How do you reseal a leaking corner in a gutter?

I work in a business that is not very exciting in North Vancouver.  I wish I was a secret agent or something. To pass the time while I wait for the CIA to call, I blog about things like gutters. I know, this is NOT the most thrilling and compelling subject to talk about. In fact, chance are, you most likely never even notice yours until something goes completely wrong with them. After which it is the wrong type of excitement.

Gutters and downspouts collect and carry away rainwater from your roof. If you have them and they are working fine – you don’t notice them. If they are not working, the water from your roof splashes all over the place, on your decks and walkways, it will cause erosion in your landscaping, and permanently stain the siding. More essential, gutters and downspouts make up the first type of defense against a wet basement or crawl space: Should you let water collect across the foundation, hydrostatic pressure will build, and water will ultimately find its way indoors. Gutter systems are not a very expensive piece of the over construction of your home – in fact most people spend more money on a real nice fridge than on a new gutter system.

Corner repair required on this gutter system.
This mitred corner is obviously leaking and needs repair

For the do-it-yourselfers, we’ll teach you how you can reseal a leaking corner joint or a seam in your existing gutter system. These are simple repairs anyone can do after a little practice.  This tip is only if you have metal alluminum or steel gutters.  If you have rubber membrane, hidden gutters, or EPDM membrane gutters, see here:

  • You first need to clean your gutters thoroughly. If you have a little standing water, try to dam it up away from the corner using a sponge or an old rag.
  • You need to remove the old caulking. You cannot add more caulking to old. The bond will not be permanent, and the leak will eventually return. You can scrape this out, but most of our installers use a drill bit. They press the drill bit in and try to grab hold or bite the caulking. With one zip of the drill, it will come out in one piece.
  • Once the caulking is out, you need to clean the metal very good. Mix up a batch of soapy dishwater solution in a bucket. You can use rubbing alcohol. Try to remove as much dirt, grime, and any grease left over before you reseal it.
  • The product most local gutter companies use is Tremco 830. It’s specially made for the gutter installation industry. Try to avoid the clear, as the UV rays from the sun break it down quicker. Be liberal when applying the sealant directly onto the seam that leaks. Use your fingers, and get the sealant right into the seam, and up both inside walls of the gutter. Use a little water to spread it out nicely. Remember – this is the inside of a gutter – no one looks here. Better to get it right than to have it leak again.

Any questions – feel free to ask.  Always looking for new ideas to blog on, so if you have any, don’t hesitate to post your request.

Troy Thompson

North Shore Home Services Ltd.

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