Gutters are often one of the more overlooked systems in a home, yet the system is also one of the most important. Your gutters are responsible for efficiently transporting water from your roof and away from your home. This is why it is highly advised that homeowners invest in durable, high-quality gutters. However, older gutters may begin to succumb to wear and tear. When this happens, you may begin to need to fix problems like leaks.
Before you can learn how to fix leaking gutters, it’s important to know why gutters leak in the first place. After all, the kind of repairs necessary will depend on the cause of the leak. Fortunately, the root causes of gutter leaks are relatively easy to spot, especially if you know what to look for.
There are many reasons why a gutter would suddenly start to leak. Some of the most common reasons include:
– Debris such as leaves, twigs, bird nests, and the like have a tendency to accumulate inside your gutters. This may not seem like much of a problem, but if enough debris has accumulated, this can create a dam that inhibits the proper flow of water through your gutters. With nowhere else to go, you may begin to notice that water leaks from the side of your gutters during rainy days. In some cases, the water may back up and leak into small cracks in your roof.
– In larger homes, gutters will be cut into varying lengths and fastened together during installation. Over time, the bolts used to connect these seams will give way due to everyday wear and tear. When this happens, your gutters come loose at the seams, allowing water to escape. In some cases, a loose connection may not be obvious if you look at your gutters. However, you might be able to notice telltale signs like washed out soil underneath the loose connection.
– It’s not just the bolts that connect sections of your gutters that you should be concerned about. The bolts that keep your gutters in place can also come loose, causing your gutters to sag off. There are many different reasons why gutters start sagging: wind damage, wood rot in the area where the bolts are attached, etc. When this happens, your gutters will tilt to one side, which means any water will leak off the side of your gutters. If this goes on for a while, you also risk your gutters completely coming off your roof and crashing into the ground below.
– Most gutters look like they are installed at level, but the truth is that gutters are actually installed at a slight incline. This is done on purpose since this design allows gravity to work its magic and ensure proper flow of water through the gutter. Naturally, improper pitch disrupts this. In some cases, it may cause water to pool in one section. This is problematic since water continues to collect in one spot, causing the gutter to leak water even during relatively light rain.
As mentioned earlier, the kind of repairs that need to be made will depend on the root cause of the gutter leak. In the case of clogged gutters, all you’ll really need is to clear the obstruction. Grab your ladder and a garden trowel. Head up to your gutters and use the garden trowel to remove any debris you find.
In the case of loose connections at the seams or any holes and cracks, you’ll want to make a quick stop at your local hardware store to pick up a tube of silicone sealant. You may also choose to apply a sheet metal patch over the area and set it in place with roofing cement. For sagging gutters, you may want to try and reattach your gutters at different points instead.
Take note that the repair methods mentioned above are really more of temporary solutions. If you notice any signs of damage to your gutters, it’s a good idea to apply the temporary solution to prevent further damage and then call a rain gutter leak repair service like FIXME Plumbing. A professional gutter repair service can help assess the situation and apply appropriate repairs to ensure your gutter does the job it’s meant to do. Similarly, they can also apply measures, such as gutter guards, that can help prevent clogs and leaks from developing again in the future.