Thursday, 10 April 2014

a tale of two gutters

Occasionally my adoring fans approach me in the street and say "Michael, can you help me?"  Usually I can send them away with helpful notes on how to turn an old cardigan into a lovely espaliered rose bush, but every now and then a request comes in which I need to answer in full. Like the tale of S, who yearns to understand what gutters we have chosen and why.
The roof deck framing.  The box gutter is the dark strip
between two of the joists

Well S, the two basic gutter types are an exposed eaves gutter, and a concealed box gutter. The eaves gutter is simpler, and leads the rain water along an external edge of the building. If the gutter blocks up, then water simply overflows the gutter into the ground. Builders and home owners love it.  Easy to maintain, cheap to replace.

The box gutter on the other hand is used when the gutter can't be exposed. Particularly when you have a wall which continues up past the roof as a parapet, it's difficult to run a gutter outside the building.  So the water is directed inside the building, not outside.  Difficult to build, tricky to see if there is a blockage, and a pain to maintain.  But visually clean.  Architects love them.

The eaves gutter, recessed into the facade.
For the deck we had to use a box gutter, and water will be directed back into the house and then to the rain water tanks. Something will go wrong and one day we'll have an explosion of water inside the house when the system gets blocked.  But in the meantime?  Visually. Clean. Designed. Sexy.

For the remainder of the roofs we have bowed to the financial pressure and used eaves gutters. We spent countless hours trying to work out a way to make them all recessed, concealed, or invisible. This was achieved only on the main building gutter, where we have recessed it into the line of the facade, but still outside the waterproofing line.

For me , this is the ultimate solution. The simplicity of maintenance, coupled with the simplicity of visual line.

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