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Most people can wander around their local area and see nothing but PVC guttering. However, some areas will have several examples of Finlock concrete guttering in place on buildings – typically those built soon after the war. At the time, it was difficult to get hold of enough steel to build regular gutters (long before the advent of PVC, of course). So, when properties were built, Finlock concrete gutters were added as part of the building process.

They were touted as the ideal type of guttering to use back then. No need for maintenance, no hassle, and no future issues. Unfortunately, these gutters were not fit for purpose, as became clear in subsequent years. That’s something you will know only too well if you live in a property with these gutters attached. Read on to find out everything you need to know about Finlock guttering, the problems it can bring, and how to repair or replace this type of guttering.

What do Finlock gutters look like?

They are easy to spot once you know what you are looking for. Concrete gutters are designed in blocks. Once the walls of your property were completed, the concrete blocks for the guttering were placed on top. Mortar was then used to fix them in position and to fill the small gaps between the blocks.

Of course, over time, rainwater will get into the mortar and it will fail. And since the walls of your home are sitting directly underneath the concrete gutter blocks… you can guess where that rainwater will go.

What problems can be caused by this type of guttering?

You may already be familiar with the following issues if you live in a property with Finlock gutters in place:

• Failing mortar joints – as mentioned above, this allows water to seep through into your brickwork. Over time, it can cause serious damage.

• Collapsing sections of guttering – most likely to occur above windows. It allows rainwater to collect in that section of guttering, potentially causing further damage beneath.

• Damp and mould inside your home – as water seeps through the guttering instead of being carried away from your property, it will affect the fabric of the building. This increases the risk of damp and mould inside your home and associated health risks.

• Damage to interior décor – wallpaper can come away from walls, water stains and damp can be seen, and paint finishes can be ruined. Redecorating is a waste of time as the problem will return to ruin new décor too.

• The guttering has no pitch – modern guttering is tilted to allow rainwater to flow towards the downpipe to be carried away into the drains. However, Finlock guttering was installed on top of level walls. This means the water will sit in the guttering, thereby causing more damage over time.

• Cold bridging – modern guttering is installed outside the walls of your home. This did not happen with the concrete guttering. The inside of the block will form the top of the outside walls of your home. The outside is exposed to the elements. If it’s cold, the risk of condensation inside your home increases. This would not occur with modern guttering – no part of which would be inside your home.

You may already be experiencing any or all these issues. If so, taking steps to resolve them is vital if you wish to ensure your home is protected against further damage.

Should you repair or replace your concrete gutters?

Repairing them is cheaper than replacing them. However, some of the problems this type of guttering brings with it cannot be resolved unless you take them out and replace them with something else entirely.

For example, you could put fresh mortar in the joints between the guttering blocks. However, this will only kick the can down the road. It may prevent water seepage to a degree, but it will not resolve your problems and should be avoided. Repairs cannot resolve most of the problems in the above list.

You may have read about the prospect of getting your concrete gutters lined. This is cheaper than replacement too. However, it does not add a gradient to your guttering, and therefore it will not encourage rainwater to drain away from your home. Again, it is a short-term solution that may help reduce some of the issues but will not resolve the cold bridging problem mentioned above.

Is it best to replace concrete gutters with PVC gutters?

In our opinion, this is the best course of action – the only course of action that will resolve all the issues mentioned here. Regardless of the type of repairs undertaken, damp will continue to be an issue inside your home. Your health may be at risk. Your guttering may continue to fail, gradually losing strength and causing more problems.

The only practical solution is to hire guttering experts to replace your concrete gutter blocks with uPVC guttering. Since the blocks form part of your property, where the walls meet the roof, the overhanging portion of the gutters will be removed. A new fascia and soffit can then be installed, and new uPVC guttering will be added. This will perform all the functions of modern guttering, channelling water away from the property and into the downpipe.

This is the only real solution that will resolve all the issues homeowners experience with the old concrete gutter blocks.

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