Published: 02/02/2013 by SeamlessGuttersToday.com Article Team
The gutter system is designed to protect the roof and foundation, directing water away from the base of your house. When the system is compromised, water can leak into the home, or pool around the foundation.
While not all gutter issues can be corrected by the homeowner, understanding gutter repair procedures can help you determine when to get up on the ladder and when to call in a professional.
Since most gutters in the U.S. are made from aluminum sections, the most obvious point of failure is the seam where two sections come together. The problem often appears as a slow drip on the underside of the seam, but it can quickly grow to a torrent of water and undermine the entire section of gutter.
Fixing leaky seams requires some gutter sealant, which you can find in most home improvement or hardware stores. Get up on a ladder and clean the area of the seam with soap and water, then rinse and let it dry completely. Apply the sealant liberally to both sides of the seam and smooth it out. Allow it to dry, then test the area by pouring water into the gutter.
Fixing a hole
A hole is significantly more dangerous than a leaky seam, but the repair procedure is fairly similar. First, you'll need a small piece of aluminum, either cut from metal flashing or purchased as part of a gutter repair kit. Completely clean, wash and dry the area, then apply sealant or a patching compound over the hole. Place the aluminum over the compound and cover it with another layer of the compound.
It's important to note that if the hole is larger than a few inches in diameter, it's far better to just replace that section of gutter than to try and repair the hole.
Gutter pulling away from the house or sagging
The gutter is connected to the home's fascia boards by long nails driven through metal brackets. Over time, these nails can pull away from the house, causing your gutter to come away or to start sagging in the area. The first thing to check is the condition of the fascia boards near the problem. If they're rotten, you'll have to remove that section of the gutter and replace the boards.
If the boards are in good shape, you have to either move the bracket slightly and force the nail into a new hole or replace the nail with a long gutter screw, which will keep the gutter tight against the fascia for much longer than the nails will.
Poorly angled gutters
If you see standing water in your gutter after a storm, it means that the gutter system isn't angled properly, a fairly common problem for DIY gutter installations. In order to properly move water, the gutter has to have at least 1/4-inch of decline for every 10 feet of gutter run.
To fix an improperly angled gutter, you'll first have to remove the entire stretch of gutter, from the origination to the downspout. Then, mark a spot where you want the gutter to start on the fascia board with a marker. Go to the other end of the run, where the downspout will go, and mark another spot at least 1/4-inch lower than the original mark for every 10 feet of run. Run a chalk line between these two points. You'll get a perfectly straight line on the fascia board that you can align to the top of your gutter system, ensuring that it keeps the right pitch.