Guttering is a method of directing rain water from the roof of a building to a drain point, soakaway or water storage butt using a system of water collection troughs and down pipes, guttering is essential to protect against a number of issues, including flooding, erosion, water ingress, damp problems and damage to the foundations of the property.
The use of guttering in the UK began when the Romans occupied Britain, unfortunately this knowledge was not retained after they left and gutters were no longer used until after the Norman invasion when the owners of grander homes used lead gutters and gargoyles to divert rain water away from properties. The Victorians used cast iron for guttering and down pipes and this was the main material used in Britain until plastic took over.
Although guttering is considered to be an integral part of property design in both residential and commercial buildings these days, there are many garden room designers who do not feel it is necessary to include them in their plans. Thankfully the majority of quality garden room designers and suppliers consider guttering to be crucial for the protection of the building and to benefit the environment through the collection of rain water for use in the garden. Some garden room designers feel that whilst guttering is necessary for the well being of the garden room and the environment, they find it detracts from the aesthetic value of their overall design, with that in mind, they have designed structures in which the guttering and down pipes are hidden within the external walls so you are not aware of them or they are actually incorporated as design features. As previously mentioned, not all garden room designers include guttering in their plans, therefore we recommend that you check with your supplier before purchase as guttering and down pipes are often considered to be an optional extra, you may be able to source the same or equivalent product from a different supplier at a lower price and fit it yourself.
The benefits of garden room guttering
Guttering should be considered a vital component of the structure of a garden room, here are just some of the benefits:
Protects your concrete slab foundation – if you do not have a system to direct water away from your foundation you may find that the resulting standing water causes the concrete to crumble or settle.
Prevents flooding around your garden room – flooding can easily occur without guttering and down pipes to collect and divert rain water away from your garden room, either to a drain, soakaway or water butt.
Protects against damp and rot – guttering prevents rain water from running down the walls of your garden room, this can cause rotting in wooden window and door frames and timber cladding, it can also cause issues with damp.
Prevents rain water cascading from the roof – Even a light shower of rain can cause enough rain water to drip down on you from a roof that has no guttering, annoying when you are standing there in the process of unlocking or locking your door.
Good for the environment – the collection of rain water via a system of guttering and down pipes can help the environment if the water is diverted to a water butt for use on the garden. This is particularly useful in times of drought.
Types of guttering
Rain water collection systems, including guttering, down pipes and various accessories, such as brackets, hoppers and leaf guards, are available in a range of materials. The most common materials used in the UK are plastic, cast iron, steel, aluminium and GRP.
Guttering is available in the following shapes:
- Square gutters, also known as box gutters
- Half round gutters
- Hi-cap gutters – generally used for structures with large roofs that will have a heavier flow of rain water, such as commercial buildings
- Mini-flo gutters – these smaller, scaled down versions of guttering are designed for sheds and garages, they are also popular with garden room owners as they are more discreet than their larger counterparts.
- Other shapes of guttering are available if a more ornate style is required.
How to deal with the rain water from your garden room roof
You have a few choices regarding what to do with the rain water from your garden room roof once it has been successfully channelled along your guttering and down your down pipes.
Use a soakaway system
A soakaway system is basically a hole that is dug in your garden and filled with gravel, this allows the rain water from your garden room roof to be directed from the gutters, down the down pipes then through pipes to soak easily into the ground. It is important that your soakaway is sited away from the foundation of your garden room structure.
Connect to a water butt
This is the easiest and most environmentally friendly way to deal with the rain water that runs off your garden room roof, you simply position the rain water butt close to your garden room and connect the down pipe to it, allowing the water to flow from the gutters, down the down pipe and into the water butt. If you find that your water butt is over flowing during extended periods of heavy rain, you can simply buy another and connect it on the other side of your garden room. A water butt is an inexpensive solution to dealing with the rain water from your garden room roof, the stored water will also be very useful for watering your plants during the summer months.
Direct the rain water to a surface water drain
You may be able to direct the rain water from your garden room roof to a surface water drain, if available, but you should check with your local authority before going ahead.
Maintenance of your guttering system
Regular maintenance of your guttering system is crucial as gutters can easily become blocked by debris, this can cause rain water to back up and overflow, potentially leading to water ingress or damp issues in your garden room. It is a simple matter to check your guttering for fallen leaves and clear any accumulated material before windblown seeds begin to take root, spending a little time each year to check your gutters will save you both time and money in the long term.