How to Fix a Gutter That’s Leaking

By Amanda Lutz Updated May 16, 2024

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Gutters play a critical role in managing your home’s water drainage system to keep the property dry. If gutters fail, water might damage your home or put your safety at risk. Read our guide below for tips on inspecting gutters, repairing them, and identifying the causes of gutter issues.

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Gutter Installation

Gutter installation can range anywhere from $1,000 to $6,600.

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Gutter Guards

The average cost of gutter guard installation is typically between $1,000 and $2,000.

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Gutter Repair

The average cost of gutter repair can range from $150 to $630.


Ways to Identify Gutter Leaks

Gutter leaks may not be obvious at first, so carefully inspect the system on a regular basis. Some common signs of gutter leaks are listed here.

The best time to identify a gutter leak is after it rains when small gutter issues are most obvious.


What Causes Gutter Leaks?

Even high-quality gutters that are installed correctly can develop leaks. Your first course of action when you suspect a leak in your gutter system is to locate the problem’s source.

Aging Gutters

Your gutters can deteriorate over time, no matter which type of gutters you install. Aging gutters are susceptible to leaks and can deteriorate quickly whether they’re made of vinyl, copper, or another material.

Clogs

Clogs are the most common cause of gutter leaks. They can occur when debris such as leaves, twigs, or dirt accumulates over time.

Debris that builds up can create blockages that obstruct the flow of water through the system. The trapped water seeps into gutter seams or back up under the roofline. Gutter guards can help prevent large materials from reaching the gutters, but small debris may still get through.

Faulty Joints

Incorrect installation, poor workmanship, or general wear and tear could weaken the joints that connect the gutter system’s different parts. Water can consequently seep through in the form of leaks.

Holes and Cracks

Leaking gutter joints can result from the variables below:

Expansion and contraction caused by temperature fluctuations can weaken the gutter material over time. This may cause structural damage to the rain gutters and water could escape in the form of leaks.


How to Repair Gutter Leaks

Speed is the key to effective gutter repair. The faster you notice the leak and attend to it, the less damage it will likely cause.

Repairing Gutter Holes and Cracks

Gather the tools below before you start repairing minimal gutter holes or cracks.

Step 1: Take Safety Precautions

Put on safety gloves and goggles before starting the gutter repair process to protect yourself from sharp edges and debris. Use a sturdy ladder to access the damaged area. Ask a neighbor or a family member to hold the ladder while you work.

Step 2: Clean the Area

Use a wire brush to clean the area around the hole. Make sure that no debris remains nearby. Lightly sand the surface around the hole to smooth it.

Step 3: Apply Gutter Sealant

Use a metal putty knife to apply a generous amount of waterproof sealant or roofing cement directly over the hole. If the hole is bigger than 1/4 inch, apply the sealant around the hole to prepare it for patching.

Step 4: Cut Patching Material

Use tin snips to cut a piece of patching material that’s slightly larger than the hole. The type of material you use will depend on your house’s style of gutter. The patch should overlap the hole by at least 1 inch on all sides.

Step 5: Secure the Patch

Place the patch over the hole, making sure it covers the damaged area completely. Then apply a layer of roofing cement over the edges of the patch to create a waterproof barrier.

Cleaning Clogged Gutters

If you think a clog is causing your gutter to leak, clean it out as soon as possible. Below is a guide on how to clean gutters.

You’ll need the following items:

Step 1: Take Safety Precautions

Put on safety gloves and goggles to protect your hands from sharp edges and your eyes from flying debris. Always use a sturdy ladder, and ask someone to assist you by holding the ladder firmly on the ground.

Step 2: Remove Debris

Remove the debris that’s clogging the gutter with a gutter scoop or trowel. Remove gutter guards, if you have them, and hose them down. Remove any remaining debris manually.

If you think the downspout is blocked, either flush it with a garden hose or clean it with a plumbing snake.

Step 3: Scrub the Gutter

Once you’ve removed the debris, use a stiff brush or scrubbing pad to clean the gutter’s interior. Scrub away any residue that may be causing the clog. Rinse the gutter and flush out the remaining dirt with a garden hose.

Step 4: Conduct an Inspection

Once the gutters are clean, inspect them for damages. If you see any cracks or holes, repair them.

Step 5: Test the Gutter

Once you’re done with cleaning and repairs, use the garden hose to run water through the gutter. Make sure it flows smoothly, and check again for damages that may not have been obvious at first glance.

Repairing Faulty Gutter Joints

Gather the tools below before you start repairs on a faulty gutter joint:

Step 1: Take Safety Precautions

Put on safety gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes. Use a sturdy ladder and ask a “ladder buddy” to help you secure the ladder.

Step 2: Identify the Faulty Joint

Locate the area where there’s water leaking from the gutter joint. Inspect the joint for any visible signs of damage such as gaps, cracks, or loose connections.

Step 3: Tighten Screws

If the leak is a product of loose screws, use a screwdriver to tighten them. Securely fasten all joints to prevent any further leaks.

Step 4: Apply Gutter Sealant

If the leak persists after you tighten the screws, use a caulking gun to apply a generous amount of silicone caulk to the faulty joint. Smooth out the material with a towel to create a watertight seal. Let the gutter sealant dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions before testing the repaired joint for leaks.

Step 5: Test Your Work

After the sealant dries, run water through the gutter to test the repaired joint. If the gutter problem persists, you may need to replace the joint.


Ways to Prevent Gutter Leaks

To avoid facing gutter leaks, implement the following preventive measures. A few of them are simple home improvement tasks while others are best left for professional help.

Clean Gutters Regularly

Clean your gutters at least once a year, checking for damage as you remove debris, leaves, and dirt. You can usually identify a problem before it turns into costly foundation or roof repair.

You can also consider outsourcing gutter cleaning to professionals. Hiring professional gutter cleaning services is more expensive than taking a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, but delegating this task could lead to better results.

Install Gutter Guards

Consider installing gutter guards to prevent debris buildup. Gutter guards act as a physical barrier, allowing water to flow freely while keeping leaves and other debris out. You must still inspect your gutters regularly and remove debris from the guards.

Periodic Professional Inspections

Schedule periodic inspections by a professional gutter service to assess the condition of your gutters. Professional inspections can help detect leaks, damaged components, or faulty joints. Experts may find problems that aren’t immediately clear to homeowners.


Our Recommendation

A leaky gutter can easily become a serious issue, so quickly resolve problems that appear. To prevent leaks, implement regular gutter maintenance strategies like cleaning, inspections, and gutter guard installation. Consider hiring professional gutter cleaners to receive strong service.

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Gutter Leaking FAQ

How can I stop my gutters from leaking?

To stop gutters from leaking, find the source of the problem. This could be a clog, a hole, or faulty joints. Then start gutter repairs accordingly.

Why is water dripping under my gutters?

Water is likely dripping under your gutters because the gutters are clogged or damaged. Clean and inspect the gutters to find the specific source of the problem. Also consider whether there’s a larger roof leak or issues with fascia boards or shingles that could be leading to pooled water.

Can you fix a leaking gutter?

Yes, you can fix a leaking gutter by sealing small holes, applying patches, or fixing loose joints. Inspect the gutter to find the source of the problem.

What happens if your gutters leak?

If gutters leak, water could damage your home and cause mold growth, water stains, or structural issues.

What are the common causes of gutter leaks?

The most common causes of gutter leaks are clogs, holes, and faulty joints. Check for broken end caps, damaged gutter sections, and issues along your house’s drip edge as you try to fix leaking gutters.