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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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!
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.