Why you should spend next week in the gutter, looking at the gutter

Clear gutters and drains of leaves and debris. November is a particularly good time to do this

Clear gutters and drains of leaves and debris. November is a particularly good time to do this - Credit: Archant

We may all be in the gutter, but even those of us who are usually looking at the stars should pay attention closer to the ground for National Maintenance Week, which starts on Friday.

How often do you check your guttering? If the answer is less than twice a year then you’re not doing it often enough. If you don’t even do it each autumn then you may be storing up serious problems for your home.

It may not be the sexiest way to spend a wet weekend but the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) is promoting a few basic maintenance steps homeowners can take, which could save them serious money and hassle.

If you don’t want to spend all week peering down drains, then at least put the enticingly named National Gutters Day in your diary as a festive opportunity to make sure everything is looking ship shape before winter attacks with full force.

Roger Mears, an Islington-based architect and SPAB committee member, has several tips for owners of period homes typically found in north London.

He says: “The crucial thing is that this is the time of year when leaves can blow around and block gutters and drainpipes so it’s good for people to get out on their roofs if they can.

“Because so many London terraced houses have butterfly roofs with central valley gutters it’s not always possible, but if access is available, get out on the roof and do a visual inspection to see if there are any loose slates and see if the gutters themselves are loose.

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“Look for things that you think might cause problems in future.”

While SPAB founder William Morris’ advice to do a little home maintenance every day may go the way of all good intentions, Mears says that inspecting your property twice a year should be plenty, and if all else fails, to make sure to do so in autumn to stave off potential issues before winter.

He also notes that it shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a boring chore.

“Enjoy looking at your building,” says Mears. “It’s fun seeing the brickwork and how everything works. It’s part of being a building owner.

“We are guardians for the future generations, we have a responsibility to them to look after these lovely Georgian and Victorian houses.”