How to fix a dripping leaky gutter
Leaking Gutter - Typical Causes
Here is a list of the most common problems that can result in a leaking gutter:
- the gutter is damaged - perhaps by a slipped tile or fallen branch
- leaves, moss and pine needles can cause a blockage
- gutter has slipped out of a joint or outlet. Rubber gasket is damaged/old/faulty
- rainwater is dripping behind the gutter onto the roofline fascia and soffit
- gutter is not blocked but is still overflowing (here are some gutter cleaning tools)
Please continue reading for a solution on how to fix a leaking gutter :
1) Damaged Gutter
If the gutter is damaged by a slipped tile or branch etc then there is little choice, you need to either replace the whole length or cut out a section of gutter and replace it along with a new gutter joint.
There are hundreds of different types of gutters around the world, many different sizes and profiles and all made from a variety of materials. You should be able to find a stamp mark somewhere on the gutter or pipe, you can then search on-line for a supplier.
DIY tip: Take a photo or two of your damaged gutter and post a question on one of the many DIY forums on the internet. There are many folks out there who can identify the gutter and tell you what parts you need to replace a section.
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2) Blocked by Leaves Moss etc
If your roof suffers from excessive moss growth, lots of leaves or pine needles etc then your gutters may have become blocked, at the least they will not be performing at their best. Subjected to heavy rainfall, they are likely to overflow.
Consider the following:
- cut back overhanging tree branches
- employ a contractor to periodically clear out gutters AND rainwater pipes
- employ a contractor to scrape the roof moss from the roof and apply a moss killer
- buy a gutter guard product
3) Leaking Gutter Joint or Faulty Rubber Gasket/Seal
One of the most common reasons for a gutter to leak is because it has slipped out of a joint, possibly because of expansion/contraction or by shoddy workmanship. This page has more tips on repairing plastic gutters.
It may be possible to adjust the existing joint before fixing it to the backing board with a screw. The issue of gutter joints leaking has become such a problem in recent years that many manufacturers have now redesigned the joints so they are much wider and less susceptible to expansion and contraction issues.You may be able to buy one of these new wider parts from your local supplier.
Rubber Seals and Gaskets:
These are usually found inside the gutter joint and can be replaced if faulty or become old. Be sure to buy the exact same part.
Re sealing a gutter joint with mastic:
Yes, it is possible to seal a leaky joint with mastic but it is not the preferred method, kinda like a bodge. Here is how to get the most from your planned "bodge":
- never seal the joint from the outside - all gutters experience expansion/contraction in sunlight
- dismantle the joint and clean it thoroughly - it must be cleaned very thoroughly, also clean the gutter edges as well.
- dry the joint and gutter, for a mastic to work it must be 100% dry
- squeeze two lines of mastic into the inside of the joint, insert gutter into joint, scrape off excess mastic and finally, fix the joint to the fascia or backing board with a screw to prevent movement.
It is always best to replace a joint rather than bodging it with sealants and mastics, but the method above should kept the joint leak free for a few years.
Felt to prevent water running behind gutter
4) Rain Water is Dripping or Flowing Behind the Gutter
This can happen in the following circumstances:
- the roof tiles do not overhang into the gutter enough
- gutter is blocked
- gutter is set too low at one end so water cannot flow to the outlet/pipe
- Eaves felt has failed
- broken roof tile*
*if you have a broken roof tile then water may drip onto the roofing underlay felt and down towards the roof edge (eaves) where it doesn't quite make it into the gutter.
- unblock gutters and water test downpipes, unblock as required
- water test gutter, if it fills up and overflows even though it is not blocked, you may need to adjust the height at one end so the water runs freely to the outlet/pipe
- check for broken tile(s) on roof
- if the water is running behind the gutter because the roof tiles do not overhang into it enough, then you have only two options; 1) Ask a contractor to reset two or three courses of roof tiles so you can get an extra inch or two overlap into the gutter or 2) Install a drip felt (eaves felt) to the roof edge (see photo) this will guide any water into the gutter.
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