Gutters are durable and long-lasting, but over time they can become damaged from exposure to weather, debris, and poor installation. Gutters can become cracked or filled with holes and start to leak for several reasons.
One of the most common causes of leaky gutters is joints that are installed incorrectly. If pieces are not installed correctly, water may be unable to exit through the downspout and will seek the easiest way out, which will be though the nearest connecting joint. This problem can be corrected by repositioning or replacing the gutters.
Galvanized steel gutters can become cracked after years of use. Depending on the type of weather in your area, you may need to repaint the gutters every few years to protect them. Extremely cold temperatures can eventually stress and fracture the steel, and the paint can begin to chip away. Cracks are more likely to occur at the seams or at any other place where separate pieces, such as braces or gutter nails, meet. If an opening forms, water can accumulate under the paint and the gutters can begin to rust.
Gutters can develop holes as they age. Holes can also be caused by pooled water that forms rust, eats through the metal, and causes the gutters to leak. Water is likely to pool if the gutters are not cleaned regularly and become clogged with leaves or other debris or if they were installed improperly and not sloped correctly to allow water to drain. Over time, pooling water will lead to rust, corrosion, holes, and leaks.
Many gutter problems are easy to prevent through routine cleaning. You should have your gutters cleaned twice a year and make sure they are pitched so that water can drain properly. Leaf guards can prevent gutters from becoming clogged. Seamless gutters are less likely to leak than traditional gutters with seams.