When were concrete gutters popular?

Concrete gutters were a replacement for iron gutters in post-war Britain, because of the steel shortages at the time. They were popular from the 1950s to the 1970s and became widely used because they worked well with cavity walls, which was the common wall type constructed at the time. However, in the modern era, uPVC gutters became increasingly popular and concrete gutters were phased out because of their problems.

Concrete gutters only have a 30-year lifespan, but many homes in the UK still own concrete gutters with most homeowners unaware of the issues they cause.

The problems with concrete gutters

  • Cold bridging: This occurs when cold air from the concrete gutter encounters the warm air from your heating and causes condensation. This is a form of dampness.
  • Building damages: Concrete gutters cause many internal and external problems, many of which are unnoticeable until it’s too late.
  • Failed lining: A suitable fix when done right is concrete gutter lining, as this acts as a medium-term repair and is a more budget-friendly option. When done poorly this can cause more problems to arise, though.
  • Damp and mould: This is the most common problem that homeowners have. This usually occurs in the upper corners of your home, normally upstairs and adjacent to the concrete guttering. When left unmaintained, this can cause mould to accumulate.

History of asbestos

As damp and mould accumulate in homes, many people think of asbestos. This dangerous material was used from the 1900s right up to the 1990s because of the properties it holds, like its durability, strength and heat resistance.

Before its ban, asbestos was heavily used in many properties around the UK. It was used extensively in boiler insulation, ceiling tiles, cement roofing, duct and pipe insulation, furnaces, roofing tiles and even vinyl flooring.

The effects that asbestos has when disturbed often look similar to issues caused by concrete guttering. However, asbestos is considered more dangerous than any damp or mould.

The dangers of asbestos

Asbestos, when left untouched, is not harmful. But when it is disrupted, fibres are released into the air which becomes extremely harmful to inhale. As asbestos-related illnesses do not happen overnight or are sometimes unnoticeable, treating the problems can be harder.

Asbestos is carcinogenic towards humans and over time can cause serious life-threatening illnesses such as Mesothelioma, a form of cancer that targets the lining of the lungs. When asbestos fibres are inhaled, serious problems like shortness of breath, pain in your chest and fatigue are common signs.

Asbestos in concrete guttering

Asbestos was banned in 1999, but many roofing companies used asbestos heavily in insulation materials before this. As concrete gutters were built in homes from the 1950s to the 1970s, this led many people to speculate whether concrete gutters contained asbestos.

Asbestos is commonly found in piping or roof insulation in older properties. However, asbestos was not featured specifically in concrete gutters. If your concrete guttering has impacted the interior of your home, specifically your roof insulation, then there is a possibility that ACMs (asbestos-containing materials) may have been disturbed.

Our team at Finlock Removals are registered to safely work with and dispose of ACMs, as well as repair or replace your concrete gutter to fully protect your home.

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