Why should you maintain your gutters?

It is very important to ensure that you have a maintenance plan for your gutters and downpipes. When gutters become blocked they can overflow, which can in turn cause water damage to the building. Debris from gutters can also lead to blockages and problems in underground drainage systems, which can then be expensive and difficult to fix.

The best way to avoid problems with gutters and rainwater systems is regular maintenance, carried out during spring and autumn, when weather permits. This can save hassle and money in the long run, as it’s cheaper to prevent problems than risk paying more for an emergency repair in winter. A whole range of debris can collect in the gutters - leaves, twigs, silt, weeds, moss, lichens and even nesting material. As the gradient on guttering is only slight, even the smallest obstruction can have quite a dramatic effect on water flow to the downpipes.



When working on guttering, safety is paramount. Work on guttering should ideally be carried out from fixed scaffolding.


Using gloves for protection, lift out nesting material, leaves and twigs.


Moss and lichen may be harder to remove, so you may need to scrub gutters with a brush and warm soapy water. Don’t hang onto or lean on the guttering whilst you’re doing this, as it is not designed to support the weight of a person.


Once the gutter is clear of obstructions, check its condition thoroughly. As well as visually checking that brackets are still secure, it is worth ensuring that none of the seals between gutters and fittings have become dislodged, as this may leave gaps, which could lead to leaks. The use of washing up liquid to help lubricate joints is not recommended, as this quickly dries out the seals. It’s always best to use a special silicone-based lubricant (see ‘product features’ below for more details).


Check that gutters are fully inserted to the ‘insert to here’ line marked on all fittings. If they are not, simply unclip and re-insert.


If a piece of gutter or downpipe is cracked or damaged, then it can simply be taken out and replaced without having to replace the whole system


Your gutter system should be installed with a slight slope 1cm per 3.5m of guttering. The bottom of the roof tile and the top edge of the gutter must never be more than 30mm apart.


To ensure that the system is leak-free, an easy test can be carried out. Simply pour a bucket of water into the gutter at the opposite end to the downpipe and check along the length of gutter for any leaks.

Replacing gutter or downpipe

Whilst carrying out maintenance on your gutters, if you find a section of gutter or downpipe that needs replacing, it’s easy to replace just the damaged part of the system.

To ensure a neat fit, always measure the length of gutter or downpipe required to the ‘insert to here’ lines.

Ensure that the pipe ends are cut squarely. Try using a bracket or wrapping a piece of A4 paper around the pipe to act as a cutting guide.

Cut to the correct length, then smooth the cut end with a file. This ensures that the new guttering will not damage the seals when installed.

Insert the gutter or pipe length into the fitting, ensuring the gutter seals are properly lubricated.

Wickes gutter silicone lubricant 50ml


To lubricate dislodged or dried-out seals, we sell specialist silicone lubricant. This allows for an easier and smoother installation when connecting the system together and reduces the annoying judder from the gutter expanding and contracting. It has a shoe-polish style sponge-applicator for easy application.

Don’t be tempted to use washing up liquid as a lubricant on the seals, since it contains salt and will quickly dry out the rubber seals, which may cause leaks.