Knowing the signs of a needed gutter repair can help prevent bigger, more expensive issues. Different signs point to various types of issues and distinct gutter repairs needed.
Sitting Water in Clean Gutters
If you gutters have been recently cleaned and are mostly clear of debris yet water is sitting them, possibly even accumulating at the end away from the downspout, this is a sign of a mis-graded gutter. This can be the result of either a faulty initial installation of the gutters, interim damage, or possibly uneven settling of the structure itself. If the section of gutter is not excessively long or have too many corners between the primary point of sitting water and the downspout, it may be repairable.
If room for adjustment is available, either one end needs raising or the other lowering. However, if it is too long or too complex of a section, you are likely looking at need to replace the gutters. In that situation, a second option to add an additional downspout at the site where the water accumulates might be considered. Just make sure to plan where the drained water is to be directed because there likely won’t be a nearby underground drain.
Gutters Hanging Loose and Pulling Away From The House
This situation is often caused by either allowing gutters to stay overly full for too long and the weight of the soggy debris plus the water unable to escape becomes more than the connectors can handle. It can also result from snow and ice damage (sheets of frozen matter sliding off the roof and hooking the gutter along the way) or rotting fascia boards where the wood can no longer hold the spike. Since there are varying causes of this, the solutions can vary too.
If the problem is the result of water weight or snow and ice, then they can likely be reattached. Commonly, re-securing the original spikes will still hold once the cause of the problem has been rectified. On occasion, if the original hole has been bored out too wide either from the violent jerking action of sliding snow or simply repeated loosening and re-securing, changing to gutter screws instead of spikes will solve the issue.
If the problem is in the fascia board, the solution becomes a little more involved. In this case, it is very likely that the gutters need to be taken down, the fascia board replaced, and the gutters reinstalled.
Visible or Audible Drips
Often this issue is simple enough to diagnose – you see water dripping out of the gutter or downspout where it should not be (this is opposed to water overflowing over the top of the gutter – a sign that the gutter likely just needs cleaning.) Some time you may spot an actual hole or open seam. Other times, you may not see the actual drips, leaks or holes but rather the signs that a issue is occurring. Such a sign would be erosion near foundation under the gutter. Finally, you might not even see the issue or the evidence of it but rather hear the problem. An unusual dripping or splashing sound can also alert you to the problem.
Regardless of how you discover your leak, the most common solutions are either caulking a loose and widened seam or patching a hole. Bear in mind that only small holes can usually be patched. Commonly, anything over the size of a quarter is a waste of time to attempt patching. Why? Because holes usually just don’t randomly occur. They are typically the result of a rusted location. If too large of an area has started to rust, patches simply won’t adhere and the problem will persist. In such case, replacement of an entire section of a gutter is likely needed.
Water running down siding – likely missing drip flashing or need existing drip flash replaced.
Water running down your siding can often be misinterpreted as a roof leak. However, while there are rare times this could be the case, it is most commonly a result of water flowing behind the back of your gutter. How can this occur? It happens when the drip flashing, an angular strip of galvanized metal, either is damaged, out of position, or not even present.
The drip flashing helps prevent water from full gutters backing up under the roofing material and rotting the sheathing as well as keeping water from running straight from the roof to behind the gutter. Basically, it helps keep water where it should be in the roof and gutter connection.
Rust – Replacement
Visible rust is never a good sign. As mentioned above, issues involving a small amount of localized rust can still be addressed with a gutter repair. However, when widespread rust is seen throughout the gutter system, repair will most often be a waste of money. In such situations, repairs won’t last and your money is best saved and put toward the replacement of the gutters.
A quick rule of thumb that can help you determine how much rust is too much is as follows: If after a few passes with a wire brush, the rust is removed and clean metal is visible, there likely is amply life left in the gutters. Continue brushing and spray paint with a rustproof paint. However, if upon brushing more rust continues to show and there is flakiness and crumbling evident, don’t waste any more of your effort – it’s time to replace.
If you would rather have a competent pro evaluate your gutters for you, please do not hesitate to call us for a free estimate – 503-590-9274.