repair larger holes in gutters by covering them with patches. Take a sheet-metal patch, embed it in roofing cement, and then apply another coat of cement over the patch, as shown at left.
If your region delivers abundant rainfall, you may want to have your downspout run into a dry well. The well should be a hole 2 to 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep, or a 55-gallon drum—with both ends removed and filled with rocks—that you’ve buried and punctured with holes. Underground drainage pipes should slope to the dry well, which will keep water away from the house’s foundation. Check your local building codes before installing.
Overflowing Rain Gutters
Gutters that overflow can present serious problems to your home’s walls and foundation. If your gutters overflow during a heavy rain, either the gutters and/or downspouts are clogged, the gutters are sagging and thereby preventing water from reaching the downspouts, or the gutters and downspouts are not large enough to handle the volume of rain runoff.
In most cases, gutters overflow because leaves and debris are clogging them, essentially creating dams that prevent water from flowing to the outlets above the downspouts. In fact, these clogs often occur right at the outlets. When this is the case, it’s time to clean out the gutters. (For more about this, see Rain Gutter Cleaning & Maintenance.)
Gutters that sag are a different issue—and the more they fill up with water, the more likely they are to sag because they become so heavy when full. If the gutters overflow but are not sagging or clogged, you will probably need to install new, larger downspouts and gutters.
Sagging Rain Gutters
When full of water, rain gutters can become extremely heavy. As a result, the types made of flexible materials such as aluminum, vinyl, and galvanized steel can begin to bend and sag and their hangers to loosen. As this happens, they cease to do a good job of draining rainwater efficiently, allowing water to pool along their lengths. This, of course, just exacerbates the problem, making them heavier and causing them to sag even more.
To determine if your rain gutters sag, check for signs of standing water or water marks along the inner sides of the gutters. With a level, check the slope—gutters should drop about 1/4 inch for every 10 feet of run toward the downspouts.
To fix them, you may need to replace the hangers or, at the very least, re-seat them. If the gutters are held by spike-and-ferrule hangers, use a hammer to drive the long spike, making sure it goes into solid wood. If it does not grab securely, you may need to replace it with an even longer galvanized nail or, better yet, a long screw.
To tighten clip-style gutter hangers, you will need to lift the roofing material along the eaves and refasten the hangers to the sheathing. Be careful not to crack or create holes in the roofing.
Downspouts may break loose from the gutter outlet or between sections. This often happens when elbows in the sections become clogged with debris.
Take the sections apart and clean out the debris. Then, to refasten them, push the downspout sections and/or elbows together, drill pilot holes if necessary, and fasten them with two 3/8-inch #8 galvanized sheet metal screws. (Don’t use longer screws because debris will hang on them.) Be sure the anchor straps that hold the downspouts to the wall are secure.
Fasten the top downspout to the S-curve outlet with one or two screws at each joint for easy removal for regular cleaning.
Downspouts that dump rainwater right at the base of your exterior walls can create serious problems. As water pools and soaks into the soil, it can eventually work its way into the foundation. For this reason, it is important to direct rainwater away from the house.
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.
We offer several different downspout drain sizes depending on how much water flow there will be on your home’s gutter system.
It does not matter if you have a poured concrete foundation, block crawl space or stone foundation, water is the number one enemy to any type of foundation. Water infiltration through basement walls, poor gutters, bad drainage and subsurface water all lead to leaky, wet basements and crawlspaces. By stopping this water infiltration you will be protecting the value of your home and your health.
Downspout drains are a very important part of the storm water drainage system on your home or business. These downspout drains are responsible for taking the water from your roof, gutters, and downspouts out away from the foundation. If water continues to saturate your foundation and surrounding soil, very expensive repairs may be a short few years down the road. Excessive moisture around the foundation promotes settling, termite infiltration, landscape damage, mold, mildew, pressure on foundation walls, and many other costly problems.
Home builders often use 3″ thin wall pipe and cheap fittings during initial construction for the downspout drains. We offer a couple options for a higher quality pipe and fittings. Another problem that we often run into is that the downspout drains are installed before the dirt around the newly dug foundation has settled. This causes the downspout drains to separate from the downspouts only a few years after construction.
Another problem that we run into is that the home builders will tie to many down spouts into one 3″ pipe. This creates a volume issue and during periods of heavy rain the drain will overflow next to the foundation. There is also the problem of companies using cheap styrene 90 degree elbows and T fittings instead of wye fittings in an effort to save pennies per fitting so they can keep the prices more attractive to builders. These cheap fittings often crack very easily and don’t allow the water to flow efficiently, in addition to making it nearly impossible for successful routine drain cleaning maintenance. We use only the best materials available.