What are Finlock gutters?
Concrete gutters – also known as Finlock gutters – were installed in thousands of homes across the UK from the 1950s right through to the 1970s. Concrete gutters were initially introduced as an alternative to the cast iron gutters prevalent at the time. They soon grew very popular, because building materials such as steel and other metals were scarce, having been used widely in World War II. Concrete was considered a low-cost, low-maintenance, durable substitute.
Concrete Finlock gutters are made of two troughs, which are horizontally aligned. One of the troughs is visibly positioned on the exterior of the property, whereby the other is positioned above the wall to ensure that the wall cavity is covered. Finlock gutters fluctuate in length, often ranging between 200 mm and 250 mm. They are occasionally fortified with iron rods and sealed with bitumen.
Despite their initial promise, Finlock gutters failed to stand the test of time, proving less durable than originally anticipated. Concrete gutters deteriorate rapidly and can become severely problematic, requiring constant maintenance if not replaced effectively. Nevertheless, numerous properties in the UK still have concrete gutters, despite their discontinued production. This blog will highlight the types of problems you may encounter if you have a faulty Finlock gutter system, whilst also outlining the two remedies available to resolve such issues and explaining how they differ.
The Most Common Concrete Gutter Problems
Damp and mould
The most common problem caused by poorly functioning Finlock gutters is the onset of damp and mould. If your gutter is not working properly, then damp will likely begin to appear in the upper corners of your upstairs bedrooms adjacent to your concrete guttering. This is likely to bleed through into your exterior brickwork, appearing as damp patches. If left unattended, the resulting dampness could worsen, becoming a harmful mould.
External gutter leaks
Some guttering issues are more visible than others. Problems with external gutters are easier to spot, as the gutters will begin to drip steadily. In this scenario, your gutters are failing and are likely to compound in severity from this moment on. This may result in staining and deterioration of the outside of your property.
Cold/thermal bridging is when a cold material comes into contact with a warmer one, causing the warmer material to cool. This process can be incredibly damaging in all weather conditions and can reduce the energy efficiency of your property, in addition to making your insulation less effective. If such a problem is to arise, it may cause your internal wallpaper to peel away from your wall because of condensation.
Solution 1: Concrete gutter lining
The first solution for failing Finlock guttering is to implement concrete gutter lining. Concrete gutter lining is a cheaper, shorter-term repair, which helps to alleviate many of the problems caused by failing Finlock gutters. However, damp issues are likely to persist, despite your attempts to resolve them with concrete gutter lining, eventually causing your Finlock guttering to fail again. It is therefore advised that, instead, you opt for a complete concrete removal service, as it has a longer-term impact and will not need to be revisited later.
Our unique gutter lining process:
- Our team begins the process by setting up their HSE-approved staging equipment. Our Easi-dec scaffolding alternative is far less invasive than traditional scaffolding and can be easily removed in the same day, therefore meaning homeowners will not have to deal with visible scaffolding before or after the process is finished. The only exception to this is when access proves particularly problematic, in which case traditional scaffolding may need to be used.
- Once the scaffolding is in place, our team can begin to remove the first round of roof tiles. Although this isn’t entirely essential and cannot be done if the tiles are nailed down – removing them does make the following steps much simpler for our fitters.
- Many clients have had their Finlock gutters lined previously with aluminium or bitumen, neither of which tend to last long term. One of the first steps, therefore, is to remove these failed concrete gutter linings.
- Once the previous Finlock gutter linings have been removed, there is likely to be a fair amount of debris leftover in your gutters. The next step for our team, as a result, will be to ensure that your gutters are thoroughly cleaned out.
- Once your gutters are clean, they will be painted by our team, with our quick-drying, waterproof fiberglass application. Our fitting teams are not frugal with this and will ensure that your concrete gutters are properly coated to last.
- Once the fiberglass lining has been applied, we will begin joining our work to the neighbours’ gutters, as this will prevent any disagreements or arguments later on.
