Concrete gutters (also called Finlock Gutters) are gutters that many homes from the 1950s to 1970s would have owned. Originally Concrete gutters were used as an alternative to replace Iron gutters, due to the shortages of steel at the time. Concrete was seen as durable and low-cost material, therefore a safer alternative. Cast iron guttering can serve as an alternative.
The increasing use of Cavity constructed walls during this period meant the Concrete system worked well with the top of the cavity walls and could serve as a load baring role for openings where doors and windows had been placed.
Concrete gutters come with many issues and are very outdated in today’s climate. Due to weather changes in the UK, Finlock gutters have been known to fail frequently and when failing can come with many problems for the homeowner.
The Problems with Concrete gutters
Damage to Interior – Mould, dampness and water damage are sometimes the main reason why concrete gutters fail. In often cases the first thing homeowners notice is water stain and dampness which can harm the walls and wallpapers. After homeowners have discovered this problem, the cost of redecoration is essential but can be expensive, especially if the problem can occur again.
Damp and Mould – A common problem homeowners face is their Finlock gutter causing dampness. When water is untreated inside the guttering, this can cause many issues including Dampness and Mould. These problems during the colder months can have negative impacts on the interior of the homeowner and especially on their health and wellbeing. Properties that have Damp and Mould built-up due to concrete gutters, repairing or removing them can fix the problems.
Lining Failure – The contraction and expansion of the lining occurs because of the change in temperature. These changes can lead to weaker points in the guttering system, especially at the joints. The concrete troughs can potentially break and create various access points for water to come in. Lining failure is one of the biggest reasons concrete gutters fail.
Cold/ Thermal Bridging – Properties with Finlock gutters, the first thing homeowners will spot is a grey horizontal band around the perimeter of the walls. This is called Cold bridging which means a colder material encounters the warmer material and proceeds to cool the warmer material down.
In Finlock terms the colder material is concrete, and the warmer material is the wall. The grey horizontal band is due to condensation and can lead to your wallpapers peeling.
In summer because of the temperature conditions, they aren’t an issue but during the colder winter months when homeowners turn on their radiators, the concrete gutters can cause problems. The temperature between a hot radiator and a cold environment will make the problem of cold bridging larger.
Sagging – Concrete gutters can be used as windows and door opening joints, but if the joints are weak with no sufficient filling they begin to sag. Furthermore, modern guttering has designed their gutters so when it rains the rainwater will run down the pipe, meaning no water is trapped in their gutters. However, Concrete guttering doesn’t have this feature instead the water will sit dormant in the gutters and cause damage over time.
Finlock Guttering Facts
- The average lifespan for Finlock Gutters before they fail is estimated to be 30 years and that is if they are looked after if not maintained can be shorter.
- The Concrete absorbs water instead of draining it which incidentally causes a lot of problems as gutters are supposed to get rid of the water.
- When concrete gutters are not repaired by a specialist this can cause more problems.
- Finlock guttering contains Asbestos which is harmful to your health.
- Finlock guttering often can devalue the price of your property if you were interested in selling.
- The damage they can cause can be expensive and it is better to remove them.
Is Concrete Lining worth it?
The Concrete gutter lining is a temporary fix that makes the concrete gutters waterproof. As this is a temporary fix this doesn’t mean it will resolve the current concrete gutter issues for a long time, therefore this should be a short-term fix until you want to have a full concrete gutter replacement/ removal.
Concrete gutter replacement is an alternative for many homeowners because it resolves all the concrete gutter issues at once and there are many companies in the UK that are Concrete Gutter specialists.