Leaking and damaged gutters are usually the cause of moisture seeping through the surrounding structures along the gutters of your house. Moisture can cause mould and mildew to grow and eventually may cause wood to rot which will weaken the foundation of your home, compromising its overall safety.
Damage to your gutter should not be taken lightly as they are an integral part of your roof and placed there for something more important than your home’s aesthetic. Your gutter collects water from the roof of your home, diverting it away from the building and thus protecting the structure. Aside from that, the gutter reduces the occurrence of erosion, leaks in the basements, protects materials from constant exposure to water and can be a means to collect water for other purposes via the downspout or downpipe.
The four most common damages in gutter systems are leaking, sagging, overflowing and pooling run off inside or around the house. If you do not respond to these issues immediately, they can cause serious damage to your home and its foundation. The damages in your gutter may sound overwhelming, and you may think you require the help of a professional roofer to provide a solution, but a lot of the time this work can be done yourself.
What are the signs of a leaking gutter?
- Check for cracks on your gutter as even the smallest one can allow water to seep through.
- Peeling paint underneath the gutters or near the base indicates a water leak.
- Water marks or stains underneath the gutters.
- Clogged gutters or downspouts.
What can you do when your gutter has a leak?
- First, check the joints between the gutter sections because the cause of a leak will usually start there.
- Check for signs of water stagnation or standing and sagging. If this happens, you can adjust or add gutter hangers to strengthen the foundation that holds the gutter.
- Let the gutter, particularly the damaged areas and the seams, dry out completely after cleaning them. You can use a brush to remove unwanted substances that might affect the sealants.
- Gently and evenly apply a silicone-rubber caulking substance on the seams. Make sure that you apply a generous amount both inside and outside to seal the damage and prevent leaks.
- If you notice any small holes on the gutter, you can use roofing cement to patch them up. Use a putty knife to apply the cement generously but make sure to spread it out evenly so that there will be no areas where water can stay. Applying roofing cement is best done during a warm day so that it can dry faster. However, in the UK it is advisable to warm the cement to room temperature for easy spreading.
- Larger holes are best covered with metal patches. Embed the patches over the roofing cement and then spread another layer of cement over the patch.
- Due to the UK’s frequent rainfall, you always need to make sure that downspouts drain into a dry well. The usual measurement of the well should be around 2 to 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep which can collect approximately 55 gallons.
There are a number of different gutter protection devices that can be placed in your gutters to avoid clogging and other damages. These include things like plastic and metal gutter guards, strainers, stainless steel and filtered gutter guards, metal and plastic total gutter covers, gutter brushes and hinged gutter guards. However, regardless of the protection, you have in place, a frequent maintenance check and cleaning should be done at least twice a year.