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A roofline is the shape, contour, style or outline of your homes roof.

Your roofline is the point where the walls of your house meet the roof. It is one of the most vulnerable parts of a building because it is exposed to attack from wind and rain. Problems with your roofline can go unnoticed, that is until it causes a serious problem. When water is trapped it finds the easiest route, which will be between your cavity wall and into your home. If water is allowed to enter it can result is saturated insulation that no longer keeps you warm and will therefore increase your utility bills.

If this damp continues you run a high risk of cracks in your external wall finish, rotting the framework that provides the structural strength across the top of your windows and also damaging the bottom external sills. The damp could spread to your internal walls and damage your floors, walls, wall support, electrics, and anything in your home. Dampness doesn’t only effect material things it can also have consequences to your health. Damp can cause fungus to grow that gives of spores that can lead to a number of health risks such as asthma. Rot will also start to form in your loft and will eventually show up as either wet or dry rot depending on the ventilation within your loft, in extreme cases of neglect your roof could collapse. You can check to see if your roofline needs replacing by any deterioration of your existing soffits and fascias that exists. Flaking paint or rotting timber will also be present and something to look out for.

Many people are choosing PVC rooflines as they don’t require as much maintenance when compared to timber. PVC is durable and wont rot like timber or rust like iron. You will be able to choose your PVC roofline in a variety of colours so you can match it to your windows or to the look and style of your home. A timber roofline will need sanding down, priming and repainting probably once every five years to keep it looking good and to prevent the wood from rotting. Wood is a very porous material and once water has breached the outer layer, it is only a matter of when, not if, it will need to be replaced. Damp timber also paves the way for woodworm and structural damage. However, timber has its advantages too. It can be erected at speed and has more precise alignments. Due to the way it is constructed leaves larger spaces between the frame, which enables greater flexibility in placing and re-locating windows and doors during and after construction.

 

Fascias

The fascia covers the roof rafter ends, and extends down past the soffit that conceals the rafters from the bottom. The fascia prevents water from getting to the soffit by extending below it, and providing a drip edge. A fascia is also used to secure a home’s guttering. Fascias can offer long- lasting protection against the weather, prevent birds and bats getting into the eaves and provide effective insulation.

Should I choose a wooden or plastic fascia?

Plastic fascias won’t rot and warp in the way wood does, they are durable against harsh weather elements and is long– lasting. It is still important to regularly check your fascias for any signs of damage. Any signs of warping, cracking or loose fixings can let moisture into the brickwork or roof timbers, leading to dampness and even structural damage. They will need to be kept clean in order to prevent cracking. Wooden fascias will often need painting, and due to the tricky nature of accessing the fascias, a professional will probably need to be hired. Plastic fascias will not need painting, saving you money in the long run.

Wooden fascias look great. So if style is important to you, then wooden fascias will fit the brief.

Whether you decide on plastic or wood, installing and maintaining your fascias is extremely important. Damp can cause severe damage to your home’s structure, not to mention the problems it can leave inside.

Soffits

A soffit is the covering between the wall of your home and the outer edge of the roof.

The soffit is more vulnerable to weather damage than any other part of your house. Wet material rots, and the underside can be repeatedly soaked by rain water reaching the area due to poorly constructed or unmaintained guttering. Squirrels and birds can also damage a soffit if they find a way to enter between the soffit and the eave.

How can I tell if my soffit is damaged?

Make sure you keep an eye out for any peeling paint, rotten or soggy wood or mould. If any of these are present in and around your soffit then it is highly likely that moisture is present and the soffit will need to be repaired before any further damage is done.

Get rid of any nests. Damage may only be visible once these nests are removed. If you leave the nests animals may chew the soffit area and eventually gain entry into your home. This also makes the area vulnerable to further damage from weather exposure.

Fortunately, it is quite easy to repair a damaged soffit. Hiring a contractor to regularly repair any damages to your soffit will help to prevent any further damage. It is far better to keep it maintained than needing major repairs later down the line.

 

Guttering

We appreciate that guttering isn’t the most exciting thing you can buy for your home. It can be expensive to install and sometimes isn’t the most attractive. However, it serves as a crucial element to your home. Keeping the ground dry around any structure is important. Wet dirt surrounding the foundation can lead to severe structural problems. Gutters help control this problem by taking any excess rain water that falls on the roof and draining it away from the home.

So what other benefits are there to having guttering installed?

