Whether it’s from a pesky tree branch or that stray soccer ball, sometimes your gutter gets bent out of shape. Luckily, it’s not as difficult to fix as you may think!
All you need is a ladder, a rubber mallet, and a wooden block. First, apply some heat to the area of the gutter that’s dented.
Assess the Damage
Gutters protect the foundation of your home by channeling rainwater away from its base, but if they’re clogged or damaged you can face a lot of expensive repairs. The first step in repairing gutter damage is to carefully inspect the affected area. A few inches of rust or missing pieces may not be a problem, but if your gutters are completely sagging, you’ll need to call in a gutter repair expert to get the job done right.
Likewise, if your gutter downspouts are dislodged from their gutter attachment, they won’t be able to properly guide water away from your house. This can lead to flooded basements, cracked foundations, and other nasty problems. You can correct these issues by reattaching the downspouts and installing gutter downspout extenders to move more water safely away from your house.
If you’re planning on doing the repair yourself, start by cleaning out any debris stuck inside your gutters with a garden shovel, ice scooper, or paint scraper. Then, use a hose to spray off the remaining dirt and mud. You can also buy gutter covers that prevent excess debris from building up in your gutters, so you never have to risk life or limb getting on a ladder to clean them.
Look for loose brackets and other signs of rust or wear. Loose brackets can cause sagging and if they come off altogether, you’ll have an even bigger problem to deal with. If the screws that hold the brackets in place are rusty, you’ll need to replace them with new ones.
A cracked gutter can let water in, which can saturate the walls of your house and lead to rot. The good news is that you can often fix cracks with roofing sealants. You can find these at any hardware store, but make sure you purchase more than you think you’ll need so that you don’t have to go back and forth between a bucket of roofing cement and a ladder.
Before you apply the caulk, put on your work gloves and wash off any old tar or caulk residue with rubbing alcohol. After that, apply a primer designed for metal surfaces, like rust-inhibiting zinc. Then, you’ll be ready to apply the gutter sealant of your choice.
Gather Your Tools
If you’ve got a lot of damage to your gutter, you’ll need some special tools to fix it. You’ll also need some safety gear for working on a ladder or on the roof, especially if you have no experience with these types of tasks. You’ll need to wear heavy-duty work gloves to protect your hands from sharp or splintered pieces of gutter. You should also consider using a pair of eye protection to protect your eyes from falling debris or dirt.
The first step in gutter repair is to clear away any leaves, twigs, or other debris that’s accumulated over time. This will help you see the areas that need repair, and it will make the work easier as well. You should also make sure to clean and dry the area before starting any repairs.
Next, you’ll need to check for loose sections or dents in the gutters. You’ll also want to look for downspout holes and worn gaskets. These parts are easy to replace, but they’re often overlooked during routine gutter cleaning.
Loose sections can be renailed by hand or with a power drill. If you’re having trouble getting at a fascia bracket to renail it, you can add more supports. A good rule of thumb is to have one support every 2 1/2 feet along the gutter.
Once you’ve inspected the entire gutter for leaks or other damage, it’s time to start repairing them. Use a drill to remove the old screws and then fasten new ones in their place. You can also reseal any cracks with roofing sealant or gutter cement.
You should also replace worn downspout gaskets, which are easily available at any home improvement store. Just make sure that the replacement gasket is of the same size as the old one to avoid leaks.
Finally, you should use a wire brush to remove any areas of rust on the gutters. If the rust is extensive, you may need to paint it with a rust-inhibiting metal primer or black bitumen. You can also use a sanding block to smooth the rusty spots.
Straighten It Out
Gutter systems are built to hold water, but if they’re clogged or have a poor slope, water will simply flow over them. This isn’t just a cosmetic issue; it can cause foundation damage, erosion and even leak into the home. This is why it’s so important to perform regular maintenance on gutters.
To start, walk around your house and look for areas of the gutter that seem to be sagging. These are normally caused by a poor gutter slope or a section of the gutter pulling away from its seam. In either case, this can be a sign that the gutter is loose and could fall off in the near future.
If the gutter is hanging from spikes that stick out of the fascia board, this is a good time to replace them with fascia hangers (available at most home centers) which are screwed directly into the wood. This will help prevent the gutter from sagging and make it easier to clean.
It’s also a good idea to replace the old spikes with new ones that have a hook on them, such as the type that are used for downspouts. This will allow you to grab onto them with a ladder instead of having to reach over the gutter with your hands.
Another thing to check for is any splices or miters in the gutter where it meets the downspouts. If these are not sealed with a waterproof sealant, they’ll leak over time and can lead to water in the basement or other parts of the home. This is a good time to buy some gutter sealing tape, available at most home centers, and follow the directions on the package to apply it.
You should also consider using a waterproof gutter sealant that’s formulated to be submerged for long periods of time, like Pro-Tek Gutterseal (available at most home centers). This will prevent water from seeping through the gutters and into your house.
Finally, if you notice that water is pouring out of the middle of the gutter section (especially if this area is right above your front door) it’s a sure sign that the downspout is clogged. The gutter should slope down towards the downspout so that water doesn’t stand.
Unleash Your Inner Jedi
If you find a section of gutter that is leaking or has loose seams, apply a waterproof sealant to the area. Roofing cement or even tar can work as a temporary solution until you can hire a professional to take care of it for you.
If your gutter is leaking, it will affect the paint on your wall and eventually lead to peeling. Water damage also makes your home more prone to insect infestation. The best way to prevent this type of damage is by installing a gutter filter.
Gutter filters are mesh that is installed over the gutter to prevent leaves and other debris from entering. This will help to eliminate the need for regular cleaning! This will save you time and money.