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How to Repair Wood Gutters

Updated April 17, 2017

Wood gutters are often found on vintage homes; especially on old Victorians. Gutters can become worn over time on the inside and are prone to wood rot and damage due to age and weather. Once the wood is rotted, gutters are structurally unsafe and can come apart in the harshest of weather conditions. Animals may make nests in the gutters and cause disturbances. Wood gutters need to be fixed and protected to ensure the value of a home and prevent costly repairs down the line.

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  1. Lean a ladder against a safe part of the home on steady ground, with gutters in reach. Wear old clothes, plastic disposable gloves, and sunglasses or protective eye goggles. Have someone hold the ladder as you climb, and wear secure shoes with tightly tied laces so you don't trip. Climb up the ladder until you are waist or head level with the gutter. Clear the gutters of debris with a garden hose. Make sure there are no animals nesting. Call the local wildlife rescue station if you find baby or adult birds nesting.

  2. Mix 2 parts bleach to 1 part water in a clean bucket, and scrub the gutters down where there is mould, using a scrubbing brush. Add a little liquid dish-washing detergent to make the water sudsy. Rinse with the garden hose after cleaning and let dry.

  3. Scrape across rotted sections of gutter with a scraping tool, such as a putty knife. Use a chisel or ice pick to chip away at the rot in sections, until it is completely removed. Apply wood putty to the newly cleaned area in smooth, even strokes with a spatula tool. Put a generous amount of putty on the spatula blade and spread onto the surface so that it is evenly distributed onto the remainder of the wood gutter in that section. Let the putty dry.

  4. Seal cracks in the mitre joints. These are the joints that hold the gutter together in sections, generally at angles or corners around the home. Apply adhesive caulk to the joints to reinforce or where there are noticeable breaks in the joints. Flatten and level the caulk with the spatula after it is applied.

  5. Apply chemical stripping agent to peeling paint. Apply with a clean paintbrush, and scrape away old paint with a putty knife. Once old paint is removed, stain or paint wood with a hydrating, oil based gel stain. Use shingle oil on dry wood left in its natural state. Apply generously with a clean paint brush. Use outdoor latex enamel paint in the colour of your choice, if painting. Prime the wood first, and apply two coats of stain or paint. Let the first coat dry before applying a second coat of either. Use a water- and insect-proof varnish to seal in the stain or paint. Apply one to two coats.

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Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Old clothes
  • Plastic disposable gloves
  • Sunglasses or protective eye goggles
  • Garden hose
  • Secure shoes
  • Bleach
  • Bucket
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Liquid dish-washing detergent
  • Scraping tool
  • Putty knife
  • Chisel
  • Ice pick
  • Spatula device
  • Wood putty
  • Adhesive caulk
  • Chemical stripping agent
  • Clean paintbrush
  • Oil based gel stain
  • Shingle oil
  • Latex enamel paint
  • Primer
  • Varnish

About the Author

Linda Stamberger began writing professionally in 1994, as an entertainment reporter for "Good Times Magazine." She has written online copy for The Volusia Community website and is the author of "Antiquing in Florida." Stamberger studied creative writing at Southampton College, where she won a partial writing scholarship.

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