- The next step in our gutter lining process is to fit an EPS (Eaves Protection System) to your home – unlike most of our competitors. This is an essential step, as the EPS tray slides underneath your old felt and angles down into the gutter to ensure that no water can enter your home through pre-existing holes or rips along the bottom of your roof felt.
- We then scour the length of our EPS tray installations, joining each one to prevent the risk of them slipping or moving. Although not completely necessary, it makes a huge difference in terms of the longevity of your guttering renovation.
- Once our EPS trays have been properly secured and joined together, our team then fits flashform over the top of them. Once again, this is not a vital step, but provides additional peace of mind when it comes to the permanence of your waterproofing. Our ethos is that there’s no such thing as being overcautious.
- Following the flashform installation, your Finlock gutters will have been successfully lined. Our team will now begin to refit your roof tiles in their previous positions. This will cover the flashform and most of the EPS – except for a small portion that overlaps into your gutters.
- Once the work has been completed and all of your roof tiles returned, then our team will finally tidy up and remove any remaining rubbish from the site. We will make sure that your home is as clean as it was when we arrived.
Solution 2: Concrete gutter removal
Concrete gutter removal is a much more intensive solution than concrete gutter lining, and as a result, lasts a lot longer. Once your faulty gutters have been successfully removed, your new gutters will eliminate any further leaks and dampness caused by defective joins and grouting. The effects can be felt almost instantly, with other benefits such as improved thermal efficiency, reduced risk of condensation, and the eradication of future concrete gutter-related maintenance.
What are the benefits of replacing/lining your concrete gutter?
1. Easier to maintain
The most prevalent issue with concrete guttering is its incessant demand for repainting and resealing to continue functioning. With the invention of modern technologies, modern gutters are now practically maintenance-free and maintain their seals and colouring for much longer durations.
2. Faulty gutters can damage your property
Many guttering systems will separate at or around their seams. Consequently, water will begin to filter down the sides of the house. This water will eventually begin to damage the paint and sides of your property, attacking its foundations. If you’ve invested considerable amounts of finance in landscaping, then this is likely to be negatively impacted also, with improper water flow from the roof quickly destroying your expensive foliage.
3. Enhances curb appeal
A fully functioning gutter not only protects your home’s integrity but is also a noticeable detail that can help to turn heads. Moreover, modern gutters can be customised to suit a plethora of tastes, with users deciding between different colours, materials, shapes, downspouts, and accessories.
The value of homes within the UK continues to skyrocket. New gutters can assist in positioning a home seller much higher in an already saturated and competitive market. Gutters are often viewed as a hidden treasure when it comes to real estate, as potential buyers often view them as an important part of the property and will more likely pay a seller’s full asking price as a result. Many property agents consider gutters a requirement for a functioning home and will deduct the price of replacing them from the sale price of the property if they appear ineffective.
4. Better health conditions
Resolving faulty guttering can help to improve the health standards of your property. Properties with malfunctioning gutters often have too much moisture, forming mould and mildew, which can lead to health problems and worsen existing respiratory conditions and allergies. Moreover, new gutters are much easier to clean, further reducing the risk of poor air quality.
As highlighted above, numerous properties in the UK still feature Finlock guttering. Finlock guttering is no longer a long-term solution and can present harm to occupants of the property in the form of damp and mould, external gutter leaks, and cold/thermal bridging.
There are two possible solutions for a faulty concrete gutter, which are to either remove them completely or to replace the Finlock gutter lining. Replacing the concrete gutter lining is the cheaper of the two solutions, so will be more suitable for you if you are on a budget. However, lining does not eradicate the issues at hand and will likely require ongoing maintenance moving forwards. Concrete gutter removal is the more effective of the two resolutions, as it gets rid of the problem holistically, and therefore, does not need to be revisited later down the line.
In either case, an effective resolution is only possible if performed by a qualified professional like Finlock Removals. This ensures that residents do not have to deal with heavy concrete blocks or potential asbestos exposure. Furthermore, it guarantees that the job is completed properly, ensuring that you don’t waste time and money on solutions that will eventually need to be revisited – particularly as a poor job can result in even further, costly damage.
If you would like to know more about how we can help you and your property, then please do not hesitate to get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.
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