5 Step Guide to Resolving Persistent Leaks: Gutters

This week we move onto Step 2 of our persistent leak help guide by discussing what can contribute to persistent gutter leaks on industrial and commercial buildings.

Whenever a client engages us to assist with investigating and remedying persistent leaks on industrial buildings, we inspect five key areas before conducting deeper root cause analysis. Usually, one of these key areas is the primary source of persistent leaks – Roof Fixings, Gutters, Rooflight/Skylights, Weathering Flashings, and Sheet Laps.

In part one of our guide, we looked at how roof fixings could be the source of persistent leaks – available here.

In part two, we’ll delve into the detail behind why gutters can be a source of persistent leaks on industrial buildings. We will break down the contributing factors and discuss some remedies that you may be able to employ to resolve water ingress associated to industrial gutters.

Clogged gutters are a common source of persistent gutter leaks

5 Step Guide to resolving persistent leaks on industrial roofs when gutters are identified as the root cause.

Gutter Functionality

The purpose of gutters on commercial and industrial buildings is to manage the rainfall that runs off the roof and remove it via internal or external drainage systems away from the main fabric of the building. When gutters perform, they help to prevent erosion of the materials on the roof, protect the exterior of the building framework and help prevent structural damage that can be caused by prolonged water exposure.

Gutter Liner System - Persistent Gutter Leak Prevention

Emergency Works

At Industrial Roofing Scotland, we are well versed on the issues that can arise from industrial gutters. Our team have tried and tested numerous remedies over the years and have first-hand experience of the effects that leaking gutters can have on business premises. We have several go-to remedies that will solve persistent gutter leaks for the long-term. If you’d like us to come and assess your leaking gutters, please get in touch with the team on 01592 372572. In emergency situations, we can also provide temporary fixes, affording clients the time and space to consider any long-term proposal we may offer.

Clogged gutters are a common source of persistent gutter leaks

Keeping industrial and commercial gutters clear will aid overall gutter and drainage performance – regular maintenance is key.

Causes of Persistent Gutter Leaks

When it comes to guttering systems on commercial buildings, there are a few key issues that arise time and time again. Let’s look at just a few of these below:

Poor Maintenance

Poor maintenance of an industrial gutter is the most common culprit for persistent leaks. The gutters on your commercial buildings must remain clear to function properly. Poorly maintained gutters degrade the performance of the rainwater removal system, leading to blockages, overflows, and water penetration.

Drainage Performance

The rainwater drainage system is an important component of any gutter network. The outlets and downpipes are the mechanism which removes the built-up water from the gutter, away from the building. Blocked gutters from debris, animals, nests, vegetation or similar will all have a detrimental impact on the performance of the gutters.


The galvanised steel materials used in the construction of gutters erodes over time when exposed to rainfall or standing water. Typically, galvanised steel can take decades to corrode. However, harsh environments can speed up the corrosion process (even quicker in coastal locations) and once corrosion takes hold, it attacks the gutter, joints, fixings and outlets causing perforations and fractures which in turn allow water to penetrate into buildings.

Building Movement

Settlement, wind load, service load and snow loads will all have a detrimental impact on the performance of a gutter. Shifts in the building loosen the laps or joints of gutters which lead to stresses and fractures all over the network. Thermal fluctuations in temperatures also expand and contract the gutter materials and freeze/thaw cycles exacerbate any weakness in the network.

Poor Installation

Gutters are one of the first components to get installed on industrial buildings, right after the erection of the steel structure. They are often used as walkways which stress and flex the materials used. Poor installation methodologies and structural deformities can also hamper the performance of gutters over the long-term.

Corroded gutters are a common source of persistent gutter leaks

Corrosion of industrial and commercial gutters is a common source of persistent leaks.

The Solutions

There are typically three options when it comes to solving issues related to persistent gutter leaks. You can either repair, refurbish or replace the components of the gutter that are the source of the leaks.

Gutter Replacement

Replacement is the most expensive option. As discussed earlier, gutters are installed early in the construction phase of industrial buildings and therefore require the removal of the building envelope (sheets, fixings, flashings etc.) to be replaced. Try to find an alternative to replacement if you can; if you are in doubt, engage a specialist roofing contractor to inspect your industrial gutters, particularly if you are suffering from persistent leaks or you believe the gutters are beyond repair.

Gutter Repair

Repair can come in many forms, depending on what is failing inside the gutter. A simple repair could be cleaning out the gutters so that the water collected from the roof can flow freely through the network and out through the drainage system. We’d recommend cleaning your industrial gutters at least once a year – don’t underestimate the value in ensuring a robust maintenance plan for your gutters is in place. It can significantly increase the lifespan of your entire building. Other repairs can include resealing gutter joints, gutter paint can also be used to reseal and waterproof failing gutters. Temporary repairs will generally last for around 6 months. If longer term solutions are sought, check out the refurbishment options.

Gutter Refurbishment

In our opinion, refurbishing leaking gutters is the best course of action. This can be achieved in several ways. A gutter coating system could be applied – of which there are several types offering various time-bound resolutions. Bonded membranes can also be used to re-line existing perished gutters. There are also fold out and loose lay systems that replicate the gutter network inside the pre-existing gutters and can offer up to a 25-year material guarantee, so long as a robust maintenance plan is in place.

Gutter coatings are a resolution for persistent gutter leaks
Gutter coatings are a resolution for persistent gutter leaks
Gutter Liner System - Persistent Gutter Leak Prevention
Gutter Liner System - Persistent Gutter Leak Prevention

If you are looking to solve persistent gutter leaks for the long haul – there are some great refurbishment options.

Recommended Solution

Having experienced various forms of gutter leaks over the years and having tried numerous remedies over that time. We highly recommend fitting a loose lay gutter liner system in situations where gutters have deteriorated beyond the point of repair. Installing a liner system can solve water ingress or persistent gutter leaks for the long term. These systems involve laying out a thermoplastic liner, that is sculpted to the shape of the pre-existing gutter. The liner comes pre-made to custom dimensions and is heat welded around the stop ends and outlets to ensure a watertight and seamless finish. Providing a new lease of life for perished and tired metal gutters.

You may have noted a theme to our advice so far, and that is to avoid instant repairs if possible and always look for that long-term solution from the start. Yes, short term fixes can be very useful at stemming water ingress over a short period of time. But, for your own peace of mind, longer term solutions will allow you to move forward with your business, knowing that your leaking gutters are a thing of the past.

If you need help to identify the cause of persistent leaks...

If you are suffering from persistent leaks on your industrial or commercial building, give us a call and we’ll arrange to inspect and remedy those problems, in the short term, but also offering that long-term solution as standard.

Stay tuned for the next part of our next 5 Step Guide where we’ll delve into detail around resolving persistent leaks from industrial rooflights.

Contact us today for an informal chat about your issues or needs. Call 01592 372573 or fill out our online enquiry form, and our team will reach out to discuss your requirements