Repairing leakage at aluminum gutter joint

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Old 07-03-13, 10:22 AM
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Repairing leakage at aluminum gutter joint

I have aluminum gutters with a corner on the second story of my house that insists on leaking despite my attempting to fix it three times. The corner leaks onto my wood deck, which I am in the process of refinishing. Preventing further damage is a high priority.

On my first attempt, I admit that I probably did not clean the area properly and put a bead of silicone down the joint. It promptly rained later that evening and leaked worse than I have ever seen.

On my second attempt, I applied more silicone to the area on top of the original materials to little effect.

On my third attempt, I removed ALL the old material with a putty knife. I also scrubbed it with a wire brush and cleaned it thoroughly with a wet cloth and dried it with a dry cloth. I generously applied some silicone that was specially intended for gutter repair. It was allowed to dry for over the 3 hours recommended on the instructions. I used my finger to push the silicone right into the crack. That was about a week ago.

Last night it rained for the first time since my repair and.... the gutter leaked onto my deck.

I'm tearing my hair out and would love to get back up there and try again, but I'm leery of that alcoholics anonymous quote: the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over expecting different results. I don't have any new ideas and all the advice I get on YouTube and on this site tells me I'm doing the right thing.

Can anybody help?
 
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Old 07-03-13, 10:33 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Maybe if you post a few pics we might see something you are missing - http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
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Old 07-03-13, 12:22 PM
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The biggest problem I see on all gutter joints (and in the age of seamless gutters, this is usually just the corners) is that there is no actual support to prevent movement. Once things start moving, they break all the seals.

A gutter piece that seems unsung and often never even mentioned is a Slip Joint Connector. Laying a straight piece in a corner and sealing and screwing it looks like it will work, but it wears out quickly and the sealing breaks. Using a seamer helps, but not nearly enough. If you use a joiner, you will have a sandwiched connection at the corner and at the straight piece. Tie that in with some sealer and screws or rivets and you have a corner that isn't' going anywhere.

Unfortunately, this adds at least $5.00 in parts for each corner and a bit of labor. If you are paying someone to do your gutters, that person might either not have them, or decide that they aren't needed because the "normal" sealing will last a year or two anyway. Trying to install them later takes a lot more effort because you need to undo all the old corners, clean all former sealant, cut to fit, and reinstall.

I'm in the process of doing this to all the corners that I have. Some are very tight fits, but they seem to be fixing all the leaking problems I had.

EDIT: how I install them;
0) Drill holes for rivets at the seams of the joiners (if using rivets)
1) Pry open the seams on the joiners a bit and fill with sealant
2) Press the edge of the corner and gutter into the ends of the joiner
3a) drill through old holes in joiner to make holes in corner and gutter
3b) pop rivets OR;
3c) screw self-tapping screws through joiner and gutter and corner
4) add more sealant if needed and spread all around

After climbing a 20 foot ladder multiple times for all the equipment I needed, I forgot step 4 at one corner. It leaked during the first rain, but has not leaked since. *shrug*.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 12:58 PM
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Thanks for the advice so far. I will try to get some pictures to post. I'm not sure if there is much movement; the gutters are only 11 years old and in decent shape except that the caulking is starting to wear out.

Would a corner box like this one do the trick? Peak | Aluminum Gutter 4 Inch Inside Corner Box Mitre - White | Home Depot Canada.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 01:08 PM
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That corner should be fine. But I still suggest getting those joiners from the store while you are there. I doubt that my gutters are more than five years old (hard to tell since I just purchased it), but all those corners were leaking as well prior to my repairs.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 05:07 PM
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Best gutter repair material ever is a brushable sealant made by Geocel. Also sold under the name Watershield.

Just google "Geocel brushable". They used to make one that was liquid that was even better... Geocel 2310, I think. You could just pour it in and let it self level.
 
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Old 07-04-13, 10:31 AM
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No leak found, but plenty of dirt

So I used the ladder to get up to my second story and brought my tablet to take a picture. I also brought a bottle of water to test the seal.

My roof is not prone to accumulations of leaves and twigs, but there was plenty of dirt in the gutters, which you can see in the picture.

When I poured the water into the corner, I checked for bubbles and leaks but could not find any. However, the water pooled in the area and didn't run off anywhere. So it is good news that I didn't waste more time and money replacing the seal, but it looks like my gutters probably need a clean.

So, any advice on how to clean the gutters myself, safely and effectively?
 
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Old 07-04-13, 11:03 AM
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If there is no leak in the gutter itself, check the back of the gutter. It should be tucked behind a flashing (gutter apron or drip edge) so that you can't actually "see" the back top part of the gutter. If you can see it, water coming off the roof can partially run behind the gutter and drip from the back of the gutter, which may look like a gutter "leak".

As for cleaning the gutters, they make a "gutter cleaning telescoping wand" attachment for your hose that is curved, in case you can't get up to see inside the gutter. Gutters don't have to be "clean" per se, they just have to be free of debris that would clog them. Leaves and twigs mostly.
 
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Old 07-23-13, 09:43 AM
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Are you putting just a narrow bead of the stuff right over the crack and nowhere else? Try again, but this time be generous with it. Put it into that joint, smooth it in for an even surface, then go a few inches in either direction with it over the length of the joint from one side to the other. When I did one of my corners the instructions on the seam sealer said one tube should cover two cracks. I used a little over one on the same crack. Using extra won't hurt you as long as you smooth the bed out so it doesn't impede the water flow.

You can do this with gutter cement and some people like to use flashing cement or roofing cement for a stronger repair. The important thing is to clean the area thoroughly and then overlap the patch onto each length of gutter by a good amount so water won't sneak through.

Also, don't be surprised if you clean your gutters and still get mild amounts of pooled water after heavier rain. It happens on most gutter systems to one degree or another. For aesthetic reasons, the usual slope is just too mild to evacuate every single last drop of water from the system. A half inch or so may be left sitting at corners or certain other areas. What's more important then seeing 100% of the water drain out is that when it rains the pressure of the water flowing off the roof is enough to keep everything flowing easily to the downspout without getting backed up and overflowing anywhere.
 

Last edited by eharri3; 07-23-13 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 07-23-13, 02:32 PM
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Still getting leaks...

eharri3,

Thanks for the advice... I used the "bead" approach the first time I sealed it, but since then I have removed the original silicone and cleaned the area before applying a generous amount of special silicone intended for gutters. I don't think that lack of sealant is the problem. The water pooled and did not leak out when tested. I even put some silicone high up in the outside corner, to no avail. It still leaks out, a drop at a time, from my second story roof which is a killer for my wooden deck (if the deck wasn't there I probably wouldn't care).

I can't find a professional willing to come out because the job is too small. However, I did speak to a gutter repair man on the phone who told me that I might need a drip edge to go inside underneath the shingle. The idea of this is to prevent water from running out the back. Looking at my shingle though, it seems there is a fair amount of overhang. It's hard to see how a drip edge would help.
 
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Old 07-23-13, 02:37 PM
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If water is pooling there, but sealing doesn't stop it, the leak might be in a completely different area and riding along the edge of the gutter and finally dropping down at that corner.

Does it drip when you manually fill up that corner without any other part of the gutter being wet?
 
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Old 07-24-13, 11:01 AM
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Michael,

The seal does not leak when water is poured into the gutter corner.
 
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Old 07-24-13, 11:53 AM
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The reputable companies don't normally charge all that much to do a full cleaning and then include any leak sealing or adjustments in that price. I was recently quoted 279$ for my 2000 sq foot 3 story colonial.
 
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