If you know how to fix leaking gutters, you can prevent serious water damage to roofs, sidings, and foundations. These simple steps will help you select and apply the right sealants for fixing leaks, mending cracks, and repairing end caps to keep rain gutters fully functional.
Gutters and downspouts are essential components of every roof. They collect and carry away rainwater that could otherwise cause major damage to siding, soil, and foundations.
Exposure to tough weather conditions can create holes, cracks, leaks, and corrosion, all of which prevent gutters from functioning properly. Rust buildup can eat through steel, while copper or aluminum gutters can be ruptured by branches or precipitation. The seams connecting gutters can deteriorate, which causes leaks and drips. Damaged gutters might begin to sag, leading to overflow and spillage.
It’s crucial to carry out any repairs and apply patches and seals immediately, before moisture accumulates and causes serious damage to the house. Read on to find out how to fix gutters and repair troublesome leaks and breaks before damage occurs.
Broken seams and corner joints are common causes of leaks and drips. Some breaks need to be patched or replaced, but professionals bond many seams using a powerful sealant. Here’s how to fix leaking gutter seams.
- Clean the gutter. Remove all debris. You may need to use a putty knife to scoop out leaves or other buildup. Scrub away rust with a wire brush or cut it away with aviation snips. If possible, flush out gutters with a garden hose, then allow them to air-dry for a clean fix.
- Get ready to seal. For sealing and joining lap seams in aluminum or vinyl gutters and downspouts, we recommend a permanently flexible and water resistant sealant. It creates a powerful and waterproof protective seal, making it perfect for repairing not only gutters but also doorframes, windows, vents, toys, appliances, gaskets, weather-stripping, and even clothing.
- Apply the sealant. Apply the sealant with a steady pressure, forcing sealant into the joint. Press the materials together. If possible, clamp the parts firmly together. The seal will be fully cured in 24 hours.
Because they’re directly exposed to harsh environmental conditions, even the toughest gutters can develop cracks. This can also happen if the sealant dries out and splits over time. Here’s how to caulk gutters and repair gutter cracks using glues and sealants designed for durable bonding in outdoor conditions.
1. Prepare the gutter. Again, it’s essential that the area to be fixed be clean of leaves and other debris. Use protective gloves and exercise safety when using ladders or climbing roofs.
2. Prepare the sealant. Many factors play a role in choosing the right sealant for gutter leak repair. Common product features considered by gutter leak repair professionals include:
- Resistance to water and moisture
- Drying time
- Ease of application
Loctite PL Roof and Flashing Polyurethane Sealant meets all these criteria and more. It’s a commercial-grade sealant formulated for sealing exterior gaps and joints. Flexible even after application, it’s resistant to weather, UV radiation, moisture, and corrosion and creates durable seals on most gutter types.
3. Apply the sealant. Force the sealant into the crack using steady pressure. The depth of the sealant applied should be about half the width of the fissure. The sealant will “skin” over the crack and dry within 24 hours. The gutter will be functional within three days, but full cure requires about a week. Cut away any cured sealant overflow with a sharp-edged tool.
While older gutter systems can be made of sheet metal or copper with soldered seams and end caps, most newer gutters are seamless aluminum, which reduces breakages. However, these systems can still feature end caps that deteriorate over time. Here’s how to fix gutter end caps.
- Prepare the end cap. Again, surfaces must be clean and free of debris. Scrape away caulk or mastic remnants with a putty knife. If the end cap is dislodged, clean the inside before resealing. Tap the edges of the end cap with a hammer to position it firmly, if necessary.
- Get the sealant ready. We recommend Loctite Stik’n Seal Outdoor, a versatile, high-performance adhesive sealant that’s easy to use and works well for mending aluminum gutters. It forms a waterproof and weatherproof bond that creates a tight seal as it dries, resulting in a superior seal.
- Apply the sealant. Apply Loctite Stik’n Seal to both surfaces to be bonded, then press them together. The adhesive will set in about 10 minutes; allow 24 hours for full bonding, depending on humidity and moisture.