Water is the main agent of decay in historic buildings.

Blocked, cracked or badly designed rainwater goods can allow water into walls and roof timbers of a church building.

The resulting damp encourages timber decay through fungal attack and insect infestation. In the winter months water can penetrate the surface and freeze, causing stone work to crumble.

Gutters at roof level intercept water as it runs off the roof slope of a building.

However, water is not all they have to deal with. In autumn, leaves can block gutters within days, as can stray balls, beer cans, plastic bags and dead pigeons .

Fragments of tiles, slate, fallen stonework and other mineral matter can build up of silt

in parts of the system where water flows slowly.

Plants can then establish themselves in the gutter itself, the Buddleia being a particular problem.

Cast iron gutters and down pipes can corrode.

While plastic ones become brittle and crack, allowing water to escape into the building. Parapet gutters and sumps can also become blocked and must also be checked.

Areas of painted plaster may change colour and look patchy. As the dampness worsens areas of plaster become detached from the underlying masonry.

Signs of damp on a wall will almost certainly relate to the gutters of the roof. In heavy rain, water may be seen to enter through the roof and flow from the top of the walls.

Dampness further down the walls may relate to specific downpipes on the exterior of the walls.  Dampness below two metres may be caused by problems in underground drains.

Maintenance Program

The program will annually:

  • Clean all gutters, eaves and parapets and check all gutters are secure and free from leaks
  • Clean all down pipes and check for leaks
  • Clean out all above ground gulley’s
  • Remove any waste from site
  • Advise of any defects
  • Take photographs of any defects found on the day, as well as photographs of completed work.

The Cost:

Only £295 plus VAT per annum, per church

The program is for the next 3 years and has a guaranteed fixed maintenance price for the duration.