We know that guttering successfully drains rain water away from the home. If guttering isn’t installed rain water will easily cascade down from the roof. If you happen to be walking in or out of your home without any guttering above, you may feel a bit wetter than just having some rain fall on you! Even a light rainfall can create a sheet of water that runs off the edge of the roof.

Water falling from the edge of a roof can splash dirt on the lower part of the exterior walls as it strikes the ground. It can harm flowers and/ or delicate shrubs.

If your home has no guttering it is more likely to result in wood rot on the fascia and soffit because the water is not being drained away and flows into any cracks in the exterior paint work. When water is trapped it finds the easiest route, which will be between your cavity wall and into your home. If water is allowed to enter it can result is saturated insulation that no longer keeps you warm and will therefore increase your utility bills. If this damp continues you run a high risk of cracks in your external wall finish, rotting the framework that provides the structural strength across the top of your windows and also damaging the bottom external sills. The damp could spread to your internal walls and damage your floors, walls, wall support, electrics, and anything in your home. Dampness doesn’t only effect material things it can also have consequences to your health. Damp can cause fungus to grow that gives of spores that can lead to a number of health risks such as asthma. Rot will also start to form in your loft and will eventually show up as either wet or dry rot depending on the ventilation within your loft, in extreme cases of neglect your roof could collapse.

If water is consistently allowed to fall on to your lawn, driveway or patio area, it can cause ponding. This may also lead to muddy soil and damaged grass.

It is important that water flows away from the home as if it doesn’t it can cause your cellar to retain more moisture. Over time this can result in cracks in the walls and eventually cause your cellar or downstairs room to flood. Even if you don’t have any cracks in the exterior walls, water that is constantly in one area will eventually penetrate the wall or will work its way under your home’s foundation and cause this part to separate from your home.

Guttering is an extremely important aspect and will keep excess rain water flowing away from your home and not in to it. Water can cause severe damage to your home and it is always best to install the appropriate materials in order to protect yourself before anything happens.

Downpipes

Down pipes protect the foundations of your home by channelling rainwater away from the base and safely draining it away. Excess rain water will flow down your roof and in to the gutters, the down pipes will then successfully drain the water away from your home preventing any structural damage.

Down pipes can become blocked due to heavy rain fall and overflowing from the guttering. It is important you unblock your down pipe as if this is left water will not be able to drain away from your home, which could lead to a number of problems. Straight down pipes are less likely to become blocked than swan- necked pipes, so if you do have a curved pipe then make sure you regularly check it.

How can I tell if my down pipe is blocked?

An obvious indication that your down pipe is blocked is water seeping during heavy rain from one of the joints. This will enable you to tell where the blockage is; it is in the section immediately below the leaking joint.

Do you know what is causing the blockage?

Before you start taking your down pipe completely apart and then trying to re-build it, just check to see what is causing the blockage. It could be a ball, a bird's nest or some other object that you can simply lift out, which will save a lot of time and effort! The most likely obstruction will probably be leaves that have blown into the pipe, which have become lodged.

If there is a blockage near the top you may be able to loosen it with a length of wire or a stick. Remember to cover the drain at the bottom of the pipe to prevent any debris from falling. If you cannot hook the blockage out, try to flush it out by pouring water down the pipe. If the blockage is further down, you can hire a flexible rod to try and clear it. A last resort would be to dismantle the lower part of the down pipe to remove the obstruction.

How do you remove sections of the down pipe?

First remove the screws that hold the pipe clips into place. Always work from the bottom upwards. As the clips are removed, take each section of the pipe away from the wall. Remove the blockage and then start replacing the down pipe and screwing them back into position. You can try and avoid future blockages by adding a wire or plastic cover on the top of your down pipe.

If you notice that your down pipe is coming away from the wall, then make sure you successfully secure it back into position. If the pipe is not firmly held, it vibrates in strong winds, and this can loosen its joints.

Down pipes are an important part of your drainage system, so it is highly recommended that you maintain them by removing any blockages that may occur and making sure they remain secure. If your down pipes do not keep water flowing away from your home, it can lead to serious problems.

Bargeboards

Barge boards are fixed to the gable end of the roof to protect the roof rafters. The barge boards are mounted right along the roofline, obscuring the structural details of the roof and adding a decorative style. Barge boards do not provide any structural stability to the home, they are added after the home or roof has been built in order to provide a sense of character. They can be painted the same as your existing trim or in any colour depending on the look you want your house to have. Barge boards can also be highly ornamental or have a gothic feel to them, adding personality to your home.

Although barge boards are classically from wooden planks or carved wood, other materials can be used as well. Some barge boards are made from composite materials because they are cheaper and sometimes sturdier. Plastics, plasters, or decorative metal strips can also be used.

