Property Doctor - Daily Telegraph - Gutters

Question submitted to The Daily Telegraph August 2016

We have a top-floor flat in a block of eight facing south, directly on the sea front. Several lower flats have experienced dampness over the last few years, which is now becoming quite serious. The flats were built with internal steel-lined concrete gutters, which seem to be causing the problem. We have had them relined with felt but this has not solved the issue. Do you know of a solution? We understand that if we add external gutters we would need planning permission and would rather not go down this route. JO, by email

Billy Heyman, Managing Director of BTL Property answers your questions

Like all building materials, internal steel-lined concrete gutters have a life expectancy. I imagine the gutters are beginning to fail on the joints or the steel is simply corroding.
While felt lining is a solution, it is often a temporary one, as the felt joints will wear in time. If the water is ponding in the gutters it will quickly find a way through. EPDM lining of the gutters is a better route to go down. This rubberised material comes in one piece, is malleable, and doesn't require direct heat to bond to the gutters. If fitted by an approved installer, you should be able to get the EPDM guaranteed for 25 years.
The best solution to this problem is to fix the gutters externally, as you have already suggested. You may find that the hassle involved in getting planning permission is worth it, as externally fixed gutters are easily inspected and easily repaired. If they leak, they leak externally.

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