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Sealing Concrete Gutters

Updated on January 20, 2012

Concrete Finlock Gutters - The Worst Design Ever

Concrete Finlock gutters look dreadful, are poorly designed and frequently suffer from catastrophic leaks which can (and often do) lead to severe damp problems. They are despised throughout the United Kingdom by both home-owners and even roofing contractors.

This gutter system typically consists of blocks which are placed next to each other, the inside is then sealed with a waterproof liquid or membrane.

Update: This page has some info on popular gutter cleaning tools.

Why was this inferior product installed on so many homes?

Concrete gutters were never popular and certainly weren't a first choice of either architect or builder. They were designed during the second world war when other materials (such as cast iron) were in short supply as they being used for tank and aircraft production. Concrete was an alternative, it was cheap and the blocks were easy to construct en mass.

Here is the problem with concrete gutters:

They are heavy, really heavy. That weight can easily be supported by external walls but not by traditional window frames. The guttering sags, and it will continue to sag for as long as they are installed on a property. This causes the following problems:

  • leaks
  • Water collects in the gutter rather than flowing out
  • Re sealing is only a short term solution, as the gutter sags more it will crack the sealant again
  • Almost impossible to re set them to their original position


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How to repair a concrete gutter leak:

There are a few options, of course your budget will be a primary factor when choosing which product or method:

  1. Cut them off. Yes it is possible to remove the blocks and replace them with fascia, soffit and traditional gutters.
  2. Re seal them with a liquid. A short term solution that will need to be repeated again and again. This is by far the cheapest option and suitable for DIY or emergencies.
  3. Install an aluminium liner. These liners sit inside the gutter and work as a permanent layer. Water will never come into contact with the concrete blocks again.
  4. Rubber Liner. These are very similar to the aluminium liner. They are however, much more flexible and in my opinion easier to install.

Known issues with liners:

If your property is a semi detached or terraced house then it is best to have all the gutters relined in one go. Otherwise you will need to seal a joint - as I pointed out earlier, sealants are a short term solution at best. Spending a fortune on an expensive liner and sealing it to the neighbours gutter with a sealant is a big no-no. It will leak on that joint, it is just a case of when.

The whole point of using a liner is to avoid sealants.

But...

If you are thinking "well that's easy to say but my neighbour is never going to pay for that" then please refer to the first paragraph on this page:

Concrete Finlock gutters look dreadful, are poorly designed and frequently suffer from catastrophic leaks which can (and often do) lead to severe damp problems. They are despised throughout the United Kingdom by both home-owners and even roofing contractors.



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