Cladding

Cladding is used for a number of reasons. It can instantly alter the appearance of your home or be used to provide additional weatherproofing and ventilation.

If you have recently bought a house or simply own a home that requires updating or modernising, then cladding is a great and low cost way of updating your home’s exterior design. Cladding allows you to effectively build entirely new exterior walls, at a fairly low cost. Cladding is also a popular choice inside the home too, as it provides a cheaper alternative to tiling walls and ceilings and is extremely useful in wet rooms. You can match the cladding to your interior design. For example, if you are constructing an eco- home, you can have wooden cladding installed instead of tiles in order to keep the look and style you desire. Cladding is also easy to keep clean and is an hygienic alternative.

If you require extra weatherproofing and ventilation then cladding is a great way of achieving this at a relatively low cost. External cladding will provide an extra layer of protection from the weather and the temperatures that us Brits are accustomed to. This extra protection helps to prevent warping, damp and deterioration. When building external cladding, a ventilated cavity is normally installed. This allows moisture to be drawn away from the home and allowing any left over water to drain out the bottom of the cavity.

If you are considering an extension or conversion then cladding is the ideal way of making sure your new building works matches your existing home.

What types of cladding material can I choose from?

There are many different types of cladding available to you. One of the most cost- effective forms of cladding is PVCu, which come in a variety of colours. Although PVCu is easy to maintain, it will often discolour over time. This type of material is perfect for the interior kitchen or bathroom, as it is easy to keep clean, requires little maintaining and is hygienic.

Softwood cladding such as spruce and pine is another low- cost cladding material. Unfortunately, softwood cladding will need regular maintenance in the form of preservative treatments and painting, and over time will probably work out to be more expensive than some hardwoods. However, if you are doing up a property in order to sell then this material is ideal.

If price isn’t much of a concern and you plan on living in your home forever then timber cladding such as oak and chestnut are perfect. They endure the weather well and after a long time of facing the elements they will weather to an attractive silver colour. Wood cladding can require some maintenance, so this is something to consider before choosing it.

Stone cladding is a naturally durable, long lasting material, which looks great and will create a natural style and elegance to your home, especially on older or restored homes. It can be an expensive initial outlay but one that will be worth the investment. You could also try to find reclaimed stones in order to cut down costs.

Metal cladding is either made from steel or aluminium and is coated in order to protect it. It is available in a range of colours and different looks such as sleek flat panels or corrugated designs can be easily achieved. It also requires very low maintenance.

Concrete cladding is also now available and comes in panel or tile form. It creates a real modern look and can also be designed to resemble stone cladding but without the cost. Concrete cladding is very strong and durable, and provides great insulation.

Cladding is a great way of changing your home’s appearance at a relatively low cost. There are many different cladding options to suit any need, style and design. A professional will help you to choose the right material for you and your home, and advice you on price and time frames.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

You should check your roofline regularly because if left unchecked it could lead to water entering through the cavity wall at eaves level, which will result in dampness in the home. If your roofline needs replacing you will notice a deterioration of your existing soffits and fascias. Flaking paint or rotting timber will also be present.

Although it is possible to fit your own roofline, we recommend you use a professional and reputable company. There are many safety issues when fitting a roofline and experienced fitters will be able to carry out the work without the risk that you may be exposed to.

The bargeboard forms the overhanging gable that protects your brickwork from the elements.

A fascia board closes off your roof space from the different weather elements and protects the ends of the timber rafters that hold up your roof.

A box end is a typical way of finishing off your fascia installation at each end. It’s where the fascia returns to your wall and will usually it will incorporate the bargeboard coming down from the eaves of your gable end.

The soffit is the board that fills in the gap between the fascia board and the wall of your house.

PVC doesn’t need much maintenance when compared to timber. A timber roofline will need sanding down, priming and repainting probably once every five years to keep it looking good and to prevent the wood from rotting. PVC only requires a quick wipe down with a cloth. PVC is considered more durable and easier to recycle. Wood is a very porous material. Once water has breached the outer layer, it is only a matter of when, not if, it will need to be replaced. Damp timber also paves the way for woodworm and structural damage.

Although people tend to be leaning towards PVC rooflines, timber will make your home look great and can be designed to suit you. It can be erected at speed, has more precise alignments, it can be tailored to suit any taste and creativity such as carvings or incorporation of heirloom structures such as barns etc. and the larger spaces between the frames enable greater flexibility in placing and re-locating windows and doors during and after construction.

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