Plastic Gutter

Maintenance free PVC – really?

I live on an estate of houses with much white boarding – soffits, fascias etc. Firms come around offering maintenance-free white PVC. Some firms cover the surfaces of the existing wood soffits with thin plastic boards; others insist it is better to remove the original wood and replace entirely with PVC. Few of us still have the original woodwork which, of course, has the disadvantage of needing repainting at intervals. Which is the best option?

A. ‘Maintenance-free’ PVC-U is something of a myth. It won’t last for ever. It becomes brittle through exposure to sunlight, and discoloured by airborne pollutants. PVC-U must also be fixed using slotted holes to allow for thermal movement. If this is not done then the boards can buckle and split. Fastening PVC-U boards over existing timber is a real bodge job, as it will trap moisture underneath, and the timber will rot. Why do you think there are so many of these firms around touting for work? It’s because they are making a fortune for doing not very much. For the money they charge you could pay to have the woodwork maintained and painted for fifty years.

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