Faulty Downpipe causes Roof to Leak

The building in these photos is a roof in Blackburn South, Melbourne. The owner of this house had us clean the gutters because they were blocked, there is a large gumtree towering over the property from the neighbour’s side. Due to the leaf fall from the large gumtree, almost every downpipe was blocked. Once our gutter cleaners unblocked all the downpipes, another problem that had being laying dormant was awoken.

The red arrow is pointing at the gap in the wall where the water was back flowing. On modern houses it is quite normal to have gaps between the flashing and walls, but a spreader should NEVER be installed above the ridge tiles like this.

The spreader in this photo has been installed in an inappropriate position, we have never actually seen a spreader installed directly above the roof tile ridge quite the same as this. Spreaders should normally be placed further away from the ridge tops. When the water flows through the spreader some of it is also going into the small gap that you see at the bottom of the external wall. Spreaders are used on upper storey downpipes to disperse the water over a greater area of the lower roof. Having a spreader in this position is quite ridiculous, it is a design fault of the plumbers and builders who built this guttering system. Otherwise the concrete roof at this property is very solid and the rest of the guttering system is okay.

The horizontal section of downpipe spreader should be removed. A new section of downpipe being a minimum 50cm length should be re-installed in the opposite direction.

With water coming in through the ceiling during heavy rain, the owner of this property thought they must’ve had broken tiles. They were quite grateful when our gutter cleaners identified this issue, our advice was to ring a plumber and ask them to modify the spreader section of the downpipe. In this case the simplest option is to remove the spreader part at the very bottom and reinstall a 50cm section of downpipe that is pointing in the opposite direction away from the ridge completely.

We don’t carry out plumbing work, but we will gladly diagnose problems like this and give you our recommended solutions. We have cleaned thousands of roof gutter systems, any design faults such as this are very noticeable for our experienced gutter cleaning staff.

Sweeping out a roof channel

We look forward to cleaning your gutters soon, we also install high quality gutter guards. Call (03) 9899-5886