Technical Update – March – Time for a spring clean! – Dave Osborne, Technical Manager
With over 30 years’ experience working in the building products’ sector, our Technical Manager, Dave Osborne is a reliable authority with a wealth of practical advice geared at achieving the best results. This time, Dave turns his attention to gutter care and ventilation, with some extra cleaning and maintenance tips on the side.
With spring in the air, it’s the best time of year to address cleaning gutters. Autumn and winter’s fallen leaves combine with moss and roof debris to create a gutter clogging mix that can soon lead to problems when periods of heavy rain occur.
To ensure your gutters are clear and free flowing, remove any congesting surface matter first, followed by the silt underneath which can be scooped out and flushed clear with a hose. Even if leaf guards are in place, checks to remove trapped leaves are still important to ensure complete removal of troublesome debris.
Wipe down and leak check
I can recommend a quick exterior wipe down of gutters and pipes to maintain good condition, and while you’re there, check for any leaking joints and if necessary, lift the gutter, clean gaskets and re-clip gutter (a silicone spray can help). Loose swan necks (off-set bends) or downpipe clips can also be re-secured.
Be sure too that you check any ‘grey water’ water butts fed by your gutters, as many have a leaf trap that could also need cleaning. Bear in mind - those that don’t, may also have a layer of silt and leaf debris at the bottom, scoop out and flush through with a hose.
Maintaining appearance – ensuring ventilation
While you are up the ladder, why not give your fascia and soffit a clean to make your roofline look its best: Clean, soapy water will remove most dirt, whilst any stubborn areas, affected by sap from trees and built-up residue, can be gently cleaned with a non-abrasive cleaner, followed by the same soapy solution. Thoroughly rinse all areas with clean water and wipe dry.
I know in the past, I have spoken about the importance of correctly vented roofs, so whilst at eaves level, pay a visit to the loft and have a quick look around the roof perimeter where the rafters and tiles meet the outside wall. Whilst you won’t be bringing the stored Christmas decorations down this time, you will be able to confirm that any insulation present is not blocking the air-path from the vents in the soffit. You can achieve this with the insertion of rafter trays, or by simply ensuring the insulation is pulled slightly back from the roof. If your perimeter is correctly ventilated, you should be able to see a small amount of light around the soffit. Remember: if you take the time to maintain airflow, you’ll minimise the risk of condensation in the roof-space and any subsequent issues that could arise.
On a cleaning theme – I’ll talk next about Marbrex and Roomliner. To keep these fantastic wall panel products looking their best, a regular cleaning regime will pay dividends. Ideally, use warm soapy water, although there are plenty of spray cleaners that are now commonly used. Never use abrasive products or solvent-based cleaners. Wash down to remove watermarks, spilt hair and body wash products, and dry with a clean, soft damp cloth. Sealants can tarnish over time, so apply a good quality, anti-fungicide product, many of which are commonly available and will restrict or minimise mould growth. Small patches of mould can be bleached, although try to minimise bleach application on the wall panel surface - following use, wash off thoroughly with clean water.
If you’re looking to add fitments to your panels this spring, such as towel rails, toilet roll holders or extending mirrors, perform the best job by cutting a small section of the panel’s front face so it can accommodate a support packer, which will prevent the face from pulling in when the fixings are tightened down.
All being well, these technical pointers will guide you in the right direction when it comes to gutter maintenance and a few other tasks besides. Here’s hoping your first jobs of the season go well.
Until next time, Dave.