How to Repair Gutter Leaks

What You'll Need
Extension ladder
Steel wool
Warm water
Sealing putty
Plastering trowel or utility knife

Gutter leaks can cause large amounts of water to flow down the side of your house which can cause cosmetic or structural damage. Gutters are used to collect excess water during rainfall which will be diverted away and drained. Gutter leaks often appear at joints and downspouts and need to be fixed quickly to prevent damage to the structure of your roof or home. This can be done easily by a novice DIY enthusiast.

Step 1 - Scrub Crack

Use an extension ladder to gain access to the gutter. Scrub the area around the crack so a small replacement sheet of plastic will fit tightly into place. Use a small piece of steel wool and scrub the crack gently to provide a clean, etched surface. Have a small pot of warm water on hand to keep dipping the wool into to reduce friction and debris. Use a piece of sandpaper to smooth the edges of the crack and remove any plastic fibres sticking out with a pair of scissors.

Step 2 - Replacement Patch

Cut a small replacement patch of strong plastic using a large pair of scissors. Try and use the same type of plastic that has been used for the gutter system. This can be bought from building supply stores. Try and cut an even square or rectangular shape. Make sure you use a strong and durable plastic which will last in varying weather conditions. Some plastics will last for a long time even though they will be subjected to constantly varying temperatures and moisture. Make sure you cut the plastic with a small excess of roughly one inch. This will ensure the crack is completely covered.

Step 3 - Apply Patch

Take a small amount of sealing putty to attach to the patch. Use your fingers to mold the putty onto the back of the plastic patch and press it firmly into place. Make sure you cannot see the crack from top to bottom. Do not worry about any excess putty that oozes out. This will go hard and can be simply removed later. If you have not cut the patch large enough, remove it before the putty has a chance to solidify. Make any adjustments with a fresh plastic patch and re-apply.

Step 4 - Tidy the Patch

Use a plastering trowel or utility knife to cut away any excess of sealing putty. This will help to make your replacement patch look more professional. You should be left with a small plastic patch, attached using a strong putty, which will stop any water from leaking through the crack.

Step 5 - Check

Finally, check you have repaired the gutter leak. Pour a small amount of water down the gutter and check to see that no water is leaking from the area of the crack. Water should not be able to penetrate through the putty after it has solidified. If it does, add a small amount of the putty to the under side of the gutter. You should be left with a slick and professionally repaired gutter leak that does not stick out like a sore thumb.