Timber gutters (or spout to give it its correct name) are a common feature on terraced properties in Sheffield. When they were originally installed at the turn of the last century times were very different. Firstly the timber was of superior quality to the fast grown softwoods on offer today; this is despite the fact that modern timbers are Tanalised (pressure treated with preservatives). It was also accepted that regular maintenance, including the clearing of leaves and reapplying oils and other preservatives, was an essential part of maintaining the property in good condition. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, many of the properties on a row were owned by a single builder or landlord. Because of this, the row was treated as one building and so when the gutters eventually failed, the entire run was replaced at the same time.
Of course, times have changed. Most homes are now privately owned and we no longer think about getting the ladders out, clearing the leaves and accumulated debris and giving the timber a fresh coat, never mind doing the same for our neighbours. Moreover, when problems eventually arise and the gutters need to be renewed, it is common to replace the sections on a property by property basis rather than the entire run. This results in sections of varying ages and of variable quality of workmanship in jointing, all failing at different times.
Take a look at the picture above. If you look carefully, you will notice that there is only one downpipe for the entire row of 4 houses. This is a throwback to the time when the row was considered to be one building and there was no need for each house to have its own drain.
Now, this is the crucial point. All four property owners have as much interest on maintaining the whole run as they have on maintaining the section directly above their heads. It makes sense for all the property owners to take interest in each of the individual sections.
This is a typical example of where seamless aluminium guttering comes into its own. The section of guttering in the picture is 18 metres long and was produced in a single length. This means no leaky joints. Also, because of the greater capacity for the aluminium section to handle larger volumes of rainwater it is less prone to overflowing during heavy rain – crucial bearing in mind the single outlet.
The property owners on this installation were keen to maintain the character of the facade and so we restored the timber corbels (originally acting as brackets for the timber gutter) along with the fascia boards and downpipe. The OG profile of the aluminium gutter closely matches that of the original and the overall result is a cost effective, durable and attractive solution to a common problem.