Your rain gutters may laze around sunbathing in the summertime and they may hibernate come winter, but when it rains, boy do they spring into action! Despite their small and inconspicuous size, they collect and carry great bucketfuls of rain, transporting them to a more suitable place. Without them, the rain would splash down your home—eroding your soil, staining your siding, and possibly even damaging the foundation of your home. Never realized how much work they were doing, did ya? If they weren’t around, water would collect around the base of your home and eventually find its way inside. That’s why it’s so important that you take notice of your rain gutters and spot damage and leaks. Today we’re going to talk about how to fix a leaky rain gutter. It isn’t a difficult job, but if you’d rather not be up working on a ladder, feel free to call a professional.
How to Fix a Leaky Rain Gutter
First, you’ll need to clean the gutter. Use a wire brush to remove dirt and loosen any rust. After that, clean the area with a rag that has been soaked in mineral spirits. Assess the damage and decide if it is light (a small hole, sometimes the metal hasn’t rusted all the way through), moderate (a medium hole), or heavy (a large hole with extensive damage).
If the damage is light . . .
You can patch it up with roofing cement. Apply a liberal amount to the damaged area and spread it out so that it covers a few inches beyond the hole on all sides.
If the damage is moderate . . .
You will need to fill in the hole with a piece of scrap wire screening. Cut the screening down until it is 1/2 to 1 inch bigger than the hole on all sides. Spread roofing cement around the hole with a trowel and then press the cut wire screening on top so that it covers the hole. Spread more roofing cement on top in a thin layer and (following the directions on the cement bottle) allow it to dry. If you notice that the screening isn’t completely covered after that, apply another thin layer of cement.
If the damage is heavy . . .
You’re going to need something stronger and larger to patch up this hole, so go find some sheet metal. Use sheet aluminum unless your gutters are copper (in which case, use copper), and cut the sheet down so that it covers the inside of the gutter and wraps around the outside edges. It should be at least 1 inch larger than the hole in all directions. Then, bend the patch until it fits snugly and its shape matches the rest of the gutter. Remove the patch, coat the inside of the gutter with roofing cement, and then press the patch back down so that it covers the hole. Be sure that it extends 1 inch beyond the edges of the hole in all directions. Finally, bend the edges of the patch over the gutter lips using pliers and coat the patch and surrounding areas with another layer of roofing cement.
As long as you have the right tools and are comfortable on a ladder, learning how to fix a leaky rain gutter isn’t very difficult. If you’re having any other issues with roof leaks, be sure to check out our previous blog posts. In addition to learning how to fix a leaky rain gutter, we’ve talked about how to repair leaky roofs made of asphalt shingles and wooden shake shingles.