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10 Things Found in Roof Gutters

1. Earthworms

Earthworms should be in the ground, under the soil. So why do so many of them seem to end up in gutters? It’s a perennial mystery, although the theory is that earthworm eggs are dropped onto roofs by birds and insects. And with new earthworms being born every seven days or so, a gutter can play host to a tangle of them within just a few weeks.

2. Birds

Some birds choose to build their nests in guttering, which is an inconvenience for building owners, but nothing can be done during the breeding season. Once the fledglings have flown the nest it needs to be dismantled and removed, to prevent twigs, sticks and debris, which could create ponding water on the roof.

3. Plants

Seeds can be carried by the wind or by birds and insects, finding a home in the general sludge and silt that builds up in most gutters over time, especially if they’re not regularly cleaned out. All manner of plant life can quickly start making its presence felt, with root systems potentially harming the integrity of the roof.

4. Mice

Drainpipes and gutters make perfect highways for mice, rats and even squirrels. Sharp claws – and even sharper teeth – can cause an incredible amount of damage in a short space of time, so speedy removal of persistent rodent pests is essential.

5. Bees

Damp, organic decaying matter is highly attractive to bees, wasps and hornets, and the height of gutters makes them ideal nesting places. Aside from the question of safety for people living and working nearby, the weight of these nests can also be a cause for concern. Particularly large specimens can damage the gutter, and even the actual roof, so swift action from a certified pest controller is the only option.

6. Toys

Footballs, tennis balls and frisbees are all items you’d expect to have made their way up onto roofs and into gutters over the years. But one red-faced contractor was completely lost for words when he came across a toy of a much more adult nature when examining his client’s guttering. Apparently, to spare everyone’s embarrassment, he opted not to return it, choosing instead to quietly dispose of it!

7. TV remote control

Finding a remote control in your gutter is definitely unusual, and almost certain to be the result of a prank or a domestic spat. We can all commiserate with the pain and annoyance of a missing remote, but how many of us would even think to check out the guttering during our search?

8. Shoes

We’ve heard of two separate cases of finding shoes in the gutter, both of the high-heeled variety. One contractor reported finding a lone black stiletto shoe, while someone else found a red version. Why just one shoe? And how did they get up there? We’re still wrestling with that one!

9. Bones

Nobody wants to find bones in their gutters, but it’s something that can happen, particularly near the coast, with seagulls being the obvious culprits. They scour the streets for left-over chicken dinners, depositing the bones high up in the gutters, where they scare unwary roofing contractors into thinking they may have uncovered a crime!

10. Snakes

This isn’t such an issue in the UK but spare a thought for roofing contractors in the US, Australia and more tropical countries. Downpipes and gutters are warm, dark and moist – ideal conditions for snakes of all varieties – and some are highly poisonous. Expert snake handlers are a given in this scenario, making us extremely grateful that it’s a situation we don’t have to face in this country!

 

As a roofing contractor, you’re bound to have found a whole host of strange items in your clients’ roofing systems over the years. It’s always worth reminding your clients to check their roof regularly to reduce the risk of any avoidable damage caused by debris.

Our Giromax® Guttercoat product offers total protection for roof gutters. Easy to apply and designed to coat metal, concrete and asbestos guttering, this product will withstand all weathers and temperatures, including UV rays, and has a 15-year guarantee.

Please speak to the Giromax team if you need advice on products for repairing gutters or roof systems. Call 01455 558969 today or make an enquiry.

Why Maintaining Roof Systems Protects Businesses

Looking for greener solutions

The UK government has announced its plans to reduce emissions from their 1990 levels by 78% within the next fourteen years. And by 2050 the aim is to be three-quarters of the way towards being net carbon zero. Businesses will be required to take a closer look at the way they operate, and the roof has a huge part to play in aiding greener solutions.

For example, solar panels could help to generate power, enabling your clients to offset some of their lighting and heating costs. When combined with other initiatives, such as intelligent lighting systems and recycled packaging, this can significantly reduce your client’s carbon footprint – a fact that helps to seal their environmental credentials. There’s a lot of scope for improving industrial roof systems, and much more than most people realise.

Out of sight shouldn’t be out of mind

Your clients may be trying their best to keep their business afloat in these challenging times. So, it’s reasonable to assume they won’t have the roof earmarked for regular expenditure. It’s important to convince them that, although the roof may be out of sight, it has such a key role to play. Factoring in regular roof inspections helps to keep the business, employees, equipment and stock safe and dry in all weathers; it should never be out of mind.

It may be a hard sell sometimes, but it’s worth taking some time to persuade your clients to consider the facts. Unlike residential roofing, industrial roofing is subject to more than just the extremes of the British climate. What goes on inside the premises also plays a part, with many roof systems subject to chemical exposure and exhaust fumes. And the roof is often used to support ventilation shafts, roof lights and chimneys, all of which have the potential to cause problems over time.

Emphasise to your clients the implications of a roof problem, for example, if left unattended, a minor leak or puncture will escalate over time. The longer it goes unnoticed, the greater the amount of damage will be caused. Failure to take account of a roofing issue could potentially lead to damaged stock and equipment and, at worst, the need for a full roof replacement.

