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Fixing Gutters

Anthony Schlotzer 'fixing gutters' blog post

Can you fix my gutters? This is a common request in Adelaide (as I am sure it is in much of the world). Typically when a home owner asks me to fix gutters, it's because a section of guttering overflows or leaks. Generally the rest of the gutters are ok.........or are they? Can you fix a section of guttering?

The short answer is can. However, (and this is the big but) more often than not, there is reason for the gutter overflowing in that section - and fixing that section often leads to issues in other parts of the guttering. Often the profiles don't match and you get leaks where the new guttering was put in anyway. Let's look at typical reasons why you may have a trouble spot.

Why you have a trouble spot in your gutters

There are two main reasons why you may have a trouble spot in the guttering, these are

  • the fall being set incorrectly or been adjusted over time

  • debris in the gutter blocking the flow

  • too much catchment area for the gutters to handle

Let's look at each of these reasons a little more closely

Incorrect fall

Now this fault is a common problem and is either due to poor installation or the fall being adjusted sometime after installation. If the fall was set incorrectly from the start, you will usually notice this after the first or second downpour and will get the gutter installer to come back and fix the problem - the job will be well and truly under warranty. So with the first reason for incorrect fall taken care of, let's look more closely at the reasons why they may of adjusted over time.

Reasons why your gutters may of adjusted over time

The most common reasons for the fall adjusting over time are:

Debris and silt being left in gutter for long periods. This will slowly weigh the gutter down until the fall is adjusted

An addition is added to the gutter which adjusts the fall. I generally see this when someone adds a pergola or other structure and decides to use the existing gutter. Generally they will put pressure on the gutter which will modify the fall. This may occur when putting screws in or other fixings.

Debris in the gutter blocking the flow

If left unchecked, gutters will fill with debris and hold water. Generally a layer of sludge will be found in the bottom with lighter leafs on top. Over time these leafs will break down with more leafs on top until such time as a blockage forms. This can be easily prevented with regular maintenance but can cause lasting damage if left too long. This is because the weight of the silt and water held in the gutter causes the fall to adjust over time. I know a lot of households are too busy to clean gutters - and it can be dangerous - so if you fit into one of these categories, check out my blog on the 3 best ways to keep your gutters clean.

When a blockage occurs, the water will need to find a way out and if a join is near, they may leak or worse yet overflow. Generally you will not notice water overflowing from the front of the gutter, as more often than not the water will seep out the back of the gutter at the fascia. The water may also flow out into the eaves. Which causes even more damage!

Too much water catchment area for the gutter

This may seem obvious but it happens all the time. I see houses that have been built with too few down pipes and additions put on with out increasing gutter size. Sometimes this can be fixed easily...............sometimes not!

Leaking internal gutter corner

So coming back to the original question? Can you fix my gutter? Generally the answer is yes, however normally it is very much a band aid solution for a systemic problem. So I would rather not. I would rather fix the CAUSE of the problem and FIND A SOLUTION to the cause of the problem. Sure this may cost a bit more and in some cases quite a bit more, but it saves so much heart ache and hassle in the future.

There is the odd occasion where fixing the gutter is the best solution but this is pretty rare. For example, the gutters may be very old, in good condition but the silicone at the joins has just weathered or broken down. In this case sure, clean the joins and re-silicone them to stop the leaks. Unfortunately, this is an exception.

If you find a guttering contractor who tells you he can fix it.....proceed with caution, you will probably pay a high price for a band aid solution. Remember, if you want some honest advice, just get in contact with me.

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