Man checking leaky gutter corner for a repair
Man checking leaky gutter corner for a repair

How To Fix A Leaky Gutter Corner

Gutters and eavestroughs are vital for directing water away from your roof and foundation. Gutters are vital to directing rainfall and melted snow away from your foundation. As a homeowner you should inspect your gutters at least bi-annually, spring and fall are good times of the year to make sure they are free of debris and are not leaking.

Gutters & Eavestroughs Explained

An eavestrough is a channel that is connected to the eaves, taking the water away from the roof and usually towards a sewer or drainage system. A gutter is a more general term and can mean any place where runoff is stored or directed. Therefore, an eavestrough is essentially a type of gutter.

You will want to call a professional roofing company if there is a leak that is consistently coming back and more than you can handle with a simple DIY patch job. Your home’s gutters take on the duty of protecting your siding from rain runoff and snow melt. Gutters are exposed to extreme weather changes, heavy loads of snow and hailstones (Calgary is known for unpredictable hail storms), clogs of fallen leaves or fallen debris. The longevity of your home’s gutters are typically much shorter than your home’s lifespan

Leaky Gutters

Gutter corners are the most common spots where leaks can form. The main reason is that corners consist of two pieces that connect and the seam is at a natural weak point.

Factors that cause a leaky gutter:

  • Poor quality of the gutter installation
  • Used and old gutters
  • Insufficient or inadequate sealant application
  • Ice and snow pressure
  • The expansion and contraction of the gutters

While it might not seem like a problem, a leaky gutter corner can put unnecessary pressure on your whole drainage system, resulting in damages to your roof and siding. Water can collect where you do not want it to – for example by your foundation and can cause structural damages.

First, identify if the leak is caused by a clog and not just a leak.

Cleaning out your gutters is unfortunately another task to add to the list of yearly homeowner maintenance. But when a leak occurs it could be caused by a faulty system or can be clogged by debris. When rushing rainwater hits a blockage it will gush over that blockage and overpour over the edges of the gutters. 

How to cleaning your gutters:

  1. Grab your ladder and a pair of sturdy work gloves, and take a look inside the rain gutters. If they are full of sodden leaves and smelly muck, it’s likely that your problem isn’t so much a leaking gutter as a spillover. 

  2. Using a small trowel, a gutter scoop, or your gloved hands, clear away as much debris as possible, dropping it into a bucket for disposal. Then use a power washer or the strongest blast from your garden hose to clear away any remaining grunge. 

  3. Once gutters are clean, use your garden hose to fill them up with water, and watch for leaks. If water runs through to the downspout without a hitch, you’ve solved the problem.

Tip: Inspect and clean your gutter bi-anually, during spring and fall are best!

If your gutters are frequently separating or appear to be coming off the roof, or if your fasteners are falling off faster than you can replace them, you need to have that inspected by a licensed roofing company. If you notice water in your basement, it could be a sign of a serious issue with your gutters.

Once your gutters are cleared you can begin to check for cracks and holes. As gutters age, it’s common for them to develop small cracks and holes where gutter sections screw together, due to rust and general wear at the weakest point in the gutters. If the crack and holes are small they can be patched with a silicone caulking, but if there are an excessive amount, call a professional roofing company to inspect further.

Further steps: tighten up loose gutters.

Over time, rain gutters often start to pull away from the roof, allowing water to drip over the gutter sides or between the gutters and the walls. Usually, this is due to gutter fasteners rusting or loosening after years of temperature extremes and exposure to water. Sometimes, the sag is drastic enough to spot just by looking. Sometimes it’s subtle, however, so if you aren’t sure, get a bubble level and check several spots through the leaky gutter section.

There should be no more than a ¼-inch drop in the direction of the downspout.
If it looks like the gutter is loose, check the gutter fasteners. In most homes, these are either spikes or clips.

  • If your gutters are fastened with spikes, and some spikes are loose or rusted, simply hammering the spike back in isn’t likely to solve the problem, as the spike will tend to work its way back out. Instead, replace the spike with a thicker and longer nail, or better yet, a long screw for maximum hold. Rain gutter spikes or screws should be at least seven inches long, and eight is even better.
  • If clips or brackets hold your gutters, check for broken clips and loose or missing screws. Replace broken clips by unscrewing the old clip, and then fastening a new one in place.

How To Fix A Leaky Gutter Corner

Now that it is established that the outpouring water is coming from a leak and not from a clog or loose gutters. While not a permanent fix, you can generally get another season or two out of the gutters (as long as the damage is not extensive) by applying a silicone or rubber gutter caulk or sealant. A waterproof sealing product is easy to use, simply squeeze into cracks and holes, then apply a further coating around the entire gutter joint.

How To Fix A Leaky Gutter Corner:

  1. To identify the exact point of the leak, spray your hose down the gutter to find the spot.
  2. Remove the existing sealant or caulking from the gutters with a putty knife. Please do not add more caulking to the old as it will not provide you with the protection you expect.
  3. Caulk the joints. Use silicone caulk to fill in the area between the gutter and the downspout and press the joint connection together as tightly as you can. Remove excess caulk and apply another bead around the edges.
  4. Clear away all the remaining debris of the caulking. Make sure your gutters are clean and clear.
  5. Take your sealant of choice (we advise using gutter seal), and apply it directly over the seams where the leak is occurring. If the hole is large, you may need to replace your gutters, and a professional recommendation is encouraged.
  6. Do the same for multiple corners if you have more than one leak.
Tip: Silicone caulk adheres best to dry, warm metal. That’s why it’s important to clean and dry the gutters before applying caulk and, if possible, to do the repair on a warm day.

To fix holes in a gutter:

  1. Clean the area around the hole with a wire brush to get away any rust or dirt. Make sure you fully dry the area before the next step.
  2. Apply roofing cement around the hole, then patch it with metal flashing.
  3. Cover the flashing completely with more roofing cement.
While the above process might seem simple, many issues and risks can arise. That’s why repairing the gutter is not a DIY job. Fixing a gutter corner is best handled by a professional roofing company.

Preventing A Leaky Gutter in Calgary

How To Prevent A Leaky Gutter Corner:

Maintenance can keep your gutters in good shape. By following these routine steps for maintenance, can reduce the risks of gutter corner leaks occurring. Having a professional roofing contractor inspect your roof and gutters twice a year can ensure your gutters remain functional, won’t damage your home and increase curb appeal.

  1. Clean rain gutters each spring and fall, removing fallen leaves and grunge
  2. Consider installing qualify leaf guards or mesh over the gutters if your home is surrounded by a lot if deciduous trees.
  3. Sweep heavy loads of fallen leaves off your home’s roof, as these are likely to make their way into the gutters.
  4. Inspect rain gutters annually for cracks, holes, loose or missing screws, and other damage. It’s better to fix problems right away, rather than wait until you find your gutters leaking.
  5. Check downspouts whenever you clean your rain gutters. Run water into the gutter at the top of the downspout, and watch the drainage at the bottom.You might need to run a strong blast of water from your garden hose to dislodge stubborn blockages.
  6. If the downspout is loose, replace or reattach the downspout straps, which are metal brackets that screw into the side of the house to hold the downspout in place. You’ll find downspout straps at most home improvement centres.
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