damp shares the benefits of installing gutters on your house:

Why installing gutters is important 

Our weather is changing. The highveld no longer experiences summer flash storms and dry, arid days of old.

Summer days and nights are characterised by a much higher percentage of humidity, and can even be classified as subtropical.

Why is this important? Humidity opens the pores of plastered walls, allowing water to enter and flow through it, causing rapid plaster rot. Prolonged soaking due to rain also ensures that much more water seeps into the plaster pores, leeching away cement. Acid pollution also destroys the cement, which is a strong alkali.

Once the cement is gone, your plaster turns to sand and becomes hydrophilic, which means it attracts water like sugar of salt.

Avoid structural damage and a decrease in property value

Building standards and the way we maintain houses has changed over time.

Thirty years ago, even the cheapest houses installed gutters. Many of these old houses will still be standing in a 100 years as a result of this and other good building practices.

Today, we build mansions with less concern for good building practices and expose huge areas of wall to rain. Homeowners who do not install gutters on their roofs cannot expect their walls to last a lifetime.

If not attended to, repair costs will soar - and if still unattended, will seriously effect structural integrity and the value of your property.

Consider the following:

1. When it comes to installing and maintaining gutters, homeowners need to be proactive.

2. Homeowners should install quality waterproofing plasters that have been SABS approved.

3. Take care to install quality membranes to prevent the parapet tops from cracking and degrading. 

4. Use high quality latex primer on all the walls for extensive protection and an extended life. 

6. Point sprinklers away from walls so they remain dry. 

7. Consider installing a perimeter drain around your house. 

8. Finally, consider installing gutters to prevent the water from pooling at the base of your house. 

The components of a gutter system 

It takes a well-designed roof  to drain all of the storm water into the gutters or roof drains. 

The gutter or roof drain needs to be designed to capture all the roof drainage so that it directs the water into the downspouts. 

Downspouts are pipes that carry the water from the gutters to the drain system. 

The drain system comprises a set of in-ground pipes that lead the water away from the structure and into a storm drain or on-site system.
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