How to Repair Leaking Wooden Gutters

Wooden gutters are rare these days, but they are a beautiful feature on a home, especially on a period piece of architecture. Unfortunately, they are rather costly and can be difficult to maintain. However, they should be kept at all costs since they add value to your home and look much more attractive than the systems that could replace them. The area of the gutter which normally needs repair is the inside surface. In many cases, repair is necessitated due to rot. This will cause them to leak and even fall apart if left unattended. Wooden gutters should be maintained on a regular basis to avoid paying the high price for larger repairs further down the line.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Wood putty
  • Ladder
  • Caulk
  • Caulk gun
  • Shingle oil
  • Scraper
  • Exterior paint
  • Exterior primer
  • Putty knife

Step 1 – Check for Rot

The first thing to do is to analyze the damage. Place the ladder on a flat, stable surface and access the gutter. Clean out the gutter, removing any dirt and debris which is ended up getting lodged inside it. Thoroughly inspect the condition of the inside of the gutters. Look out for any rot specifically. If you find any, then that is most likely the source of the leak.

Step 2 – Deal with the Rot

Eventually, the exterior primer, which is originally applied to the wooden gutters, will wear away. This will leave the exposed area open to rotting. If you find this, you need to dig out the rotten area of the wood using a putty knife. The cavity left behind will then need to be filled in with wood putty. If the damaged area is particularly large, then that entire section of the gutter will probably need replacing. Fortunately, if it is just a small area of damage, wood putty should suffice. Make sure that the putty is applied so that it is smooth and even.

Step 3 – Apply Shingle Oil to the Repaired Surface

To protect the wood from absorbing water in the future, apply shingle oil to the treated area. It is a good idea to apply this to the entire interior of the gutter during this process. Also, check for any cracks in the wood.

Step 4 – Apply Caulk

If you find any miter joints which have opened up in the wooden gutters, you will need to seal them appropriately. These joints are the 45 degree angles which you will find in the corners where two sections of gutter meet. Using the caulk gun, seal the open crack thoroughly. Use a putty knife to smooth it out and make it even with the wooden surface. This is extremely important, otherwise water will simply gather and cause a major strain on the joint.

Step 5 – Primer and Paint

If the gutters are painted, scrape away any peeling paint and apply a new layer of primer and a layer of exterior oil paint. Follow the manufacturers' guidelines for information regarding drying times.