Guttering and downpipes
Guttering collects rainwater from the roof and directs it to downpipes through which it flows into a drain. In the past both downpipes and guttering were made from iron. This has a tendency to rust and requires regular maintenance. Just a small leak from a gutter or a down pipe that has come adrift can divert rainwater to your external walls rather than the drain and over time it will penetrate the brickwork.
Plastic downpipes and gutters began to replace iron in the 1950s, but the plastics used then were not particularly resistant and over time would perish and become brittle, leaving buildings vulnerable. Over recent years these cheap plastics have been superseded by uPVC, which is highly resistant and requires very little maintenance apart from keeping it clean and free flowing.
Fascias and soffits
Damaged fascia and soffits can also result in significant problems. The soffit is the covering that runs from the edge of the roof to the external wall, and its primary purpose is to protect and seal the feet of the roof rafters. Not all buildings have them, but for those that do they are there for a reason. In older properties they are made of wood, which is prone to rot over time, exposing your rafters to possible damage. They can also look unsightly and require regular and expensive maintenance.
Fascias are mounted on the exposed edges of the rafters. Their primary purpose is to protect the roof and interior of your roof from the weather, provide a support for roof tiles at the eves, and to support the guttering. Traditionally made of softwood, once they rot and start to leak the result can be serious and expensive damage. They are also a cosmetic feature, and if not properly maintained can look particularly unsightly.
Modern soffits and fascias are made of uPVC. These require very little maintenance and long lasting; they will protect your roof structure and continue to look good far into the future.