PVC -- polyvinyl chloride -- has become a popular material for rain gutters, especially with homeowners who do the work themselves. It is durable, easy to work with, lightweight and inexpensive. But even PVC gutters, or vinyl guttering as it commonly called, can develop leaks or cracks. Fortunately, repairs are generally easy, although they may involve climbing ladders. Vinyl gutters also can be used to replace damaged elements of metal guttering, such as downspouts, although it may be difficult to merge the two materials.
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Things you need
- Roof cement or sealant or silicone caulk
- Repair tape
Assess the damage. If the leak in a vinyl gutter is minor or at a joint or seam in the guttering, it probably can be repaired with roof cement or sealant or a silicone caulk. Apply it on the inside of the gutter and spread it to cover more than the small hole or cut in the vinyl. A larger hole or crack can often be patched with a strip of strong tape, like duct tape, and then covered with sealant. In some cases, big holes can be patched by cutting out the damaged area, cutting a vinyl patch to fit, then sealing it with tape and sealant.
Replace seriously damaged elements. If a section of vinyl or other gutter is seriously damaged, perhaps by a falling limb or debris, you can cut it out and replace it with new vinyl gutter. It is easy to cut vinyl guttering (although it generally comes in 6-foot lengths); cut out the damaged section and fit the new vinyl in place, then seal the joints. It is best to replace an entire damaged section, rather than try to fit a partial section in place.
Remove damaged downspouts, whether metal or vinyl, and replace them with vinyl. Vinyl downspouts come in the same dimensions as metal ones and often connect easily; be sure to seal joints with silicone or other sealant. PVC pipe extensions also can be put on metal downspouts to move water farther from a house. Some gutters connect to underground or other drainage systems; metal pipe in those situations will corrode and disintegrate and is easily replaced with vinyl guttering or appropriately sized PVC pipe.
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