How to Repair a Leaky Seam on a Gutter

John Stevens J.D.

Because gutter systems are subject to extreme elements, such as wind, sunlight, water and, in some regions, snow, leaks from the gutter’s seams are common. If left unrepaired, the leaks can cause serious damage to the structure’s foundation.

Thankfully, repairing a leak from a gutter seam is easy to do and takes only a few minutes.

  1. Note which of the two gutter pieces rests inside the other piece. Except for the rare occasion when the home sits perfectly level, the water which flows through the gutter will only flow in one direction. Gutters are installed in a manner that prevents debris from getting caught on the seems of gutter pieces. The gutter piece that rests inside the other gutter piece is called the uphill piece. Water will flow down the uphill piece into the second gutter piece, referred to as the downhill piece. It is important to note which piece is the uphill piece.

  2. Disassemble the gutter pieces that form the seam. Because a seam exists when two gutter pieces converge, it is necessary to disassemble the two pieces to access the caulking area. The vast majority of gutter pieces are held together with a number of screws. Remove the screws with a screwdriver, then pull the two pieces apart.

  3. Clean away any old calking material and other debris from both parts of the joint with a stiff wire brush. This is particularly important if the area is coated with rust, which is a common result of gutter leaks.

  4. Coat the inner lip of the downhill gutter portion with silicone caulking, which can be applied with a caulking gun.

  5. Lower the uphill gutter piece into the downhill piece, then press the uphill and downhill pieces together for a few seconds to ensure that the caulking is evenly distributed.

  6. Reassemble the gutter pieces that form the seam with a screwdriver to complete the repair. The same screws removed from the pieces can be reused.

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