Discovering a gutter leak is not all that hard to do, but fixing a leaking gutter can be a issue. After all, most gutters are not within easy reach from the ground. You can see the location of any dripping or the overflowing of water from the gutters during and directly after a rain storm. Diagnosing the actual problem, then resolving it, can be quite a different matter. Because a leaking gutter can have more than one cause, a close and detailed inspection is required. If you are someone who shies away from ladders and high places, it may be best to consult with a professional gutter installer. Working off of ladders and steep surfaces that are possibly two or more stories off the ground isn’t for everyone.
First, let’s look at some common causes of leaking gutters:
Clogs are the most common problem associated with leaking gutters. Debris builds up and stops the free flow of water through the gutters. The most common way to unclog gutters, but not necessarily the easiest, is to place a ladder against your house, climb up the ladder, and using gloves, physically remove any debris that has accumulated in them. This method can take a lot of time because you are required to do a lot of climbing up and down and relocating your ladder. Also you will need to carry a bucket or bag along with you to put the debris in, and a trowel for ease of removal. You could just throw the debris to the ground, but then you have to take the time to clean it up later.
Another method to remove debris from your gutters would be to use a shop vac specially designed with a long hose extension. The problem is that it could be awkward to be standing on a ladder and maneuver the collection device. Then there’s the problem of just how much debris the collection unit can hold and you still have to constantly climb up, down, and relocate your ladder.
One gutter cleaning pro we know uses a leaf blower to remove debris from gutters. He still has to climb up on the roof but he just walks along the gutters, blowing the debris out of them, and then cleans up the ground after climbing down from the roof.
Yet another method is to use a tool that attaches to a garden hose. It has an extendable wand and removes debris from gutters by forcefully washing the gutters clean using water.
Loose Gutter Fasteners are simple to fix. Many things can cause gutter fasteners to loosen and allow the gutters to pull away from the fascia boards. Sometimes age of the fasteners can cause this. Sometimes the wood they are attached to rots to the point that the fasteners can no longer do what they were designed to do. Either way, loose fasteners are easy to fix. Simply replace them with fasteners that are slightly longer and stronger.
Improper Gutter Sloping is a much more labor intensive problem to repair. When gutters are properly aligned, they should slope from the center of the roofline ¼-inch for every 10 feet. To fix a sloping issue you need to measure to the center of your roof, then using a level, add the correct amount of slope, or drop, toward each end of the gutter run. The proper amount of slope keeps the water entering the gutters flowing, not allowing it to pool in sections of the gutter.
Cracks and Holes can usually be attributed to weather and time. Exposure to weather allows deterioration of the materials the gutter is made of. Small cracks and holes can develop in structurally damaged areas. They are especially common where one gutter section meets another. The metal around screws and rivets can weaken and develop leaks. These problems are relatively easy to fix by just cleaning the area and applying a silicon caulking or sealer.
Aging and Weather can do their thing to any item or material that is left outdoors for long enough, gutters included. While even a newer gutter can leak, older gutters, after long exposure to the elements, can develop leaks. When the gutters have reached the end of their usefulness, the only option left to the homeowner is replacement.
Homeowners should regularly check their gutters for leaks. When leaks are discovered, repairs should be done as soon as possible. If allowed to continue, gutter leaks will only get worse over time. Instead of water being safely carried away from your home through the gutters and downspouts, it will eventually cause damage by affecting your foundation or allowing mold to develop in attics and inside of wall cavities. Some homeowners choose to install a type of gutter capping system in hopes of eliminating gutter clogging issues, but at around $7 a foot, that can be an expensive solution. Even after installing something like a gutter cap, gutters should still be periodically checked for debris collection. They are not 100% effective.
If you need assistance with repairing leaking gutters or any water damage the leaks have caused, call 877-960-0491. You will be connected to a local pre-screened and certified water damage professional that can come out to your home and inspect for any gutter leaks and for water damage problems resulting from them. They will offer advice on what should be done to repair the problem, and provide you with a written estimate of what the repairs will cost. They will provide this information free of charge with no further obligation on your part. There is so much to gain and little to lose from free, qualified advice.
Written by Mark Huey.
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