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How to Maintain Rain Gutters
Inspect and clear gutters in both spring and autumn. You also may have to loosen dirt that has blown into the gutters and scrub them with a stiff brush. Flushing gutters with a stream of water from a hose will clear material that has become lodged in the eaves troughs and downspouts.
The slope of gutters may need to be adjusted from time to time to keep water moving toward downspouts. Run water through them, and, if they drain slowly, reposition them so that they slope toward the downspouts at a rate of 1/4 inch for every 10 feet.
Be sure your downspouts expel water well away from your house. If necessary, add downspout extenders to carry the water away (see How to Fix Downspouts That Pool Runoff Water). Also consider concrete or plastic splash blocks, which are slightly sloped and extend away from the house at least 4 feet.
If your climate delivers abundant rainfall, you may want to have your downspouts run into a dry well. The well should be a hole 2 to 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep or a 55-gallon drum, with both ends removed and filled with rocks, that you’ve buried and punctured with holes. Underground drainage pipes should slope to the dry well, which will effectively keep water away from the house’s foundation. Check local building codes before installing.
Also check downspouts for rust, flaking, or peeling paint, plus leaks, and make sure they are affixed tightly against the fascia boards. Check the fascia boards themselves for dry rot or other damage, and, if need be, replace them with lumber treated with wood preservative that is finished to match the other boards.
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15-minute fix with a zip tool


: A zip tool is the key

Slide the zip tool along the bottom edge to release the vinyl siding from the piece below it.

Vinyl siding is tough, but not indestructible. If a falling branch or a well-hit baseball has cracked a piece of your siding, you can make it as good as new in about 15 minutes with a $5 zip tool (available at any home center) and a replacement piece. It's as simple as unzipping the damaged piece and snapping in a new one.

Starting at one end of the damaged piece, push the end of the zip tool up under the siding until you feel it hook the bottom lip (Photo 1). Pull the zip tool downward and out to unhook the bottom lip, then slide it along the edge, pulling the siding out as you go. Then unzip any pieces above the damaged piece. Hold them out of the way with your elbow while you pry out the nails that hold the damaged piece in place.

Slide the replacement piece up into place, pushing up until the lower lip locks into the piece below it. Drive 1-1/4-in. roofing nails through the nailing flange. Space them about every 16 in. (near the old nail holes). Nail in the center of the nailing slot and leave about 1/32 in. of space between the nail head and the siding so the vinyl can move freely. Don't nail the heads tightly or the siding will buckle when it warms up.

With the new piece nailed, use the zip tool to lock the upper piece down over it. Start at one end and pull the lip down, twisting the tool slightly to force the leading edge down. Slide the zip tool along, pushing in on the vinyl just behind the tool with your other hand so it snaps into place.

It's best to repair vinyl in warm weather. In temperatures below freezing it becomes less flexible and may crack.

The downside of replacing older vinyl siding is that it can be hard to match the style and color, and siding rarely has any identifying marks. The best way to get a replacement piece is to take the broken piece to vinyl siding distributors in your area and find the closest match. If the old vinyl has faded or you can't find the right color, take the broken piece to a paint store and have the color matched. Paint the replacement piece with one coat of top-quality acrylic primer followed by acrylic house paint—acrylic paint will flex with the movement of the vinyl.

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Gutter end caps and connections can come loose over time, causing leaks. The gutters can also pull away from the fascia, negating their ability to catch and channel rainwater. We'll show you how to repair your gutters so they function like the day they were installed.

During the chaos of a rainstorm, it can be difficult to tell where the gutters are actually leaking. Rainwater gets blown against the face of the gutters, resulting in myriad drips along the entire length of the gutter. To pinpoint leaks, go out on a nice day instead. Stick your garden hose inside the gutter, turn on the water, then look for leaks. 
Water rushing against the caps at the end of gutters can push them loose. A little separation is all it takes for a leak. If this is your problem, then you need gutter sealant, which costs about $10 for a 10 oz. tube and will fix the problem.

Remove any debris and peeling sealant you find between the inside of the end cap and the gutter. Wipe the area with a cloth so it's clean and dry. Then apply the sealant with a caulk gun.

If the end cap is damaged—for instance, if it got knocked out of whack by a falling branch—then you'll need to replace it. Take out any rivets with a drill, cut away the old sealant with a putty or utility knife, then tap off the end cap with a rubber mallet. Apply a fresh bead of sealant into the grooved channel on the new end cap, then press it firmly in place. For aluminum gutters, insert a pop rivet through each side of the end cap and the gutter to lock it in place. 

The joints between sections of gutters, or the joints at gutter corners, can eventually come apart and allow water to seep through. (Even seamless gutters have seams if there's a corner.)

First, make sure the seam is tight. The sections should lie flat against each other with no gaps. If there are gaps, use brackets or fasteners to adjust or reattach the sections until they're flat. After that, the fix is the same as a leaky end cap: clean the seam, make sure it's dry, and apply sealant.

The weight of water itself can cause gutters to sag and even pull away from the house. However, home stores sell hangers that are made to fit different profiles of gutters. They start at under $2 apiece and secure the gutters tight against the fascia.

Most hangers fit into the lip along the front of the gutter. The clip side fits over the gutter back. You then drive the attached screw through the hanger, gutter, and into the fascia.

