Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fixing the gutters

As I alluded to in my previous blogs, I've had a significant change in life with a move for the whole family to Adelaide so I can take up a new job. All the demands of a new job has meant that I haven’t been able to find time to update carriage restoration work. In fact, there hasn’t been much time or opportunity to actually do anything of late but, on the drive across from Sydney, we did manage to spend a couple of days at Wellington doing some work. This was an opportunity to fix up the gutters which, as you will see, were in need of some attention. 

One of the first jobs I completed when I got the carriage back in 2005 was to put a waterproof membrane across the whole roof to protect it from further damage. Originally there were two layers of canvas that had been soaked in paint and linseed oil covering the timbers but, by the time I got to it, this roof had not been maintained for well over a decade. The top layer of canvas had mostly flaked off and the second layer had broken through in places to reveal the timber underneath.
First I scraped the whole roof removing loose and flaky canvas then applied a special primer that the membrane would stick to. I chose a product called Emerclad which was like a thick paint. For joints and cracks I applied a special bandage soaked in Emerclad to maintain the continuity of the membrane across the gap. This extended down into the gutters that run the length of both sides running the bandage across the bottom of the gutter and up the outside.

This system has received no further attention from me for the last five years but on a recent visit Mick Saffioti pointed out that there was something wrong with the gutters and water was getting through. I got up and checked and, sure enough there was a problem.

The gutters before my attention
Looking along the length of the carriage you can see that the membrane is still good, holding water along most of its’ length. The problem is that the outer edge of the membrane has separated from the wooden gutter and water was able to get into the gap.

In close up the membrane can be seen as still capable of holding water but it has separated from the wooden gutter along the edge.
Looking across the roof the Emerclad membrane was mostly in good nick but there was some cracking that would require patching while I was up the ladder fixing the gutters.

Cracking across the roof
After a day and a half up and down ladders with all the paints, primers, bandages and tools, I was exhausted but the job was done! This time I extended the bandage and membrane up and over the outer lip of the gutter so that, even if it does separate again, water won’t be able to get in quite so readily. I managed to get some patching done as well elsewhere on the roof but I really need to completely recoat the roof next time I’m out there. I guess that roof maintenance is something I need to pay a bit more attention to in the future!

The new gutter