In the world of gutters, we claim to have seamless K style Aluminum gutters, when in reality, all gutters have some kind of seam or another when installed.
For instance, the main length of gutter comes straight out of a machine as long as you want the piece to be, as long as enough material is loaded on the machine to accommodate the over all length you need. Problem with this design? Well, you have to put pre-made ends on to make a complete gutter once the long piece is cut.
As I stated before, when you take the piece of gutter out of the machine, it is just straight. You can not make a corner with a gutter machine, these are called inside miters, and outside miters. You have to cut these at the end of the gutter runs, in order to make the corner. These are also seams that have to be sealed.
Above picture is of an inside miter that I cleaned and sealed with with the rubber seal you see in the picture. It find that I have had very good luck with this product for sealing gutters. There are other products that do fine also, like a Tri Polly seal you can find at most gutter supply places. Problem with the other type sealant, is the fact that it will not stick in cold weather, or is the gutter is a bit damp.
Why Do Gutters Leak?
Why do the gutters start leaking in the first place? Well, as you see in this picture above, after a some years go by, the sealant that was used when the gutters were installed, tend to loose the battle with mother nature. I always say, that is man can make it, Mother Nature can destroy it. After some years, the sealant just has to be removed, and replaced with a new product. Like anything with your house, the gutter system just needs to be maintained in order to keep them working well!
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This last picture is of an outside miter that I cleaned and re sealed. The first picture on this page was an inside miter. If you intend to do the sealing process yourself, you will need to do all the inside and outside miters, along with all the ends, and possibly the downspouts exits.
GUTTER SEALING TOOLS NEEDED
Of course first you will need the basic stuff to make your work safe! You can by all means do every bit of this work by yourself, and most people do. I would make a suggestion however, that in annual gutter cleaning work, or just sealing a clean gutter, it is way safer to have someone hold the ladder, and look out for you!
Just my opinion, better safe than dead, or really broken! Even I, after doing years of gutter work, misstep from time to time. I think the numbers range from 2 to 3 hundred die every year from less than ten feet off the ground.
Now that I am done preaching safety, you will need a good pair of gloves to protect your fingers, and knuckles from possible damage. You will need paper towels or old rags in order to make the area you plan to seal extra clean. Most of the time, the old sealant will pull right off with just your hands, but sometimes it is a fight to get it loose!
A razor knife or maybe a carpet knife will work to cut the old sealant loose from the seams, if it will not come out easily when you pull on it. I tried a drill with a wire brush, but it did not work as well as I thought it would. If the old sealant appears to be in fairly good shape, you may just want to place the new sealant over the top of the old.
If you do think you need to just seal over the old stuff, it is best to brush away as much roof grit, or dirt as possible before hand, along with any loose sealant you may find. A wet dry vacuum will work great when cleaning corners of any dirt or moisture if you have a long enough hose to reach. If you do not have the wet-vac option, you need to use the paper towels and make sure the area is dry enough.
Once you have everything clean and ready, I personally would recommend the spray rubber seal! It sticks in the cold and damp conditions. This spray also gets into cracks, being that it starts off as a thin spray. I can not say that this way is perfect at all, I can say that I have had good luck with this! Regardless of what you choose as a sealant, you may have to do it more than once if not completed well enough in the first place.
If you are like me, and I have put up all the tools and mess after completing a job. I do not want to have to go back and do same job over again because I was in a hurry maybe. Just take your time, and make sure you hit every area where you think you need it not to leak. The seam is not just the bottom of the gutter, it is U shaped just like the gutter itself. You need to make sure the sealant is on bottom and both sides.