If your gutters have sprung a leak you’ll want to get them repaired as soon as you can. In order to fix a leaking gutter you need to know what the root cause of the problem is.
Gutters should allow any rainwater to flow away freely. If the water is pooling and overflowing from gutter pipes it can saturate the walls below it. This can cause some serious structural damage to your house in the long term. That’s why you should fix a leaking gutter as soon as you can. In order to do that, you need to know what’s causing the problem first.
What causes gutters to leak?
There are lots of things that can cause a gutter to leak. There are three main areas where you are likely to have a leak: the downpipe joint, the gutter joint or along the gutter length.
If there is an obstruction in the downpipe of the gutter itself then you’ll notice overflowing water. This is more than just an annoyance with the dripping or gushing water spilling onto people below. It can be a trip hazard as well as cause structural damage in the long run. You should aim to get your gutters and downpipes cleaned or cleared at least twice a year to avoid blockages.
Dirt and grit can also get stuck in the seal between joints. This happens when pipes contract during cold weather, trapping small debris inside as it shrinks. This creates a small gap for water to escape from, making it doubly important to keep the gutters clean throughout the year.
How gutter wear and tear happens
Gutters will expand and contract throughout the year with the change in the seasons and the weather. If they aren’t cut to the right length then expansion and contraction can expose the seals or not have enough pressure between the seals to seal tightly enough. Most modern guttering systems are made to handle the changes in temperature, but older ones will be subject to serious wear and tear over time.
Even things like snow falling from your roof or sustained weight upon the gutters can cause repetitive damage. A heavy impact from a ladder if you are having roof repairs can do a lot more damage than you think, weakening it before the elements get to it or exacerbating an existing problem. Loose gutters or downpipes may be missing connecting bolts or clips.
Quickly fixing a leaking downpipe or downpipe joint
First, if the water is overflowing from the hopper head at the top you should check to see if there is a blockage in your downpipe. You may be able to use a garden hose to blast out a simple blockage caused by leaves or small debris. To do this, cover the drain the turn on the water, aiming the hose up the pipe. You can also dislodge slightly tougher obstructions using a wire placed into the top of the downpipe. For lower down blockages you can take the section of pipe off and insert a wire or drain rod into that section directly.
For a leaking downpipe joint, first clean the area to remove any dirt, loose paint or rust. You can purchase repair tape to wrap around the joint. Overlap the ends of the length of tape then squeezing tightly to mould the tape to the shape of the joint. Once it’s dried, you can use your garden hose or a bucket of water to flush some water down the pipe to check it is fixed.
Using sealant for cracks and holes in gutters
Roof and gutter sealant might be more appropriate for the joints of metal pipework, and also cracks or holes. Again, you’ll need to clean the area around the crack or the joint. Also scrape off any excess rust if it’s metal. You’ll need to fill the cavity with just enough sealant, making sure to smooth it down with your finger (use gloves!) or a sealant smoothing tool.
For cracks and holes, first seal the inside area, wait for the sealant to dry, then seal the outside. You’ll still need to smooth the sealant down and test that the hole is repaired once it’s dried by flushing water down the gutter or pipe. Weatherproof tape is sometimes a good option for gutter cracks too. However, you may find it harder to seal the area properly compared to using sealant.
Replacement parts for leaking guttering
If you have older gutters or metal ones, you may find it difficult to source the exact parts you need. Luckily, some gutter parts from different manufacturers are interchangeable. You’d just need to know the width of the opening at the top of the gutter, the shape, and the type of material it’s made from. Generally, downpipes are easier to replace as they are usually either just round or square-shaped. However, if you’re finding any of this difficult it’s much easier to call a local handyperson with gutter repair experience. They can do the hard work for you.
How We Care Home Improvements can help
Our trading standards approved service and award-winning handypeople can tackle a multitude of jobs in your home and garden. Our local, friendly and trusted tradespeople are more than just typical handypeople. As well as knowing how to fix a leaking gutter they include experienced plumbers and carpenters.
Whatever job you need a helping hand with at home, we can send someone out to do the best quality work that you can rely on, for a competitive price. Contact us today for a quote or some obligation-free advice.