As rain tumbles down in many parts of the country, many home-owners will be wishing they had cleaned their gutters earlier, especially box gutters! Recent substantially varying weather conditions brings this to front of mind more often than in the past.

Box gutters can be a convenient way of dealing with an unusual roof form or a roof that abuts a wall (think of an old terrace, for example). With more and more buildings built to property boundaries these days box gutters are as prevalent as they’ve ever been, but they have special design and maintenance requirements.

At issue with many poorly designed box gutters is that if they overflow the chances are water will overflow into the building……the water has nowhere else to go! A fascia gutter – assuming the front edge of the gutter is lower than the back edge – will overflow onto the ground. Not only does this avoid damage to the property, it alerts the home-owner to a problem unlike an overflowing box gutter that can cause significant damage before the problem is detected.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have box gutters, just that you should keep three things in mind:

  • Make sure all box gutters are deep and wide enough to be cleaned with a broom.
  • Make sure at least one end can overflow to the ground if there’s a blockage. This depends on how long the gutter is and whether expansion joints are present.
  • Allow all gutters to discharge into a sump and/or rain water head of similar width before flowing into downpipes.
  • Make sure gutters are cleaned regularly … monthly if possible.

If you’re buying any home with box gutters look out for water-staining down the walls or on carpets … these can be a tell-tale sign of box gutter problems – especially where roof access is not easily or safely provided.