Preparing Your patio for Winter

Patio Maintenance

Autumn is here and with it comes the changing of colour in our trees, cooler weather and possible rain. Autumn also brings about on mass the falling of leaves from trees and this in turn means more work for us.

Of course this is nothing really new for us as most Gum tree’s drop leaves all year or if you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful Jacaranda tree your all too familiar with falling leaves and the mass dropping of purple flowers.

jacaranda falling leaves

Autumn is the time to prepare for the winter months ahead and hopefully lots of rain for us here in Perth. This means cleaning our patios and patio gutters as well as the checking the rest of the house guttering etc.

With our years of experience at Great Aussie Patios we have seen our fair share of neglected patios and guttering not only on the patio itself but also the home. In some cases both a patio and home share the original house gutter which in itself is a problem just waiting to cause you grief. I’ll explain more on this later.

Patio designs and options have changed over the years with more families making the most of outdoor living. With BBQ’s, outdoor kitchens, bars, TV’s and the like there is a lot we would like protected from the weather. However while the inside of the patio is kept looking its best the outside or the top of the patio can be forgotten.

In a previous blog on our Great Aussie Patios website titled “Winter is Coming Clean them Gutters”

We noted that gutters both on the patio and the home are usually neglected by most home owners and become blocked and then they overflow spilling into the patio area or even back into the eaves of the home.

The gutters on your home and your patio become a collection point for all types of debris, from leaves and twigs to kid’s toys and balls. In fact it takes very little to block up a down pipe.

blocked guttering perth

A good experiment that you can try at home is to put a small piece of paper or plastic over part of the drain in your kitchen sink or bathroom basin, turn on the tap slowly at first then gradually open it up to full.

What you will see is while the water can slowly drain away while the amount of water from the tap is minimal once you open up the flow it becomes a bit of a plug and struggles to remove the water until the tap is turned off or slowed down.

Taking note of this small experiment also note that in Perth’s current rainfall in recent years its often been a case of a down pour rather than a sprinkle or steady rain. This sudden heavy rain that is constant albeit briefly at times can be just too much for some down pipes to handle and spilling over from the gutter is common on a patio. This however does not mean the patio is leaking.

heavy rain perth

Now not all overflows or blockages are just a few small leaves over a down pipe pop, you may find that the down pipes themselves are clogged up with twigs and leaves creating another plug in the system that just fills up and spills over into the gutters. Or in some cases I have seen soak wells that struggle to cope with the amount of water and it washes back up either through the down pipe or again all the way back up to the gutters.

As also mentioned in the Winter is Coming blog, if the leaking patio is from an abundance of leaves etc in your gutter, “This is NOT the time to call the patio builder.  It is time to get on the roof and see what is going on.  I would say 90% of call backs we get about leaks are nothing to do with the patio.”

patio gutter full of leaves in perth

This is true in most cases with patio leaks simply a matter of gutters being blocked or it is such a heavy rain that any gutter would struggle to contain the flow.

blocked down pipe

another blocked down pipe

Getting back to a point we made earlier about some homes and patios sharing a gutter. There are only two options when it comes to gutters for your patio.

  1. Kissing gutter
  2. Box gutter

A kissing gutter is simply the patio guttering kissing the leading edge of your house gutter.

A  box gutter is where a patio and the house share a gutter. A box gutter is always wider than a patio gutter and is normally about 200mm wide.

We have seen many examples over the years of old patios sharing the existing house gutter and seen many more examples of owners trying to get rid of the excess water before it spills back into the patio area or the home.

You can only imagine how hard it would be to try and clean out the gutters when both the patio and home are sharing the existing house guttering, it’s near on impossible.

 Any extra water load that you add to your home guttering whether it’s a small amount or not will affect how this excess water is removed. 

In this situation our Great Aussie Patios representatives will provide you with the right advice on guttering and down pipes. It is also where our experienced representatives will look at the patio design, the area the patio will cover and what if any affect this may have on the homes existing guttering and down pipes. We can even point out what to look for or even see if you have had some damage in the past with leaks.

a build up of debris prior to patio install

Our installers to will often speak with home owners when installing a patio to inform them of existing issues  that can be overlooked by the home owner or even show them photos of these so that the owner is aware that this will need to be repaired or even cleaned.

a build up leaves will cause issues later if not cleaned out

While the sun is still out and the days beginning to cool down it’s the perfect time to get a look at your patio gutters and your home. We do not recommend that you get onto the patio roof or the house roof for that matter. Use a good quality ladder and make sure its stable before climbing up to look into the gutters.

If you are going to clean out your own gutter’s we recommend that you wear gardening gloves to gather any leaves or debris form the gutter, an old dustpan brush is good to help move any stubborn leaves from the bottom of the gutter. A bucket hooked onto the ladder so that you can put any rubbish in rather than the ground below. If you are looking to see if the down pipes are blocked up use your garden hose with water running and feed it down the pipe. In some cases this may be a bit hard depending on the down pipe design both on the patio or the home as these may have some degree of bends in them to suit.

If you are not able to do this for yourself then looking for a local handyman or gardener/cleaner should be able to provide this service for you. They may even get up on the roof and use a blower or even a high pressure water gun to clean any debris that has found its way into your guttering.

Winter is not too far away and along with it hopefully some much needed rain, but before it arrives and the gutters get wet and muddy now is the time to Clean Them Gutters.

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