Gutters serve a critical function in channeling water away from your home, but they can develop issues like holes and clogs. These problems can lead to costly repairs later on, so it’s important to perform regular maintenance and inspect your gutters for damage.
Repairing small leaks in your gutters can be done pretty easily. Just make sure to do it when the weather is nice so you can work outside without getting soaked!
1. Clean Your Gutters Regularly
Gutters are critical to your home, channeling rainwater away from the foundation and preventing water damage to walls and the roof. However, gutters can become damaged over time due to age and environmental conditions. Regular cleaning and repair is essential for a safe and functional gutter system. Taking the time to repair and clean your gutters will protect your roof, windows and siding, and even help you save money on energy costs.
Clogged gutters can’t channel water away properly, leading to overflow and water damage to your roof, walls, foundation and landscaping. They can also create pest infestations, such as rodents and mosquitoes, which are known carriers of deadly diseases like the West Nile Virus.
The best way to clean your gutters is to use a ladder with safety equipment. It’s important to wear a hard hat, gloves and work shoes to prevent injuries. A garden hose and a tool box filled with basic tools will also come in handy. It’s best to have a friend help you secure the ladder so you don’t fall off and hurt yourself.
After cleaning your gutters, test them for leaks and sagging. If your gutters are leaking, you can easily fix them by using caulk on any cracks or holes. You can also replace any gutter spikes that are corroded and install fascia hanger brackets to hold the gutters in place. If the gutters are sagging, you can fix it by adding a section of gutter or installing a new downspout. If the gutter is rusted, you can patch holes and cracks with a metal patch that matches the color of your gutter (an aluminum patch for an aluminum gutter). You can also try applying a metal primer to stop future rusting.
2. Repair Cracks in the Gutters
When water can’t flow through your gutters, it can cause damage to the home. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to spot and fix. When water stands still in your gutters, it usually means there’s a clog or separated gutter joint that needs to be fixed. If you notice this, you should begin by removing any debris that’s clogging the gutters and flushing the system with a hose.
Once the gutters are clean, you can then check for any cracks or leaks in them. If you find any, be sure to apply a waterproof sealant to those areas. This can be done with silicone or a special gutter caulking compound. If you choose to use caulking, be sure to warm it up to room temperature so that it spreads easily and is able to adhere properly to the surface of the gutters.
Leaks in gutters can also occur when a section of the gutter is dented or missing a spike. A missing spike isn’t a huge deal, but it can place more of a strain on the other spikes. Ensure that your gutters are secure and have the right slope to drain water away from the house.
Sometimes a whole gutter may need to be replaced because of damage or because it has been sagging for too long. If this is the case, we recommend replacing them with the new style of screw in hidden hangers. These hangers are much more sturdy than older spikes and can be used on any type of gutter. They are also available in a variety of colors so that you can match them to the color of your home.
3. Install Weatherproofing Tape
Every gutter seam needs to be sealed, and high-quality waterproof sealer works well. Choose a product that’s designed for metal gutters and check that it will work with the kind of water you get where you live. It should be runny, which helps it penetrate down into the seams to create a durable, long-lasting bond. If you can, apply the sealer on a warm day when the gutters will be dry for a faster and more even application. Home centers stock a variety of gutter sealing products. Some have a rubber-like texture, while others are more like duct tape in strength and adhesion but with a heavier cloth backing to be resistant to heat.
When a gutter is leaking, rust holes often form. You may be able to save the gutter for a while by applying caulk or paint, but eventually the metal will corrode and you’ll need to replace it. Lightly sanding the rust spots can also preserve a gutter for longer, although it won’t prevent more rust from forming.
Gutter leaks are most commonly caused by rusty spots and loose seams, but you can help prevent them by installing gutter repair tape (available at home centers and hardware stores). To do so, prepare the gutter by scraping off as much old tar or caulk as possible, and wire-brushing the surface to make sure it’s completely clean. Before applying the tape, spray a waterproof primer onto the gutter to give it a better chance of adhering.
Another way to reduce downspout dripping is by adding a length of thin rope to the downspout. The dripping sound won’t stop, but the small drops will cling to the rope rather than plummeting all the way down into the downspout.
4. Fix Loose Gutters
When a gutter is loose it can lead to water overflow and even damage your home’s siding. If you notice your gutters are loose, they should be tightened immediately before they cause further damage. Gutter repair can be done in a few easy steps and it’s a great DIY project for any homeowner.
You can repair a loose gutter by replacing the damaged section with a new piece of gutter. You can also add additional hangers to the gutter to help keep it in place. If you’re going to replace the gutter, choose gutter hangers with screws instead of nails as they will hold up better.
Another common problem with gutters is downspouts that aren’t properly anchored to the gutter. This can cause the water to pool and overflow the downspout, which can then leak down the side of the house. If you’re experiencing this issue, you can use a downspout diverter to help ensure the water is draining away from the house.
It’s also important to check the downspouts for rust and corrosion. You can do this by removing the downspout elbow and cleaning out any debris. You can also apply a metal primer to the downspout to protect it from further rusting.
If you find rust spots on your gutters, you can remove them with a wire brush or sandpaper. You can also buy a rust removal product from your local hardware or home improvement store. You can also clean the rust with steel wool and a wire brush and then re-paint the gutter with a rust resistant paint. It’s important to choose a good quality paint as this will help protect the gutter from future rusting and corrosion.
5. Repair Sagging Gutters
If your gutters are sagging, it’s important to repair them to ensure that rainwater or snow melt drains properly from your roof and doesn’t damage your home’s siding or foundation. You can hire a professional to do this work for you, or you can tackle the job yourself if you’re comfortable on a ladder and have the necessary tools.
The first thing you’ll need to do is clean your gutters to remove any clogs and debris. Then, you’ll need to make sure that your work area is clear of anything that could get in the way of your project, like a pile of leaves. Once your workspace is clear, you can climb the ladder and start working on the problem areas of your gutters.
A common cause of sagging gutters is that they’re not pitched correctly to allow water to flow freely from the roof to the downspout. If this is the case, it’s as simple as readjusting the pitch of the gutter by tightening the screws that connect the hangers to the fascia board.
If the gutter is sagging due to other reasons, you may need to replace the gutter spikes or fascia hanger brackets. You can find these at a hardware store and are relatively inexpensive. Be sure to use a new spike that has metal ferrules, as these will hold better than the old ones.
Another reason for sagging gutters is that the wood fascia boards are starting to rot. In this case, you’ll need to wedge a series of plastic shims between the back of the gutter and the fascia board, forcing them upward to level the gutter out again.