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Although an external component of your home, the gutter system is crucial to the ‘healthy’ foundation of the building.
By keeping rainwater away from the structure of your home, it protects the building from moisture-related damages like cracks and rust, which can otherwise wreak havoc. Given the hard work your gutter system performs, it’s only natural that it may encounter problems, with leaks being the most common issue.
But why do gutters leak, and how can you prevent them from happening? Dive in to learn it all!
A leaking gutter can be caused by various things like a clog or crack, and some leaks may result from a combination of issues. But here’s a list of the most common causes of a leaking gutter:
As you may have already understood, the exact fix for leaking gutters will largely depend on the issue it’s plagued with, like:
Like the other pipes in your plumbing system, which may get clogged due to waste or mineral deposits from the water supply, the leaky gutters can get blocked with debris from the flowing rainwater. Although leaves and twigs may not seem like a threat initially, they can accumulate over time to create a big mass that eventually stops the downflow in its path.
A blocked drain can be very harmful, and the problem typically presents as spills in the beginning, as the rainwater surges above the block. However, as the clog continues to absorb moisture, it will get heavier, putting undue pressure on the gutter and resulting in sudden leaks.
The best way to prevent this issue is by manually cleaning the gutter and removing anything that may cause a spill or potential leak. Once you’ve removed the larger debris materials, use a hand-held vacuum cleaner or leaf blower on the lowest setting to eliminate smaller waste particles. But don’t forget to put in your work gloves beforehand!
Some clogs may also occur in the downspout, which can stop the rainwater from entering it. And the accumulation of water in the gutter over time can cause leaks.
In this case, disconnect the downspout from the gutter, clean it and reattach it to the gutter. We’d suggest doing this regularly, especially during the rainy season (when the weather gives you a break).
Gutters remain unshielded against the elements, so don’t be surprised if you spot holes and cracks! But some damages may not be visible until water flows and leaks from the gutter. However, waiting for the rain to help you detect them will likely do more bad than good, as the damages may intensify further,
Instead, run a small DIY test to spot all small leaks and small cracks. Simply pour some water in the gutter, observe the areas of the gutter leaks and mark them. You can use weatherproof sealant to fix the spots or caulk them for reinforced protection. That said, larger cracks and holes may require replacing that entire gutter sections.
Seals on the joints of the leaking gutters are responsible for holding the structure together. However, continuous exposure to the elements, especially the sun, can affect the “adhesion” they provide. Not only can weak seals cause leaks, but they can also make the entire structure collapse, resulting in serious damage and injuries.
You can use the same water test mentioned above to identify where the seal has worn out, replacing it with a new weatherproof seal and reinforcing it with caulk.
On the other hand, fasteners keep the gutter attached to the fascia boards on your roof. So, when they come loose, you may see rainwater leaking from the resulting gap. Besides, the moisture may seep into the fascia boards, causing water damage to the entire roof structure.
If you notice water leaking from spots near the fascia boards or misalignment in the gutter structure, get hold of a wrench and tighten the fasteners. As an additional step, you can caulk them for reinforced strength.
But if you see that they have developed corrosion, rust or cracks, replace them immediately. In case of severe damage, you may even have to replace the parts of the gutter and fascia affected by the moisture. And we’d advise getting in touch with a professional for that.
The gutter system may sag for many reasons, such as improper alignment while installing new segments, loose fasteners, seals or heavy debris like tree branches clogging the gutter. And all these can cause spills or leaks from the gutter’s sides and bottom.
In such cases, you may need to remove and straighten the affected area by tapping it with a hammer or using a car dent puller. Once the metal is straightened, attach it back using fasteners, weatherproof seals and caulks.
There are a few things you can do to reduce the chances of the gutter leaking in the first place, such as:
Although fixing smaller issues like reapplying sealants and caulking them may be easy, replacing the gutter parts or straightening it can be dangerous without the right tools.
Not only can you end up causing more damage to the gutter, but you may also injure yourself while on the ladder. That’s why it’s best to call professionals like the trained and licensed plumbers at Gold Coast Plumbing. Our gutter maintenance and gutter leak repair services go beyond emergency repairs to make your life easier.