Guttering and drainage

Problems can arise with gutters and drains

While drainage and guttering might not be the most glamorous of subjects, they are essential components of any property.

Where problems are left untreated, they have the potential to cause significant damage to the structure or material of a building.

Water is enemy number one when it comes to the structural integrity of a building and the presence of water or moisture within your property can cause irreparable damage from damp to wet rot, and even flooding.

Guttering and drainage related issues can turn your dream home into a nightmare with major issues being costly and time consuming to resolve. It’s therefore essential for prospective homebuyers to pay attention to any potential signs of leaking gutters, blocked drains or general deterioration to a properties drainage system before purchase.

Our RICS qualified surveyors can help you to spot guttering and drainage problems before you commit to your property purchase.

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Guttering is in place to help direct rainwater run off away from the exterior walls and roof of a property. However, problems with the guttering system can arise and cause water and moisture to breach the protection of your home.

The largest concern with damaged or improperly installed guttering is the potential for leakages. If you spot a leak, it is important to address it at the earliest opportunity as leaks can lead to more severe problems over time such as damp, structural damage, and subsidence issues.

Potential causes and signs of guttering issues:

Blockages: Maintaining the guttering system is imperative, as while the design of gutters is perfect for collecting and directing water, it is also excellent for accumulating leaves, twigs, or any flotsam and jetsam that is blown or dropped into them. A build up of debris can create blockages leading to leakages and overflows.

Vegetation or plant growth: Where a blockage disrupts the water flow within a guttering system, this can create the perfect environment for growth. Vegetation or plant growth can increase a blockage and attract wildlife which may in turn cause further damage.

Sagging gutters: Gutters will begin to sag where the weight of water or contents of the gutter exceeds that of what its joints or support brackets can hold. Sagging may become an issue where there are blockages stopping the water from correctly flowing or due to improperly installed or loose support brackets.

Incorrect down piping: Down piping assists in directing water away from the property’s foundations by carrying water from the guttering to the down pipe and directly down to a water drain. If the water is not flowing into the drain correctly this can cause structural damage or flooding in the event of heavy rain.


When everything is working as it should, drains are often an out of sight out of mind feature of the home. However, where problems with your drainage system arise, they can cause no end of issues.

The most common problems that may develop with a property’s drains are:

Blockages: With all manner of matter and substances ending up down your drains – food, grease, hair, leaves, and twigs – it is inevitable for a blockage to appear from time to time. However, where blockages do appear it is important to remedy them as soon as possible.

Blockages can cause increased overflow, slow drainage, flooding, and have the potential to attract pests. Blockages can be spotted where there is a build-up of water or slow drainage in sinks, toilets, and showers or if you notice a smell surrounding drainage points within a property.

Broken or leaky pipes: There are various causes for broken or leaky pipes, foremost of which is wear and tear over time which can lead to cracks, fractures and breaks within the pipes creating leaks.

Where leaks develop further, damage to the surrounding area of the property can ensue and structural damage at the property can potentially be caused. Other causes of cracks and breaks within the pipes include root damage and damage caused through pest infestation.

Signs of broken or leaking pipes include noticeable leaks, excessive moisture, damp, mildew, and mould.

Buying a home is one of the most expensive purchases you are likely to ever make, so don’t take the risk of buying one with hidden defects.

Book a home survey with SDL Surveying and we’ll help highlight if there are any issues with the property that may not be immediately obvious when viewing a property.

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