How to Repair Leaking or Separated Gutter Downspouts
Household gutter systems are prone to leakage, caused by separated or leaking gutter downspouts. A gutter downspout is in the form of a hollow, pipe-like tube that collects the drainage water from the gutter and drains it away into the drainage or water-renewal system. Downspouts are susceptible to jarring and other forms of surface injuries induced by vibrations in the surrounding ground. Leaking or separated gutter downspouts can be easily repaired using some basic tools and the following guidelines.
Step 1—Getting Started: Basic Safety & Separating Downspouts
Prepare yourself by wearing plastic gloves and some form of protective clothing. Downspouts often develop chemical residues that lead to vapors that can induce allergic reactions. Identify the leaking part of the downspout. It is easy to separate the leaking downspout since it is wedged and surrounded by small pieces that can be easily dissembled.
You may need a putty knife to remove the grime or debris that sometimes cements the gutter installations. There might be screws securing the downspout. Most of them have a very simple layout and can be easily removed with a screwdriver. The screwdriver is also helpful for dabbing on the old straps securing the spout to knock-off the grime and loosen them as well.
Step 2—Inspecting & Cleaning Leaking, Cracked Downspout
Inspect the leaking downspout. Most of the leaks are due to broken silicone or caulk joints. These joints are prone to breaking due to the downspout surface issues, internal water pressure and action of chemical solvents found in water. Using a knife, cut-off the existing silicone or caulk layer. This is needed for two purposes. Firstly, you need to free the joint from the old sealing material to re-seal it. Secondly, this enables you to inspect the extent of damage. Repairing the leaking or separated gutter downspout only makes sense if the crack can be properly re-sealed without compromising the structural integrity of the gutter system. Otherwise, seeking a replacement is recommended.
Step 3—Cleaning & Re-sealing Leaking Gutter Downspout
Using a brush and a solution made of water and dish soap, clean the joints of the leaking downspout. This is vital for the bonding that will establish the sealing compound. Use silicone-strength caulk for re-sealing. Silicone caulk is more impervious to water-induced damage. Insert the silicone caulk tube into the caulk gun. Using a knife, slice-off tip of silicone caulk tube. Ensure to maintain an angle of about 45 degree while slicing the tube. This ensures a smooth stream of caulk. Ensure that you squeeze-out a thick bead of silicone for re-sealing only onto dry surfaces.
Step 4—Conducting Other Repairs in Separated Downspout
Re-inspect the downspout, using the putty knife. It is often seen that rusted clips lead to joint separations within the downspout. Similarly, broken anchors or straps are responsible for separation of downspouts. Please replace the broken or rusted clips and straps rather than trying to repair them. Use new screws for re-anchoring the straps. It is advised that you use corrosion-resistant, galvanized metal screws.
Step 5—Securing Leaking, Separated Downspouts
Complete the project by securing the repaired downspout within the gutter system. To provide greater resistance against possible leaks in the future, you can use some of the silicone caulk around the downspout, i.e. around its original installation site in the gutter system. This form of additional silicone can be coated with a bit of approximation, in and around any areas or joints that seem susceptible to damage. You can further secure the silicone-strengthened surface with some roofing cement.