How To Repair Aluminum Gutters
Repair and maintenance of aluminum gutters
Just about every house is equipped with aluminum gutters, which are designed to catch the rainwater run-off from the roof. These technological wonders work quietly and without the need for an external power source. They do their job so well that we usually do not take notice of them until the malfunction.
If your house is in close proximity of trees, chances are you have already encountered a clog or two. The first thing that you need to do is get up on the roof and determine where the clog is. Next you need to clean out the offending material. A gloved hand works well but I prefer to use my wifes garden cultivator. Once the bulk of the clog has been removed, flush the gutter with a garden hose.
To prevent future clogs, I recommend that you install a mesh cover over the gutters. These are readily available from any home center or hardware store and are very inexpensive. To install them is relatively simple. Slip the upper edge under the roofing material(shingles). Bend the lower edge down and slip it under the leading edge of the gutter or bend it over the leading edge and secure it to the gutter hangers.
This repair is pretty simple. Clean the gutters down with steel wool and any heavy-duty aluminum cleaner. Once cleaned, apply a primer paint made with zinc chromate. Allow the primer paint to dry and then paint the gutters with Alkyd trim enamel. Give the gutters two (2) coats with trim enamel allowing enough time for the paint to dry in between coats.
All of these materials are available at home centers and hardware stores.
The god of home repair invented silicone caulking for this purpose. Simply clean the area around the joint with steel wool and squeeze the compound onto the joint area. It's that simple. However, make sure you are working from the inside. The finished job looks much neater that way.
Broken Hanger Straps
A hanger strap is simply a strip of aluminum molded around the outside of the gutter. Most breaks are due to the failure of the rivets that hold the strap together. This is easily repaired by substituting a screw for the defective rivet. If the strap itself is broken (usually just above the rivet), drill another hole and reattach it using a screw.
In this repair, you must adjust the hangers or replace them. If the gutter itself is bent or damaged, then try to straighten it while it is in place. If this cannot be accomplished, then you need to remove that section of gutter and replace it. In this case, simply score the sealant at each end of the section with a knife and remove the hanger straps and securing nails.
Hole in the Gutter
Small: Everything starts small. The trick is to fix the problem before it becomes a major problem. In this case, clean the area around the hole with steel wool. Then cover the area with epoxy bonding material, which is available at any home center or hardware store.
Large: Once again, clean the area around the hole with steel wool. Next, apply a layer of roofing cement. On top of the roofing cement, place a piece of aluminum foil (the same kind with which you wrap food). Lightly press the aluminum foil into place over the hole. It should adhere to the roofing cement. Be gentle as it is very easy to push your fingers through the foil. Once the foil is positioned over the hole, cover it with another layer of roofing cement.