How to repair and replace leaking gutters

July 27, 2015

If you have a gutter that's leaking or drooping, and needs to be repaired or replaced, the advice here should help you out.

How to repair and replace leaking gutters

Quickly repair a leak at the seam

  • If a gutter is leaking at a seam, an endcap or a corner joint, apply gutter caulk to the leaking area, and smooth it with a putty knife so that water can still flow easily.
  • If the parts have started to come apart, disassemble them, apply gutter caulk and reassemble (you may need to remove and reinstall screws).
  • If a gutter leaks at several points in in the middle, that may signal that rust has started to eat up the entire gutter system and that a total replacement will soon be necessary.
  • If the problem seems localized, or if your gutters are made of a non-rusting material, it makes sense to patch.

How to fix a leaking gutter

  1. Remove any leaves or accumulated grit from the leaking gutter. Wipe the area of the leak dry. Scrape away peeling paint and rust, using a wire brush, scraper and sandpaper.
  2. Purchase a small roll of fibreglass platerboard joint tape at a hardware store or home centre. Cut a piece and position it to cover the crack or gole with two to five centimetres (one to two inches) to spare at each end.
  3. Using a paint stir-stick or putty knife, apply a coat of roofing cement. Smooth it carefully, compeltely covering the mesh. Smooth any excess roofing cement on the underside of the gutter.

Supporting droopy gutters

  • Make sure that all hangers are firmly anchored and attached to the gutter sections. For gutters with spike-and-sleeve supports, make sure the spikes are firmly nailed into the fascia board. If the fascia board is rotted, have it replaced by a carpenter.
  • Temporarily solve the problem by installing a strap hanger. If a strap hanger has come loose, reset it by carefully lifting up the shingle and driving a roofing nail in. If you find that the wood underneath is rotted, call in a roofer or a carpenter for repairs.

Choosing replacement gutters

If you have to replace gutters or downspouts, you will find a variety of types and styles from which to choose.

  • Steel: Available with enamel or galvanized finishes, steel gutters require periodic painting to prevent rust.
  • Aluminum: Though not as strong as steel, aluminum is easier to handle and is rust-proof. Seamless aluminum gutters, manufactured on the spot by professionals with special equipment, have no joints except at corners, giving them a clean look and eliminating many potential leak points.
  • Vinyl: Very durable, vinyl gutters often carry a lifetime warranty. Though resistant to dents, vinyl gutters fade over time, giving them a worn appearance. They can be painted with high-quality latex paint.
  • Copper: Very expensive, copper gutters are used primarily in restoration projects. Copper joints are soldered and need periodic resoldering. Copper is corrosion-resistant, and it oxidizes to a pleasant soft green.

Leaking gutters can turn into a big problem if not repaired or replaced immediately. Consider these tips and solve simple leaks yourself, or call in service for bigger problems.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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