The seams of a gutter system are the most likely place for a leak or break to develop. This is because over time, general wear and tear and weather exposure will force the two gutters that are joined together to begin to sag apart. If this happens, water can leak out of your gutters and soak into your foundation and basement, where it can cause water damage and mold growth. Thankfully, if the seams of your gutters become damaged, you can easily and quickly fix them using a few simple tools.
Before You Begin
Before you get started, you'll want to gather your materials and tools. You'll need a rag, a garden hose, a step ladder, gardening gloves, a caulking gun, a tube of exterior grade caulking, and a putty knife. All of these items can be found at most hardware stores if you do not already have them at home.
Repairing Damaged Gutter Seams
First, you'll have to clean out your gutter system to make your work easier. It's recommended that you wear gardening gloves while you remove leaves and any other organic debris from your gutters to prevent hurting your hands.
Once you have removed most of the debris, use the garden hose to send water down the gutter system. This will clean out any loose remaining debris, and will also show you were the damaged gutter seams are by causing leaks to develop. Note where the leaks are occurring, and move the ladder to the first one.
Use the rag to wipe away debris and to clean the gutter seam. Leaving grime or dirt on the seam can reduce the effectiveness of the applied caulking.
Cut the tip off of the tube of caulking, and put it into the caulking gun. Apply the caulk in a thin, even line along the entire length of the gutter seam.
Use the putty knife (your finger works well in a pinch as well) to smooth out the caulk, so that the seam is no longer visible.
Repeat the process for every other leaking gutter seam along the gutter system, moving the ladder as needed. Once you have caulked the last seam, let it sit for an hour or so, and then apply caulking once again to every seam to ensure a tight seal.
Let the caulk sit overnight to dry and harden, and then use the garden hose to move water through the gutter system once again to test the repaired seams. If any of the seams continue to leak, apply additional caulking as needed to properly seal it shut. If you don't feel comfortable fixing your own rain gutters, contact a business such as Alaka'i Raingutters & Supplies.