Taking care of home improvement projects like structural fixes or replacement before they become emergencies is one of the ways homeowners are protecting their property as well as their financial investment. In part two of our series that tackles structural home fixes, we explore how to repair the gutters.
Not only do April showers bring May flowers, they give you first-hand knowledge of how your rain gutters and downspouts hold up to moisture. Not to mention, keeping your home, garage and basement dry. Your gutters could have holes, leaky corners or are sagging or have pulled away from the house –and all of these scenarios need to be taken care of, extending their life and efficiency.
Whether rust eats into a gutter, or a falling branch punctures it or a well-meaning do-it-yourselfer drills one intentionally, holes need to be patched as soon as they’re spotted, so they don’t get any bigger. Roofing cement, a sheet metal-repair patch or other patch that matches the gutter material will do perfectly. Before applying any patch, clean the area around the hole with gloved hands and a stiff-bristle wire brush. Cut out any rust with aviation snips.
Fixing Leaky Joints
Standing water will eventually seep through gutter seams. After relieving the gutter of the water and letting it dry out, brush clean and apply silicone-rubber caulking compound along the once-leaking seams both inside and out. If the gutters are showing their age, however, replace them with new.
The same standing water causing leaks can cause gutters to sag. The weight of the water causes the hangers to loosen. Gutters should drop about 1/4 inch for every 10 feet of run toward the downspouts, so check the gutter slope using a level. Some gutters are held in place with large spikes in tubular sleeves, called ferrules. To fix a sag, either replace or re-seat the hangers. Use a hammer or screwdriver to drive the long spike or long screw into solid wood. To tighten clip-style gutter hangers, lift the roofing material along the eaves and refasten the hangers to the sheathing.
Stopping an Overflow
Gutters that overflow during a heavy rain storm could be too small to handle a large volume of runoff, or more likely they could be clogged with leaves and debris. If this is the case, by all means give the gutters a good cleaning. Learn more by reading our blog, See How Easily You Can Rid Your Gutters of Dirt and Grime.
Don’t Forget About the Downspouts
Gutter downspouts are important extension of the gutter system. They could loosen away from the gutter or between sections or become clogged with debris.
When you’re cleaning the gutters, clean the downspouts, too – taking the sections apart. Refasten them by pushing the sections together fastening them with two 3/8-inch #8 galvanized sheet metal screws. Drill pilot holes if needed. The downspout anchor straps should be secure to the wall.
Avoid Runoff Water Pools
If water pools at the bottom of the downspout, it will soak into the soil and make its way right into the foundation. Direct rainwater away from the house using a downspout diverter, which fits onto the bottom of the downspout and carries water several feet away.
The downspout can also run into a dry well that’s about two to four feet wide and three feet deep. Secure underground drainage pipes that slope to the dry well, keeping moisture away from the house’s foundation. You can also modify a 55-gallon drum that’s buried at the end of a downspout and punctured with holes. Before using any one of these solutions, check local building codes.
Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with home fixes and repairs. From ladders to drills and other equipment, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.