Your gutter valiantly protects your home against the infiltration of rainwater. Its effectiveness depends on its general good condition. The slightest leak in a gutter is to be taken seriously quickly. The risk ? The degradation of a facade cladding, the weakening of the foundations, cracks, mold, etc. Repairing a gutter is within the reach of many do-it-yourselfers. We explain how to repair leaks… and how to prevent damage.
A leaking gutter, what are the causes?
Gutter life isn’t easy every day. Always in full wind, it undergoes bad weather and climatic variations throughout the year. Despite its good services, it can end up getting damaged. This is where the leak appears.
- A section has been frozen: a crack appears.
- The hail made a hole.
- A gap has formed between two elements.
- A gutter is clogged and the water is flowing back.
Whatever the cause, don’t delay fixing the leak. It can only get worse.
The elements of the gutter are dislocated…
This is the easiest problem to solve. You have to refit the separated elements. If you like playing with legos, you will like it. Start by finding out where the leak is. Gently, then try to move the elements to locate the one that is dislocated. If it is loose, you may need to replace the mounting brackets. Also check that the junction is well sealed. If this is not the case, use a bituminous spray to redo its sealing.
The gutter is perforated; how to plug the hole?
The repair assumes a small hole or crack. If the hole area is too large, it is better to replace the element. To plug a hole, three methods are available to you: silicone mastic, bitumen or tin. To be adapted to the gutter material.
1 – Seal a hole with silicone
In addition to a ladder or a stepladder, plan the necessary equipment:
- A bucket of clean water and a sponge
- A degreasing product (white spirit, methylated spirit, acetone, etc.)
- A clean cloth
- A cartridge of silicone sealant
With the sponge and the bucket of water, start by to clean carefully the area where the hole is located. After this first cleaning, pass the cloth impregnated with degreaser to thoroughly clean the area around the hole (or crack). Dry before moving on to the next step. You can apply the mastic on the hole. Then insert a veil of glass. After having dabbed it well, apply a second coat of mastic. Smooth the silicone with a wet finger and let it dry.
This repair is effective but of limited duration. This is a temporary repair that will save you some time before changing the holed element.
2 – Plug the hole with bitumen
Bitumen comes in two formats: bituminous spray or self-adhesive roll. The first is applied directly to the holed area, the second sticks to the crack. You choose.
As before applying sealant, you will need to clean et degrease the location of the hole and its surroundings. After drying cleaning, sand the area to be covered with bitumen. If you opt for a self-adhesive bitumen strip, just apply it to the hole. If you use a bituminous spray: after sanding, regularly spray the product on the area.
Bitumen provides a durable and effective repair.
3 – For a metal gutter, seal with tin
Tin is suitable for zinc or metal gutters. It ensures a solid and durable repair.
To apply the tin, get a soldering iron with a wide, flat tip. Again, take the time to to clean the holed area correctly, with water then with a degreaser. Then do heat the soldering iron until it is at temperature. With the flat tip, apply a piece of tin over the hole. As it liquefies, the tin fills the hole or crack. start again the operation so as to have a clean repair, without extra thickness.
You are quiet for several years.
A few precautions before repairing your gutter:
- Pay attention to the weather forecast. After repair, allow 24 hours for drying. It would be a shame if a rain came to spoil your work. Unless there is an emergency, preferably work on sunny days.
- Work safely. Be sure to properly stabilize your ladder. Put on a hard hat and protective gloves.
- Assess needs. If the hole or crack is too large, a repair will not suffice. It will be necessary to change the gutter element.
How to prevent the gutter from getting damaged?
Rule number one is to maintain your gutter with a cleaning regular. In late fall, leaves and natural debris have piled up in your gutter. Clean it to avoid the maceration of this detritus and limit the risk of leakage. Repeat the same operation in the spring. This will eliminate most of the risk of leakage.
During this regular cleaning, you can check sealing of the gutter and ensure any small repairs before they get worse.
For a perfect maintenance, do not hesitate to request a roofer. Once every two or three years, he will check your gutters from top to bottom. A few ten euros invested in this way will avoid major damage, which is much more expensive!
If I do nothing, what are the risks?
Wow, bad question! If you let your gutter leak, the house suffers the consequences.
- Moisture infiltrates the facade and inside. Result: the coating of the wall is damaged prematurely (hello facelift), mold settles in your home (thank you allergies).
- Mosses and mushrooms proliferate. If your wall is damp, the greenish mosses will take advantage of it. And the dry rot, you know? If this fungus extends its network in the walls, you can plan a big budget to have it eradicated by professionals…
- The cracks are getting bigger. And it is not necessarily visible! If cracks appear under the screed of the house, the whole frame is weakened. In a wall, if frost gets involved, a small crack will become a big one… The wall cracks and you crack!
It is easier – and above all more economical – to take care of your gutter as soon as it leaks.