Gutters crack— it’s just a matter of fact. And while fixing a leaky gutter might sound like no big deal, it’s actually vital in preventing:
- Water damage
- Roof leaks
- Foundation problems
- Clogged gutters
- Rodent problems
So knowing how to spot and fix a leaky gutter is major in preventing further damage to someone’s home. This professional guide will walk through the steps on how to find a gutter leak, how to fix, and when to hire a pro for gutter repair or replacement. Don’t be caught with water damage because you put off this simple fix.
Tell-Tale Signs of a Leaky Gutter
Gutter problems left unrepaired can cause major issues to your home, so knowing what the signs of a gutter leak look like means you can catch it as early as possible to prevent further damage (and further costs).
- Water spilling over the side. A cracked gutter can not only leak water, but catch debris that’s trying to flow through— causing a gutter back up.
- Water leaking down the edges of your basement. Your gutters are intended to drive rainwater away from your home’s foundation via the downspouts at each corner of the house. But a cracked gutter seeps that water down the edges of your home and into your foundation. This can cause mold growth and deterioration to your foundation.
- Standing water in the gutters. A backed up gutter doesn’t have anywhere for the water to go but sit stagnant in the gutter itself. This can cause rusting and other damage to the gutters as well as provide a perfect breeding ground for rodents and mosquitoes.
- Water stains down your home’s exterior. Look for water stains (a tell-tale sign of leaks) on the fascia board, which is the board that runs along the roofline and meets up with your gutters. These spots will be darker than the rest of your siding since they’re constantly exposed to water.
- Peeling paint around the window frames or doorways. This can be a sign that water is seeping in from the outside and damaging the wood and framing around your windows and doors.
- Erosion to your home’s landscaping. If you notice puddles forming in your yard near the house or that the landscaping around your home is washing away, it’s likely due to a problem with your gutters.
If you see any of these signs, it’s time to take action and figure out how to fix your leaky gutter before more damage is done. A professional inspection can diagnose the issue and determine if it’s your gutters or roof or another issue.
How to Fix Leaking Gutters (Step by Step)
There are a few ways to pinpoint and fix leaky gutters. The best way to find a gutter leak is to inspect the gutters after a rainfall to see where the water is spilling over or dripping down. But you can also do a simple test by flushing your gutters with a hose and seeing where the water leaks out.
Once you know where the leak is, determining how to remedy the situation is the next step. To patch a leaky gutter, follow these steps:
Step 1: Gather the Materials or Tools You Need
- Tape measure
- Gutter sealant (silicone caulk or rubber sealant)
- Putty knife
- Retractable razor blade
- Tin snips
- Replacement gutter
- Gutter connectors
Step 2: Prepare the Gutter for Repair
Clear the gutter of any debris and wash it off with soap and water to have a clean working surface. If there is any old sealant or caulk, use your razor blade or putty knife to remove it.
Step 3: Prep Sealant if Necessary
If you’re repairing your gutter leak using sealant over a small crack, prep your sealant according to the instructions. Some of the best gutter sealants on the market include:
- Liquid Rubber Waterproof Sealant
- Gorilla Waterproof Patch and Tape
- DAP Crystal Clear Gutter Sealant
Step 4: Apply the Sealant
If you’re using sealant, apply it to the gutter leak following the instructions on the package. Start by caulking any cracks or holes and then use your putty knife to smooth out the sealant. If you’re using tape, apply it over the crack or hole, making sure to press it down firmly so it adheres securely. A combination of caulk, sealant, and waterproof tape can make your repair extra strong.
Step 5: Let the Sealant Dry and Cut Off Excess
Allow the sealant or tape to dry completely before moving on. Once it’s dry, you can use your razor blade or putty knife to cut off any excess material. If you are placing waterproof tape on top, make sure it’s fully dried before doing that extra step.
To replace a leaky or damaged gutter, follow these steps:
If your gutter is damaged beyond repair, replacing the entire thing is going to be your best bet at resolving the leak and stopping it in its tracks. If this is the case, you can easily remove the section of damaged gutter, and replace it with a new piece.
If you know your gutter size and brand, this should be a breeze. If you’re unsure, ask the contractor who installed your gutters, or bring the damaged piece with you to the hardware store to ensure you get the right fit.
Step 1: Purchase a New Gutter Piece— Cut to Size
Using tin snips, cut the new gutter piece to size, making sure to leave about an extra inch on each end. And always remember: measure twice and cut once. The last thing you wanna do is cut your gutter too small and have to buy another replacement piece.
Step 2: Remove Your Damaged Gutter
Carefully remove the section of gutter that has the leak, being mindful to not damage any other sections of the gutter. When detaching your connector pieces, remove any sealant or tape first, then unscrew the fasteners.
Step 3: Connect Your Gutters
Using the same sealant or tape, as well as any new connector pieces, screw your gutters back together, making sure they’re securely attached. If you’re unsure of what size or type of connector piece to use, ask a professional at the hardware store.
Step 4: Use a Hose to Ensure Waterproof Seal
Once you have all your gutters reconnected, use a hose to test the repair. If water starts leaking out of any other areas, you may need to add more sealant or tape. If everything looks good, give yourself a pat on the back—you just saved yourself from getting further water damage!
Hire a Reputable Contractor to Get the Job Done
While leaky gutter repair is a DIY-friendly task, we always recommend working with a professional roofer or home contractor to ensure the job gets done right. DIY repairs can void warranties or even make matters worse if you fail to do them correctly.
So when in doubt, call a reputable team like Northface Construction to repair or replace your leaky gutters. We can do a thorough inspection to make sure there are no other issues with your home and you’re safe from water penetrations and other damaging problems. Contact us today to get started!