Ever had one of those moments in life where everything is going to plan, and then something suddenly happens that turns a great time into chaos; and you never saw it coming?
That’s exactly what happened to one of our customers, and it could have so easily been prevented, just like thousands of other unsuspecting Adelaide homeowners.
Here’s how the night unfolded on that wet autumn night.
Ready to party
We had spent weeks planning for my daughter’s 21st birthday party. Her birthday was in April so the chance of a cold, and possibly wet night, was a very real possibility. Unfazed, we decided on an outdoor party under the pergola, that way we could host a large group without any problems. Even if it rained, we were confident that our tarps and trusty patio heater would be more than enough to keep our guests dry, warm and happy.
The big day finally arrived and sure enough, rain was forecast, but we were feeling upbeat and ready to party, and I was quietly confident that the weather wouldn’t bother us in the slightest.
The night was going well. All the guests had arrived and were mingling well, and my daughter was have a great time. We had only just brought out the food when moments later, the skies opened up with a massive downpour.
At least the tarps were holding up against the wind and rain. Everything was fine, or so I thought. Just as I turned around to tell everyone to come up and help themselves to the food, I heard the rushing sound of cascading water behind me. As I shot a glance over my shoulder, I could see that nothing had escaped the violent surge of water. Soggy chips, casserole dishes awash with water, napkins turned to a pile of pulp, and anything in the direct path of the water swept to the ground. As I looked around, I could see stunned faces everywhere with those nearest the table soaked from head to toe. This was definitely never part of the plan.
I took me seconds to work out what had happened – the gutter had collapsed and overflowed in spectacular fashion.
It had been in the back of my mind to do something about the guttering since last winter, but I had just completely forgotten about it over the warmer months, and autumn had gotten off to a relative dry start so there was nothing to spike my memory. If ever there was an ‘if only’ moment, this had to be it.
The not so obvious clues
Last winter, I had noticed that the same section of gutter had overflowed dramatically during heavy rain, but assumed it was just a one off event and nothing to worry about. It also looked like the gutter was sagging a bit, but it was hard to tell for sure as the amount of sag was very subtle.
At the time, I didn’t realise that even just a few degrees of fall in the wrong direction was enough to reverse the flow of water away from the downpipe – a major problem. Or in the case of our rusty, sagging gutters, cause the water to pool at the lowest point, forcing the gutter to fill and collapse under the weight.
The other telltale sign, which I noticed but never thought much about, was a couple of rusty coloured streaks on the wall beneath the gutter, a clue that should have been a dead giveaway that the gutters were leaking.
It wasn’t until the Roofing Technician from Utter Gutters came over and explained that the subtle clues I had seen were actually typical of very advanced gutter problems. As it turned out, the gutters were not only rusted through and leaking, but the Scotia – the narrow strip of wood that supports the gutter – was rotted through after water from the leaking gutters became trapped behind it causing Wood Rot. The rotted Scotia didn’t have the slightest chance of supporting the weight of a gutter full of water.
The disaster we had on my daughter’s birthday now makes perfect sense, and while we can’t unwind that catastrophe, at least the new gutters mean we are all set for flood free, year round partying for a long time to come. Cheers.
If you have any concerns about the condition of your guttering, give us a call on 08 8369 3633 and we will be happy to come out and have a look for you.
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