MY SEAMLESS RAINGUTTER IS LEAKING!
Updated: Mar 29, 2022
You look up at the rain gutter and you see a drip. Have you noticed the siding next to the end of the raingutter has become water damaged?
Why do these problems occur and how can they be repaired? Here we will explore the most common causes and what can be done to stop the drip. Aside from the obvious hole in a gutter, a leaking seam or leaf clogged rain gutter & downspout. Finding the cause & repairing the drip is often not related to the raingutter or its installation.
Drip edge, a metal edging that's placed on the roof before the shingles are nailed on, its designed to hold the roof shingle as it projects out over the facia. You can see it along the edge of the roof where it hangs down along the facia.
The drip edge must be bent away from the facia prior to installing the rain gutter. The rain gutter should then be fastened in place with its back edge up behind the drip edge.
If the drip edge is not bent out & the gutter is placed on top of the drip edge, often water doesn't drip off the roof edge but wicks down the drip edge and causes water to drip between the back of the gutter & facia.
To repair, remove the gutter, bend the drip edge & replace the gutter.
In some installations a properly installed rain gutter will drop below the drip edge due to the required pitch to drain the gutter into the downspout. Many homes are not level which then creates more space between the drip edge and the back of a properly pitched & installed gutter. If this is allowing water to drip behind the gutter bending the drip edge out a bit farther or adding a section of flashing under the drip edge & into the gutter will help. Another solution is to add more downspouts to reduce the amount of pitch the gutter needs to drain & then move the gutter higher to get behind the drip edge.
Next, we carefully lift the edge of the roof shingle to see if the ice and water shield membrane was properly placed over the top of the drip edge. Often, we see it improperly installed between the roof sheathing and drip edge. When improperly installed water can wick up between the shingle & drip edge then run down under the drip edge behind the gutter, it can also find its way through the adjacent overlapped drip edge. The drip edges should be overlapped at least two inches.
Repairing this requires removal of 3 or 4 courses of shingles to then lay a new section of ice and water shield membrane over the top of the drip edge.
Are the roof shingles overlapping the edge of the drip edge 3/8"? If not, water can wick back and find its way through the overlapped drip edges. Sometimes a bead of caulk can be run along the edge of the roofing where it doesn't protrude the required 3/8".
Were the roof shingles installed with a starter course with properly offset joints? If the joints or sides of the shingles aren't properly offset according to the manufacturer's recommendation, water will find its way through the roof causing a drip behind the gutter or through the soffit. Replacing the shingles is required.
Diverter flashing or Kick-out flashing should be installed where a side wall intersects or abuts a roof as commonly seen with a two-story house with a one story attached garage.
NO DIVERTER FLASHING INSTALLED
Installation of a diverter flashing is required here but is often omitted or poorly done. Proper repair requires removal of the rain gutter, siding and a few roof shingles. Inspection of the wall should be made at this time to check for rotted sheathing. Depending on how long this has been occurring you may need to remove more siding to repair rotted wall sheathing. Then, installation of a flashing that you purchase or fabricate can be done followed by re-installing the roof shingles & siding.
A temporary fix can be tried where you slip a piece of metal bent 90 degrees under the roof shingle.
A PROPERLY FLASHED WALL