Various rain gutter repair problems can develop with a rainwater disposal system. These are the more common ones. Overflowing gutters One of the commonest reasons a gutter overflows is that it has become blocked, perhaps by dirt, leaves (in the autumn) or a bird‘s nest (in spring). The solutions is straight forward look for and clear the blockages. If the gutter is of cast iron, clear it with a garden trowel its rounded shape will fit the inside of the gutters better than a bricklayer’s trowel. For plastic gutters, make a half-round scoop in hardboard. lf you are working near the outlet to a downpipe, block it off with a rag bung to prevent debris falling down to cause a blockage there.
Scoop out the blockage from the gutter, and shovel it into a bucket suspended from one of your ladder rungs. Flush the rain gutter repair system through with buckets of cold water, and then clean out the insides of the gutters with an old brush or a cloth. There is not much you can do to prevent a recurrence of the trouble. Atmospheric dirt will fall on the roof and, during a downpour, wash down into the gutters. If the house is surrounded by trees, however, it might be worth fitting netting on top of the gutters, to keep out falling leaves. Another possible cause of an overflow is that a section of the gutter may have sagged, making it lower than the top of the downpipe, so that water cannot flow away. A pool of water in the gutter at one place is often a sign that the gutter is sagging there. On iron gutters, try to bend the brackets upwards to restore the correct slope. Otherwise drive small wooden wedges between the bracket and the guttering to achieve the same effect. Fill the gap with the aid of a glass fibre repair kit if you wish. Take care not to flex cast-iron guttering by more than about 25 mm, or you risk breaking the seal at the joints. With plastic guttering, it is usually better to re-fix the brackets slightly higher up.
Make sure you plug up the old screw holes to stop moisture entering the wood. In either case, a new bracket might be necessary. Leaking joints Water may be escaping where two lengths of guttering join. Sections of cast—iron guttering overlap each other slightly, and are fastened together by a nut and bolt, the joint being sealed by a waterproof mastic. The joint can deteriorate because of age or movement. lf it has, it will have to be remade from scratch. Begin by unfastening the nut and bolt. That will not be easy because they would have corroded. Try to tree them with penetrating oil, but usually you will have to out through the bolt with a hacksaw, and perhaps drill out the remains of it. Sometimes you can knock out the stub of the bolt with a hammer. but be careful not to strike the iron with too much force, for it can shatter dangerously. Lever the two sections apart, using an old chisel or screwdriver, and scrape away all the old sealant, cleaning up finally with a wire brush. Apply a bed of sealant to the lower of the two overlaps, bring both together and fit a new nut and bolt, with a washer on each side. Wipe up any sealant that oozes out. Treat the inside of the joint, or even a longer stretch of the gutter if need be, with a bituminous sealer. Plastic sections lock together in various ways, according to brand. Some have a self-locking seal; others are welded together by solvents. Examine their joint to determine the method of sealing. Renew a failed seal with non-setting mastic, or apply fresh solvent to a loom, welded joint. leaks in gutters The middle of a section of plastic gutter is unlikely to leak unless it has been damaged physically. Mid-section leaks usually occur on cast iron when the metal has rusted through. What you do about it depends on the extent of the damage.
Rain gutter repair can be carried out with waterproof tape, or even a glass fibre repair kit. Such a leak, however, might indicate extensive rusting and that complete replacement of the section is required. Damaged guttering can be replaced with a plastic section, even if the existing gutters are of cast iron Remove the defective section of guttering by dismantling the joints as explained above. lf it is cast iron, take care bow you get it to the ground. lt can easily shatter, causing dangerous fragments to fly everywhere. Either fasten a rope to it and lower it gently, or carry it down. Always keep children and pets well out of the way when you are taking down old cast-iron rainwater goods. New plastic guttering can be cut to the correct length, if necessary, using a sharp fine-toothed saw, such as a hacksaw or carpenters panel saw. Adapter joints can be bought to connect plastic to cast- iron guttering. Since your present gutter is defective, it is likely that the brackets need replacing too. Buy new ones and fix them at the spacings recommended by the manufacturer. Supplier should have leaflets giving such information.