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How to Repair Leaky Gutters and Downspouts

A leaky gutter can cause damage to roofing and soffits. Learn how to fix gutters, downspouts and how to re-point cement roofing.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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Remove Adjacent Length of Gutter for Clear Access

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Repairing a Leaking Gutter

Gutter joints, whether sealed with a rubber gasket or sealant, will deteriorate over time and leak. The repair shown here uses gutter or silicone caulk. For gutters without joints, cut out the damaged section and replace it with a piece that is at least 2 in (5 cm) longer.

Materials and Tools:
cloth
gutter or silicone caulk
caulk gun

Disassemble the gutter joint by unclipping the gutter length from the joint clip (Image 1).

Remove the adjacent length of gutter to give you clear access to the internal profile of the joint clip (Image 2).

Dust out the joint, making sure that it is clean and dry (Image 3).

Apply gutter or silicone caulk around the edge of the gutter's profile (Image 4).

Reassemble the joint, fixing the clips securely back in place (Image 5).

Wipe away any excess caulk with a cloth (Image 6).

Other Causes of Leaks

  • The gutter might be blocked and overflowing. Unblock it to fix the problem.

  • Loose attachments may cause sagging and overflowing. Fix as for a downspout.

  • A gutter needs a slope to drain efficiently. Check whether it needs adjusting to the correct angle.

  • Cast-iron gutters may rust and leak. Paint often to avoid this.

Fixing a Loose Downspout

If downspout brackets become loose, joints in the pipe may fracture and cause water to run down the building. This may cause water infiltration problems, so loose pipes should be reattached immediately.

Materials and Tools:
drill
suitable fasteners and wall plugs

Slide the loose downspout bracket to slightly above or below its previous position (Imags 1).

Hold the bracket in place, and mark where the new fasteners will need to go. Then drill pilot holes (Image 2).

Attach the bracket with the appropriate fasteners. Use wall plugs on masonry (Image 3).

Repointing a Leaking Verge

The drawback of a pointed verge is that the cement fillet sealing the edge of the tiles may become cracked. This leaves an opening for water penetration, but is easily fixed, as shown here.

Materials and Tools:
chisel
mallet
mortar mix
spot board
pointing trowel
small paintbrush

Rake out loose mortar carefully, using a chisel and mallet, taking care not to dislodge or damage any of the tiles (Image 1).

Mix some mortar, and use a pointing trowel to press it into the joint below the tile (Image 2).

Use a dry paintbrush to brush lightly along the edge to tidy the joint and provide a smooth finish (Image 3).

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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