And if your client still isn’t convinced, an assessment of their insurance might just help to swing the balance in your favour. After all, the lack of a regular roof maintenance programme is likely to impact negatively on any insurance claim, with potentially devastating financial implications for a business.

The importance of a roof maintenance programme

As every roofing system has a lifespan, with the help of an effective maintenance programme, this can be extended to its maximum limits. Businesses should be made aware of the need to spot leaks, punctures, weather damage, signs of cut-edge corrosion, ponding water and other problems before they have the chance to develop into major issues.

An annual inspection of the roof is unlikely to be sufficient for many businesses. A minor leak today could have severe consequences a few months later down the line. Once water ingress has become noticeable within the building the damage is likely to be extensive, including the associated costs to put things right. Therefore, it makes economic sense to put a regular roof maintenance programme in place.

Regular inspections of an industrial roof can identify issues long before they have the opportunity to become major problems. Even something as simple as removing debris from gutters twice a year can have a huge impact on future expenses. Blocked drains, loose flashings, early signs of cut-edge corrosion and standing water can be dealt with swiftly, before they have the chance to cause even more damage.

In addition to twice-yearly inspections, we suggest recommending that your clients request a professional inspection of the roof after exceptionally heavy rain and storms. Removing debris as swiftly as possible will limit the damage, including the removal of any organic matter from the roof and gutters to prevent the future growth of algae and plants.

When checking a roof for a client, always advise them of the long-term costs of failing to maintain an adequate roofing system and the impact this could have on their business. An initial outlay of early repairs could lead to less costly maintenance in the long run.

The Giromax team have years of technical expertise to provide you with guidance on roof and gutter repairs. View our product range, call 01455 558969 today or make an enquiry.

Fire Safety and Industrial Roof Systems

What impacts roof fire safety?

Government figures show there were over 4,200 fires in England between 2018 and 2020, where the roof was considered to play a primary role in growth and spread. According to fire service reports, around half of all roof fires are the result of arson.

Hot works are another cause, whether from welding, grinding or other applications of heat, including torch-applied roofing materials. Solar panels and air-conditioning units can be fire hazards too, with electrical arcing being a particular area of concern.

But fire can also spread from elsewhere within industrial buildings with devastating consequences, particularly where a roof or its coatings are made from combustible materials. Faulty electrical wiring is a common cause of fires for commercial premises.

Raising the issue

Fire safety measures tend to focus on compartmentalising areas of a building, but particularly in the case of older industrial buildings, the roof could be overlooked. Many business owners and managers might not consider the implications of roof fire safety, so it’s worthwhile bringing this to their attention.

You might choose to highlight the 2019 fire which destroyed a state-of-the-art Ocado warehouse, resulting in 400 redundancies and costs of well over £100m. Although there were several factors that influenced the progress of the fire, once it had got into the roof it inevitably resulted in total collapse.

Even where the full collapse of a building is avoided, the costs of repair can be crippling. And with numerous industrial roof fires reported every year, there’s clearly room for improvement.

Roof fire safety and the law

The laws concerning fire standards for flat roofs are not clearly defined, although there are increasing calls for the roof to be treated as a ‘fifth wall’. There are many popular terms that imply a degree of protection from fire but may lack meaning in legal terms, such as ‘Fireproof’, ‘fire retardant’, ‘fire safe’ and ‘Class 0’.

Until recently the Building Regulations and Approved Document B had focussed attention primarily on walls, and although some changes have now been introduced there is a general belief that the regulations should go even further. For example, although the external spread of fire is dealt with in part B4 of the Building Regulations, there is no outright ban on the use of combustible material in flat roofs or insulation.

Approved Document B of the Building Regulations is concerned with the evaluation of a roof’s performance when subjected to extreme heat. The highest achievable level is BROOF(T4), but this still fails to take into account the way in which individual components will react to fire. Neither does it indicate how well the roof might perform if exposed to fire from elsewhere in the building, including the implications of smoke production and the emission of toxic gases.

One practical way of getting around this is to check roofing materials for their Euroclass rating, regarding its reaction to exposure by fire. Non-combustible materials will have a rating of either A1 or A2-s3,d2. It’s worth noting that roofing products containing materials with a Euroclass rating as low F can still achieve the highest performance level of BROOF(T4).

This shows that even BROOF(T4) is not sufficient to ensure compliance with the current regulations. And since they specify that any roofing materials over compartment walls must be on a deck or substrate of A2-s3,d2 material at the very least, it’s essential to ensure this is done. One way forward is to advise your clients to get a Declaration of Performance (DoP) certificate from roofing product manufacturers.

When it comes to fire safety, we would recommend advising your clients to check their roofing products and materials do not hinder the legal fire classification of a roof.

Once applied and fully dry, Giromax® coating products are a fire-safe option for industrial roofing systems. BBA Approved and guaranteed for up to 20 years, our range of market-leading coatings are a high-performance choice for a variety of roof and guttering repairs.

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Giromax® Data sheets + Specifications, Girocote Data sheets.