Everything You Need To Know About Gutter Repairs
Looking out of the window at this time of year is always a fun and amazing experience. Lawns are the greenest that they will be all year long, shrubs are flowering brilliant reds and bright whites, and the fruit trees are blossoming in soft purple, white and light pink. The foothills are just a few hundred yards from us and they are completely covered with tall green grass. Talk about happy cattle.
Nature creates such an extraordinary palate of beautiful colors. But not every color that nature creates ends up at the tip of a stem. And not every color that nature creates brings pleasure and joy to every little girl and boy. In fact, it would be our guess that when you see the color “rust” a completely different emotion is aroused. Can you spell “to swear or not to swear”?
Yep, warmer days are coming and that means dealing with the other byproduct of winter rain – good old Mr. Rust. And in specific, rusty rain gutters. Whatever the hue, rust is rust and rust ruins metal. When that happens leaks are inevitable. But don’t fret. We have a few tips on rain gutter installation and repair that will leave you plenty of time to enjoy cultivating your spring vegetable garden.
Roof gutters are made out of plastic, aluminum, galvanized steel, wood and copper, to name a few. As you can see most are metal and therefore are subject to rust. When a rusty area turns into a leak try this quick repair. Envision the repair as a two part process: 1) removing the rust, and 2) stopping the leak. You’ll need a few tools: a wire brush or a wire wheel mounted on an electric drill, a throw-away paint brush, strips of tin foil (or plastic), rust converter paint and roofing cement. A second type of repair will require the addition of small pieces of sheetmetal instead of the tin foil.
The most important part of any leak repair caused by rust is – you got it – to get rid of the rust. First, use a wire brush or a wire wheel on a drill to remove all loose rust. The experts will tell you that once the loose rust is removed a rust converter can be painted on and the rust will not come back. Wrong! Get rid of as much rust as possible by brushing thoroughly. For extra special results use a liquid rust remover (phosphoric acid) to eliminate the rust that is left after wire brushing. Finally, clean the damaged area completely and paint on a coat of rust converter. What’s left will become inert and should not be a problem in the future.
With rust removed and converted the next step is to stop the leak. Be sure that the rust converter has dried completely. Then, apply an eighth-inch thick coat of roof cement around the leak. Before the cement dries add several strips of tin foil. With the tin foil in place use a can or a jar on its side to roll everything flat. Once everything is smooth and flat add a final layer of roof patch. It is important to remember that the total thickness of the repair should not exceed about three-sixteenths of an inch. A dam can be created if too much roof cement is used.
For larger repairs the tin foil should be replaced with a piece of sheetmetal. Heating contractors typically have at least a trash can full of scraps that are perfect for this type of repair. Chances are you can get the scrap you’ll need for a hand shake and a thank you. This repair is made exactly like the first one. Simply use the sheetmetal where the foil was used.
For really badly damaged areas sheetmetal plates can be pop-riveted into place and sealed with liquid aluminum. This is one that you may want to leave to the sheetmetal contractor. Another alternative is the replacement of damaged sections. You would be amazed at how little gutter shapes have changed over the decades.
If a gutter is sagging repair the mounting brackets before fixing leaks. You will not want the gutter shape to change once the leak has been fixed. This could cause a patch to open.
Wood gutters can be fitted with a metal liner, patched, sectioned or preserved. Preservation is the aspect of wood gutter maintenance that you can do yourself. You can use store bought wood preservative or make your own by mixing one part of boiled linseed oil to one part of paint thinner or turpentine. Add a mildicide to the concoction as if it were exterior paint. Mildicide can be purchased at your local paint store. Clean the gutters with a pressure washer and when dry use a garden sprayer to apply the oil. Now, get to that vegetable garden! And, good luck!
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