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Remove or Line Concrete Gutters?

The question as to whether you should remove or line concrete gutters can be quite difficult to answer as people involved in the industry have their own agendas to follow which of course colours the advice they give.Yes, we at Concrete Gutter Removals do have a vested interest but I am going to give a balanced view on the subject.
Generally the first thing to spring to peoples minds is what is the cost difference.

Cost

Usually a concrete gutter removal for around 12 metres is about £2900, with an additional cost of £150 per metre run thereafter. A lining will cost from £1000 to £2000, depending on the lining and other factors. On a cost basis it would indicate that to remove or reline concrete gutters is won hands down by the latter option. However, the price differential is closing. Working from ladders and lightweight towers isn’t acceptable practice from a health and safety point of view and since April of this year the CDM regulations apply to all projects and for the first time domestic projects. The upshot is that the client and principle designer now have well defined obligations and a duty to ensure that the works are performed safely. A health and safety plan should be in place for each and every job and thus a full pole scaffold should be used on both lining projects and concrete gutter replacement. As a scaffold can cost from £700 to £1800 (dependent on location within the UK) the cost of a basic gutter lining will increase to a minimum of £1700.

Longevity

If done correctly both installations should have a minimum twenty year life span. The problem is that with lining, adjacent properties must be lined at the same time to ensure that moisture does not penetrate beneath adjoining lining and concrete gutter. With concrete gutter removal this is seldom a problem. Quite often linings are difficult to detail effectively and moisture can penetrate through joints or abutments to neighbouring properties. Quite often linings fail after a relatively short period of time, due to these problems.

Water disposal

A problem with concrete gutters is that they are not generally laid to a fall, therefore the gutters are not self cleansing to any degree and water lies in them, which ultimately speeds up there failure as they are subject to freeze thaw action. Linings follow the existing line of the concrete gutters which does improve the lack of fall. Once concrete gutters are removed, the new rainwater system can be installed to allow a reasonable fall to help the gutters keep themselves clean, thereby cutting down on maintenance.

Ventilation

Ventilation within the ceiling void is necessary to stop rot to timber roof structures and to prevent condensation forming which reduces the effectiveness of the loft insulation. Lining does not help to improve the ventilation within the ceiling void.
An integral part of any concrete gutter removal scheme is to provide ventilation (usually via over fascia vents) to current building regulation standards (the equivalent of 10mm continuous ventilation in most cases).

Cold Bridging

Cold bridging is caused by the concrete gutters creating a continuous path from the outside to the inside of the property. Over recent years this has been exacerbated by more efficient windows (preventing natural air infiltration) and retrospectively filled cavity walls, creating a bigger temperature differential between the concrete gutter and the cavity wall. Cold bridging is the biggest shortcoming of the concrete gutter as it allows condensation to form on the inside of the property resulting in potentially harmful moulds and fungal growth, and damage to plaster and internal finishes. Lining a concrete gutter will not improve the thermal properties of the concrete gutter.
As part of the process of concrete gutter removal, the new installation can incorporate a layer of insulation which when combined with the 38mm timber fascia an d18mm plastic profile, will improve the u value to a level comparable with a retrospectively insulation filled 1960’s cavity wall, thus eliminating cold bridging and potential temperature differentials between wall and concrete gutter.
on this matter remove or line concrete gutters is a no brainer!

Aesthetics

The appearance of a property is generally not improved by inserting a lining as the concrete is still visible. A new PVCue installation immediately gives a property a visual lift and improves kerb appeal.
Again our question,remove or line concrete gutters is a resounding win for removal.

Property Value

As more and more surveyors are realising the potential problems of concrete gutters it is quite likely that they will make an allowance in any valuation. A lining will not add value to a property.
A concrete gutter removal project could add as much as £5000, to a property’s value.

Conclusion

Although a concrete gutter removal project may appear to be costly, in real terms it provides value for money. It cures all endemic concrete gutter problems and adds value to the property in excess of its initial cost. Over the past 3 years we have replaced concrete gutters and approximately 50% have had some type of failed lining. We have even removed linings within 18 months of their installation due to failure or recurrence of cold bridging. The choice is always with the customer, however sometimes it is better to spend a little extra on something that will provide a 100% tried and tested solution. On balance the question of whether you should remove or line concrete gutters is a resounding yes to removal and subsequent replacement with plastic profiles.