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How to Repair Hidden Gutters

Hidden gutters are typically found in historic houses. As the name implies, these gutters are hidden and built into cornices and are not visible. Leaks in this gutter system can cause a lot of damage as the water leaks into the walls or roof. Repairs can be difficult and depending on the extent of the damage and restoration, professionals recommend complete replacement instead of repair. A much easier way to repair the gutters is to apply a waterproof membrane over the gutters. This can be done by anyone, as there is no welding involved. Patching the gutters with metal requires welding experience and this is dangerous up on the roof.

Inspect the gutters to determine which areas need to be repaired. Keep an eye out for cracks and pinholes. Be careful when looking at the joints and folds. Look out for corrosion. Water penetration into the attic is also a sign that there are leaks. Look at interior plaster to determine which areas need repair.

Clean the gutters so that they are free of debris and dirt.

Lay the waterproof membrane over the hidden gutters. Make sure there is enough material to go beyond the edges. This extra membrane is trimmed away later.

Roll the membrane up and apply the water-based adhesive to the old gutters with an emulsion roller. Lay the membrane onto the wet adhesive. Smooth over the membrane with a soft bristle broom to get rid of any air bubbles or wrinkles. Do not stretch the membrane, as it can tear.

Trim away any extra membrane along the edges of the gutter with a pair of very sharp shears.

Paint some contact adhesive along the edge of the membrane and the edge of the gutter. The contact adhesive will grab the membrane immediately so be careful when sticking the edges down.

Things You Will Need

  • EDPM membrane
  • Water-based adhesive
  • Contact adhesive
  • Sharp shears

About the Author

Liz Tomas began writing professionally in 2004. Her work has appeared in the "American Journal of Enology and Viticulture," "BMC Genomics" and "PLoS Biology." She holds a Master of Science in food science from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in oenology at Lincoln University.