Gutters are not a state-of-the-art waterproofing method. They are not glamorous or complicated. Gutters are just open pipes that usually sit at the lower edge of the roof. Their purpose is to collect roof water and to direct it away from your home. Without gutters, rainwater from the roof would just run down your walls and soak the soil around your home’s perimeter, ruining the wall paint and putting your foundation in danger.
This is why it is essential to keep your gutters in the best possible shape. Even the smallest problem regarding gutters can cause serious issues for you and your Kansas City, MO home. As a homeowner, you need to understand what causes your gutters to drip so you can take steps to repair the problem as quickly as possible and prevent future leaks as well.
Causes of Leaky Gutters
Pay attention to signs of the following gutter problems and you will find what has caused the dripping in the first place.
When it comes to gutters, clogs are very common. If you do not maintain your gutters properly, they can quickly fill up with leaves, dirt, and debris. Since the water is not able to go through the pipe, it will pour over the edge and soak the ground around your house. If you are dealing with a clog, you will be able to spot it as soon as you take a closer look at your gutter.
Cracks and Holes
Even if you splurged on gutters of the highest quality, they might eventually develop tiny cracks or holes. When this happens, you will notice minor leaks. If you do not address the problem, the leaks will become bigger over time. When you notice that your gutter is dripping, inspect the area and see if you can spot any cracks or holes. If you cannot find the problem, take your garden hose and pour water into the gutter. Check the bottom side and see where the water leaks out.
Inadequately Sealed or Separated Joints
If the joints were not properly sealed during the installation, they will begin to leak. Also, over time they can start to separate. Check your gutters in places where sections are connected and see if the leak is occurring around those areas. If the problem has been present for a while, you may be able to see the separation with your naked eye. However, you may have to pour some water into the gutters to determine that this is the cause of the problem.
Your gutters should slope downward so that water can flow towards the downspouts. If an improper slope is the cause of the problem, your gutters will begin to sag under the weight of the water.
Usually, screws, nails, or hangers are used to keep gutters in place. These are driven through the side of the gutter and into the boards. When these become loose, water can start to drip from the holes. This can be a huge problem since this water will run down the fascia boards and cause them to rot. This is why this issue should be addressed as quickly as possible before it escalates and you have to spend a lot of money on repairs.
Fixing the Problem
There are several ways you can fix leaky gutters. Replacing them is not always necessary. Depending on the cause of the problem, here are several ways you can repair the damage:
- Remove the Clog
If roof water is spilling over the sides of the gutter due to a clog, put on a pair of work gloves and check out your rain gutter. Use a small trowel, a gutter scoop, or even just your hands to remove as much debris as possible and place it into a trash bin. Afterward, use your garden hose or a power washer if you have one to remove any remaining dirt.
- Seal the Cracks
When your gutters have begun to deteriorate and water is leaking through the cracks, you can get another couple of seasons out of the gutters if you use a silicone gutter caulk or sealant. However, if the damage is extensive, replacing your old gutters with new ones is your best option. After all, the cost of new gutters cannot be compared to the cost of foundation repair.
- Replace the Joint
When a loose joint is causing the problem, replacing the old sealant that is no longer watertight is a good option. However, sometimes replacing the joint might be necessary.
- Tighten up Loose Fasteners
If you determine that loose fasteners are causing the problem, consider replacing them, especially if they have begun to rot. On the other hand, sometimes tightening the fasteners and applying caulking or sealant around them will get the job done.
- Re-hang the Gutters
When the gutters are not properly sloped, taking them down and re-hanging them is, unfortunately, the only option you have. However, if only some sections are sagging while others are in order, you can re-hang just those sections and save time.
- Maintaining the Gutters
Just like other parts of your home, gutters also need maintenance. If you want them to stay in good shape for the longest time, you need to take care of them. So how can you do that?
Make sure you clean them twice a year, preferably in spring and fall. If your home is surrounded by large trees, consider installing gutter guards. Also, sweep fallen leaves off your roof so they do not end up in the gutters. Another thing you can do to prolong their life is to inspect them once a year for cracks, holes, loose screws, and other damage.
If you are worried that your leaky gutters have caused damage to your foundation, contact the professionals at Foundation Recovery Systems and schedule a free inspection.