Why Do Finlock Gutters Fail?

Finlock gutters are a concrete gutter, built as a durable and cost-effective alternative to steel, due to the steel shortage during the war effort. Finlock gutters are mostly found on homes built between the 1950’s-1970’s and can be found across the UK. Despite their reliability when being built, homeowners now face some Finlock gutter problems.

Concrete guttering replacement

Common Finlock gutter problems

Lining Failure

The main cause for this kind of failure results from the expansion and contraction of the lining as a result of changes in temperatures. However, there are many other causes to this problem: the thermal changes can lead to the separation of weak points or at the junctions. As a result of this, the heavy inflexible troughs of concrete often crack. This creates access points through which water can enter and cause detrimental effects. This kind of failure is particularly problematic and should be addressed immediately as it can be very expensive to rectify.

Cold/ Thermal Bridging

Cold bridging is when cold materials meet warmer ones, resulting in the cooling down of the warmer material. Modern guttering is installed outside the walls of your home; however, this was not the case for concrete guttering. The inside of the block will form the top of the outside walls of your home. The outside is exposed to the elements. If it’s cold, the risk of condensation inside your home increases. This would not occur with modern guttering – no part of which would be inside your home.

Cold/thermal bridging can be identified by horizontal grey bands at high levels of the perimeter walls. When there is such a problem, the wallpaper can begin to peel away at the top of your wall. Alternatively, if the wall is tiled, the tiles could start to become slightly raised and potentially need redoing.

Sagging and Uneven Gutters

Finlock gutters act as door and window opening lintels. However, without adequate filling or strengthening when they’re fixed, they can sag slightly. Sagging can also result from poorly replaced windows, such windows become difficult to close or open. Additionally, sometimes windows cannot handle the weight of the gutters, which also result in sagging, ruining the beauty of your home.

The Guttering Has No Pitch

Modern guttering is tilted to allow rainwater to flow towards the downpipe to be carried away into the drains. However, Finlock guttering was installed on top of level walls. This means the water will sit in the guttering, thereby causing more damage over time. In some cases, rainwater can collect and potentially cause the gutter to collapse in sections.

Failing Mortar Joints

As mentioned above, this allows water to seep through into your brickwork. Over time, it can cause serious damage.

Damp and Mould Inside Your Home

When water seeps through the guttering instead of being carried away from your property, it will affect the fabric of the building. This increases the risk of damp and mould inside your home and associated health risks.

Damp and mold

Damage to Interior Décor

Wallpaper can come away from the walls, water stains and damp can be seen, and paint finishes can be ruined. However, redecorating is a waste of time as the problem will return to ruin new décor unless the gutters are replaced entirely.

As there are so many problems associated with Finlock gutters, resulting in both interior and exterior issues, as well as damaging the beauty of your home, the best solution is complete removal of the Finlock gutters and replace with something more friendly: such as uPVC.

Finlock Gutters fail mainly because of their lack of reliability with water. Once the concrete expands, water can seep through and cause a lot of issues such as ‘puddling’: where water gathers and destroys the lining of the gutter. This can then cause sagging, leaks and water build up in the gutter. Further issues caused by this can be mould growth and build up in and outside the home, which has serious health issues. In some more serious cases, water build up can cause complete failure of the Finlock gutter and result in collapse, which could be potentially dangerous for those in and around the home.