Refurbishing gutters with liquids:
Many of the UK’s industrial,
commercial and historic
buildings feature metal or
concrete gutters which over time
can begin to deteriorate.
Metal gutters can be aluminium, cast iron or
fabricated from galvanised steel with bolted joints.
As highlighted by the Metal Gutter Manufacturers
Association (MGMA), all building products
have a life expectancy and in older installations,
corrosion of the gutter steel substrate can occur as
well as leaks around the joints.
Concrete gutters could be precast lengths or
sectional such as Finlock. These often feature
on historic properties so the joints and lining
can be susceptible to deterioration.
If these issues are not resolved, this risks
damage to the rest of the roof. To avoid this
and further costs for the building owner,
replacing the guttering is often considered the
best option, but this is not always necessary.
In many cases, liquids can be used
to quickly and cost-effectively refurbish
guttering, providing a bespoke fitting, jointfree
lining, ensuring it remains watertight
for at least another decade. Key to this is
selecting the most appropriate liquid-applied
waterproofing product or system.
If the gutter is structurally sound, but damaged
or leaking, and a long-term solution is
required, then contractors should consider a
high-performance liquid system.
These products are available as
complete systems incorporating a base coat,
reinforcement layer and top coat, or installed
wet-on-wet in a single process.
This technology provides a full and
seamless waterproofing layer, which could be
guaranteed for at least ten years.
Benefits of liquid-applied waterproofing
Reinforced liquid systems should be applied by
manufacturer-approved contractors and offers
The product is formed on-site and fully
bonds to the existing gutter to provide a
seamless waterproof membrane without
the need for mechanical fixings or separate
bespoke accessories, such as flashing pieces or
As the membrane is elastomeric, it can
accommodate thermal movement very
effectively, reducing the risk of stresses on the
fixings which could cause the guttering to fail
in the future. Furthermore, lighter coloured
068 MAY 2018 RCIMAG.COM
what to consider
Sarah Spink, chief executive of the Liquid Roofing and Waterproofing Association (LRWA), explains how liquids
can cost-effectively waterproof gutters and the pros and cons of different products
topcoats are available to help reflect heat and
minimise potential issues associated with
Another benefit is that the installation
process for liquid systems can be quick and
simple. The products are designed to develop
early water-resistance during installation to
reduce the risk of bad weather delaying the
process. As they are cold-applied, there is also
no need for electrical or heat-related equipment.
When to use repair liquids
If the joints are leaking but the gutter’s surface
hasn’t deteriorated, repair liquids can provide
an alternative solution. Generally, these are
acrylic resin-based products which can be
applied with a single coat. Available through
distributors, these are relatively low-cost.
Contractors must ensure they adhere to the
manufacturer’s advice regarding preparing and
applying these types of products to ensure they
As with all installations, attention to detail
and suitable preparation is key, including
ensuring the gutter is completely clean and
free from any debris so that the liquid can
bond effectively to the gutter.
Do your homework
Liquid installed linings offer very effective
solutions for gutter refurbishment, preventing
the need for costly replacement, but
contractors must do their research. They
should take the time to check the suitability
of a liquid product or system, taking into
account the materials on the wider roof, the
extent of the guttering’s damage and future
Importantly, the specification mustn’t be
swayed by the purchase price as this is likely
to result in a short-term fix which long-term,
could create further problems for the end-user.
With more liquid products emerging onto
the market, it’s important for contractors
to make the right choices from product to
application. It’s advisable to seek out reputable
suppliers and manufacturers to ensure quality
standards are met and the gutter and fabric can
be protected for the long-term.
There is plenty of advice and guidance
available from trade associations like the LRWA
to help protect contractors from potentially
choosing and installing a substandard product.
Exercising due diligence when assessing
liquids combined with professional
workmanship will enable gutters to be
effectively restored, preventing leaks for many
more years to come.
“Exercising due diligence when
assessing liquids combined
with professional workmanship
will enable gutters to be
effectively restored, preventing
leaks for many more
years to come”