Gutters and downspouts are an essential part of the drainage system on any home, and they are necessary for efficient collection of rainwater. In the rainwater harvesting world, gutters and downspouts together are known as the “conduit system,” along with the diverter that takes the rain into your rain barrels, rain tanks, or cisterns.
Repairing your own guttering may seem like a daunting idea but it doesn’t have to be difficult, not with the right tips and advice to guide you. On that note, here are 5 DIY gutter repair tips that anybody (with a ladder and a stomach for heights) can do. The following information has been supplied from our friends at Bespoke Guttering:
#1 Unclog the Gutters
If you are comfortable on a ladder and you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, then unclogging your gutters isn’t difficult at all. Unclogging your gutters can prevent issues later on, saving you a fair amount of money in repairs. Preventative measures are sometimes the best DIY options. All you need, once that ladder has been secured, is a garden hose and gloves. After pulling out dry debris, sluicing the gutters with the hose will help keep the rain water flowing smoothly and keep the weight off the structure. Another quick and simple option is to install gutter covers.
#2 Realign a Gutter
If water is not draining toward your downspouts, and the guttering is otherwise clean and clog-free, then it is most likely due to incorrect alignment of the gutter. Done correctly, alignment is not usually visible but gutters are actually tilted slightly for proper drainage – not straight. Realigning is a fairly straightforward task, so here’s how!
- To support the section of guttering that needs to be realigned, drive long nails into the fascia board at the rear side of the gutter, at regular intervals.
- Next, remove the gutter support brackets.
- Tie off a length of string from one end of the fascia to the other, ensuring it falls toward the downspout. The fall should be a half inch for every ten feet of gutter.
- Put the brackets back up, following the tilt of the string.
#3 Remove Rust from Metal Gutters
Rust should be removed from your gutters as soon as it is discovered, before it leads to more damaging problems.
- Safety goggles, always.
- Smaller patches of rust can be removed using sandpaper, while larger areas can be cleared with a wire brush.
- Rust-resisting primer should be applied to the newly cleared area.
- Check for cracks while applying the primer, fill them with sealant and make sure everything is smooth.
- Lastly, apply bitumen or gloss paint. Once dry, apply a second coat.
#4 Fix Leaks in PVC or UPVC Gutters
Leaks in plastic gutters are nearly always found at joints, where two sections are connected to one another. These joints are made watertight with rubber seals or gaskets. When these become worn or pried apart by dirt and debris, leaks become evident.
- Separate the gutter section from the seal by squeezing the sides of the gutter.
- Remove all dirt and debris from around the seal; check for wear.
- If the seal is worn it can be replaced very easily, remembering to press new seals as firmly as you can.
- Refit your newly repaired guttering and gaskets.
#5 Fix a Loose Downspout
If you have a loose downspout, it isn’t the end of the world – or your guttering. First just check to see if there is a connecting bracket that has worked itself loose. If that is the case, simply replace the bracket slightly higher or lower than its original placement, using new pilot holes. Failing that, it could be a loose wall plug. Replacing these and re-affixing the screws or nails is a simple task and will take just a few moments. Wall plugs are not always used, however, in these cases 1/4″ or 6.5mm galvanized screws will do the trick.
With a bit of luck you will now have a little more confidence in your gutter repairs, provided that you really are comfortable up a ladder of course!