If you can identify where the rafters are, then place the hangers there. You'll get more bite and strength when you drive the fastener through the fascia and into the rafter. Attach a hanger at every rafter, or every 24 inches, to tighten the gutters against the house and remove the sag. 

Downspouts play a vital role in gutter systems. They channel the water from the gutters to the lawn, rain barrel, or other location that gets it away from the house. Downspouts should be attached to the house at the top and the bottom, close to the elbows. Long runs of downspouts should have a couple attachments in the middle, too.

Sometimes downspouts get knocked loose, which can cause the elbow connections to leak. Secure downspouts to the siding with clips. They cost a buck apiece and screw into the siding, then you attach the downspout to the clips with screws. Attach the first clip, then make sure the downspout is straight before fastening additional ones.

During heavy rains, water gushes down roof valleys with the force of a small river. With so much momentum, the water often shoots right over the gutter. Screwing or riveting a guard along the top of the gutter at the valley will block the water from spilling over. The guards are available in different colors to match your gutters. A 3-pack costs $6 at home centers.
Naperville Gutter Repairs

Four of the most common problems rain gutters incur are leaking, sagging, overflowing, and pooling runoff around the house. If left unattended, any one of these conditions can cause serious water damage to the house and its foundation. Fortunately, the fixes are within the realm of even a modestly skilled do-it-yourselfer.

Leaking Rain Gutters
If your gutters are leaking, the prime suspects are the joints between sections. Standing water in gutters eventually will rust galvanized steel seams or seep through the seams in aluminum gutters.

First check for signs of standing water and sagging. Adjust or add gutter hangers as needed. Allow the insides of the gutters to dry out, brush leaking seams clean, and then apply silicone-rubber caulking compound along the seams on the inside and outside to seal the leaks, as shown at right.

Patch small holes with roofing cement. Use a putty knife to spread the cement generously around the hole. Try to do this on a warm day, but, if the weather is cool, warm the cement to room temperature so it spreads easily.

Repair larger holes in gutters by covering them with patches. Take a sheet-metal patch, embed it in roofing cement, and then apply another coat of cement over the patch, as shown at left.

If your region delivers abundant rainfall, you may want to have your downspout run into a dry well. The well should be a hole 2 to 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep, or a 55-gallon drum—with both ends removed and filled with rocks—that you’ve buried and punctured with holes. Underground drainage pipes should slope to the dry well, which will keep water away from the house’s foundation. Check your local building codes before installing.

Overflowing Rain Gutters
Gutters that overflow can present serious problems to your home’s walls and foundation. If your gutters overflow during a heavy rain, either the gutters and/or downspouts are clogged, the gutters are sagging and thereby preventing water from reaching the downspouts, or the gutters and downspouts are not large enough to handle the volume of rain runoff.

In most cases, gutters overflow because leaves and debris are clogging them, essentially creating dams that prevent water from flowing to the outlets above the downspouts. In fact, these clogs often occur right at the outlets. When this is the case, it’s time to clean out the gutters. (For more about this, see Rain Gutter Cleaning & Maintenance.)

Gutters that sag are a different issue—and the more they fill up with water, the more likely they are to sag because they become so heavy when full. If the gutters overflow but are not sagging or clogged, you will probably need to install new, larger downspouts and gutters.

Sagging Rain Gutters
When full of water, rain gutters can become extremely heavy. As a result, the types made of flexible materials such as aluminum, vinyl, and galvanized steel can begin to bend and sag and their hangers to loosen. As this happens, they cease to do a good job of draining rainwater efficiently, allowing water to pool along their lengths. This, of course, just exacerbates the problem, making them heavier and causing them to sag even more.

To determine if your rain gutters sag, check for signs of standing water or water marks along the inner sides of the gutters. With a level, check the slope—gutters should drop about 1/4 inch for every 10 feet of run toward the downspouts.

To fix them, you may need to replace the hangers or, at the very least, re-seat them. If the gutters are held by spike-and-ferrule hangers, use a hammer to drive the long spike, making sure it goes into solid wood. If it does not grab securely, you may need to replace it with an even longer galvanized nail or, better yet, a long screw.

To tighten clip-style gutter hangers, you will need to lift the roofing material along the eaves and refasten the hangers to the sheathing. Be careful not to crack or create holes in the roofing.

Downspouts may break loose from the gutter outlet or between sections. This often happens when elbows in the sections become clogged with debris.

Take the sections apart and clean out the debris. Then, to refasten them, push the downspout sections and/or elbows together, drill pilot holes if necessary, and fasten them with two 3/8-inch #8 galvanized sheet metal screws. (Don’t use longer screws because debris will hang on them.) Be sure the anchor straps that hold the downspouts to the wall are secure.

Fasten the top downspout to the S-curve outlet with one or two screws at each joint for easy removal for regular cleaning.
Downspouts that dump rainwater right at the base of your exterior walls can create serious problems. As water pools and soaks into the soil, it can eventually work its way into the foundation. For this reason, it is important to direct rainwater away from the house.

The best way to do this is to use a downspout diverter. These simple devices fit onto the bottom of downspouts and, as in the case of the one shown here, unfurl to carry water several feet away from the house. Called an “automatic recoiling downspout,” it is a simple and inexpensive device.
Naperville Gutter Repairs