I’m a building expert – a £10 item can help prevent damp and mould in your home
IF you’ve noticed mould growing inside your house, a blocked gutter outside may be part of the problem.
If debris has built up, water could be running down the side of your home and coming through the wall.
Clogged gutters can damage your walls by causing seeping damp.
Worrying figures from Utilita Energy show more than a fifth of homes suffer from damp.
If left untreated, you could end up with mould on your walls or ceilings.
You might first notice it when you spy unsightly black, white or green patches, along with a musty smell.
While mould may not only cause havoc in your home, it can also be harmful to your health.
If your gutters are one of the culprits, the good news is, there’s a simple ‘fix’ you can buy, costing less than a tenner.
This is according to former builder, Clive Holland, now a broadcaster on Fix Radio, a station for tradespeople.
He told The Sun: “Your gutters redirect rain away from your roof and foundations to prevent water damage.
But if they become blocked by wet debris, they may not be working properly. “
As the rain won’t have anywhere to go, it can overflow and go under your tiles.
“This can cause damp in your home,” said Clive.
“By reducing the build-up of dirt and grime, you can help prevent the formation of mould.
“One cheap and easy way to do this is with a gutter guard.”
Keep your gutters clear
When it comes to your gutters, it’s really important to keep them clean and unclogged.
Clive said: “If you don’t have a guard or similar product in place, leaves and other items can fall in, causing the water to overflow.
“And it doesn’t just overflow, but also puts stress on the gutter due to the weight.”
This can result in the guttering being pulled away from your house, and, in the most serious cases, could inflict damage to your roof.
But this is where a gutter guard can come to the rescue.
Clive added: “One of these can stop this weight of water from building up, by blocking any debris.”
Invest in protection for your gutter
You should be able to pick up a gutter guard relatively cheaply.
At Amazon, you can get two rolls of gutter mesh for £8.79, while at Screwfix, you can find a 10-pack of Floplast gutter guards for £9.99.
But always shop around to get the best deal.
These products don’t restrict the flow of rainwater in any way, but simply prevent blockage from leaves and other items.
Clive said: “Gutter guards are a great way to help you protect your home from the elements.
“You should be able to buy what you need for under a tenner.”
Once you’ve made your purchases, spend time installing them correctly.
“Begin by cleaning your gutter out,” said the builder.
“Lay the mesh down and use the pegs to hold it in place. If you’ve bought guards, these will often clip together without you needing screws.”
As an alternative, Clive suggests looking at a ‘hedgehog gutter brush.’
On Amazon, you can find a four-metre hedgehog gutter brush guard system for £14.68, for example, but remember to shop around.
Clive said: “This is a little more expensive than mesh or gutter guards, but is very hard-wearing.
“You lay it inside the gutter and it will only ever accept water, with anything else being kept away.
“This system will work irrespective of whether you have newer gutters made of plastic, or the old-style guttering.”
Prevent your downpipe outlet from getting blocked
As well as investing in gutter guards, Clive also recommends getting a product known as a ‘birds nest’ or ‘balloon.’
The property whizz said: “This is a plastic insert which you put into the downspout, the part of the guttering where the water disperses.
“A birds nest or balloon device allows the water to pass through, but not the debris.
“If you have any green mould or debris flowing, it will stop that.”
At Amazon, you can get a four-pack of fine mesh ‘birds nest-style’ downpipe filters for £9.29.
At Screwfix, you can pick up a Floplast balloon leaf guard for just £2.49, but always check prices elsewhere.
Clive added: “I would definitely buy one of these products, as it’s a cheap solution.”
Reduce the risk of mould and damp
By taking just a few small steps with your gutters, you can help to prevent harm to your home, and also to your health.
Clive said: “Damp can cause quite a lot of grief. If it gets into your property, it can damage your belongings.
“Mould can also cause a whole host of allergies and irritants. That’s why keeping gutters unclogged is so important, as it can help minimise both damp and mould.”
Gutter guards should be relatively easy to install.
Clive added: “In some cases, it can be a little tricky accessing the gutters on a house, so you need to approach the job carefully.
“But in most cases, you should be able to fit them yourself.”
As an added upside, once you’ve got them in place, you won’t have to clear your gutters quite so frequently, or pay out to get damaged repaired, saving you both time and money.
Check your roof
While you’re focusing on your guttering, this could be a good time to give your roof the once-over, too, as a broken or missing tile can often result in a leak.
If left unresolved, this could also cause mould and damp.
You should be able to spot if there are any issues just by walking around your home and looking up at your roof.
If any tiles are cracked or missing, ask a local trusted tradesperson to inspect them and fix any problems.
To find a trader you can try sites like Ratedpeople.com or Checkatrade.com.
Always get a couple of quotes so you can compare costs, and you can check reviews to make sure you’re using a reputable tradesperson too.
The cost of fixing roof tiles will vary depending on the size and severity.
Checkatrade puts the average cost of replacing five tiles that are easy to get at £170, as long as it’s easy to get to without scaffolding.
Getting the issue fixed sooner can mean you avoid it getting worse which could end up costing you more.