Rain gutters are usually the part of a home’s exterior that are the most taken for granted, until something goes wrong. Gutter repair can be a simple matter if done right. There are a few essential tools and precautions to be aware of when cleaning and repairing gutters, that can make the job go much more smoothly.
The most common problem that occurs with gutters and downspouts is clogging. Gutters are subject to clogs from all kinds of debris, including bits of asphalt from shingles, leaves, and other organic matter. Clogs may be common, but they are the simplest problem to remedy. The first step is to remove any debris that can easily be removed by hand. For the rest, a garden hose equipped with a power nozzle will wash dirt and grit down toward the downspout.
The downspout can also become blocked, which gets a bit more difficult. If this happens, reach down through the opening of the downspout and pull out as much debris as possible. It’s important to wear rubber gloves for this step, since exposed metal edges can be very sharp. If the downspout fails to flow freely after this, a small auger or pipe snake will usually do the job.
After clogs, the next most common gutter repair issue that one will encounter is a loose gutter. This is usually caused by nails or gutter hangers working themselves loose. If gutter nails were used, then the more stable gutter hangers can be substituted. At least three types of gutter hangers can be used, depending on the homeowner’s preference and the type of gutter. In some cases, the problem may be that the roof fascia -- which the gutter is attached to -- has deteriorated, making this a roof repair issue rather than a gutter repair.
The third most common gutter repair is to fix leaking around joints and downspouts. Patching the leak or replacing a section will generally solve the problem. For patching, the area must be cleaned and sanded to remove any debris. The hole can then be closed using fiberglass mesh with roofing cement to keep it in place. Replacing a damaged section is simply a matter of cutting a suitable length, fitting it into the assembly, and drilling sheet metal screws through the point where the new section overlaps.
Another, less common problem related to the last one is that a downspout can sometimes become disconnected. This is the result of damaged or poor connections. The best thing to do, if possible, is to refit the connections and fasten them together with nails or rivets. As with most gutter repair jobs, a sturdy pair if rubber gloves will come in handy here, to reduce the risk of injury.