How Do You Fix A Hole In A Gutter?

By Gutter Expert Henry Gerbin
Published On

Are you wondering how to fix a hole in your gutters?

Well, you definitely came to the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to repair a hole in your rain gutters
  • How to fix leaking downspouts
  • Where and when to apply silicone sealant
  • How to prevent holes in the first place

And much more!

How Do You Fix A Hole In A Gutter

So, if you’re looking for answers on how to fix holes in your gutters, keep reading our cost guide below to learn everything you need to know.

How to Repair a Gutter Hole

You can repair holes in your gutters with several methods. Instead of rushing the process with a DIY quick fix that won’t last, take the extra time to do it right. 

To properly repair a gutter, you’ll need a few tools and products, most of which are available at your local hardware store.

While you can repair a hole in your gutters yourself, if you’re not experienced, you may improperly seal the hole, injure yourself, or further damage your gutters, hangers, roof, or shingles. That is why it is best to call our gutter repair experts to fix your gutters.

But, if you want to give it a shot yourself, follow our step-by-step guide below to do it yourself.

Find the Holes

Finding holes usually isn’t that hard. You can run a garden hose through the gutters and look for leaks and drips from the ground. Sometimes you can see water spots on your fascia in holes that have been leaking for a long time.

Clean the Gutters

Before you start your repair, thoroughly clean your gutters. Wear a thick pair of work gloves and long sleeves to protect your hands and arms from any sharp pieces of debris, sharp edges, exposed screws, and hidden critters.

Set up a long enough ladder near the gutter, then carefully climb up, maintaining three points of contact. Use extreme caution when carrying the hose and tools up the ladder with you.

Use a garden shovel, ice scooper, or paint scraper to carefully scoop out any leaves, twigs, and other debris lodged in your gutter.

Once you’ve removed all debris, spray any remnants or dirt out with your garden hose.

Once the channel is clean, allow it to dry. If you don’t want to wait for it to dry, use a towel to soak up the remaining water. For the gutter sealant to work, the surface can’t be wet.

After the area is dry, use sandpaper or a stiff wire brush to scrape off the rust around the holes. Then sweep the rust particles towards the downspout.

*Note: Ignore this step for PVC gutters since PVC doesn’t rust.

If the holes are large, use metal snips (tin snips) to remove any rusted-through chunks and jagged edges surrounding the hole.

For PVC gutters, use the tin snips to clean up the edges, then use sandpaper to smooth out the area.

After you’ve prepared the holes, rinse the gutter out again and allow it to dry.

Prepare The Patch

You will need to buy a repair patch at your local home improvement store or online to repair the hole. Ensure you buy one made of the same material as your gutters. For example, buy an aluminum repair patch if you have aluminum gutters.

If you don’t buy the same material, you can be in for a load of trouble. Certain metals, especially aluminum and copper, adversely react when combined, which will cause the gutter to corrode rapidly, making the problem worse than when you started.

For PVC gutters, a self-adhesive patch usually does the trick for small holes (an inch or less in diameter).

For steel, aluminum, copper, and other metal gutters, you’ll need a metal patch. Once you have your patch, trim it to match the shape of the hole, but slightly larger.

For best results, make the patch at least 1 inch larger than the hole. If it’s too big, go ahead and cut it down with metal snips.

When you’re cutting the patch, be safe. Wear thick work gloves; the metal patch can have very sharp edges and corners.

Use Roofing Cement

Use roofing cement to connect and seal the patch to your gutters. You can purchase a small tube that you can squeeze by hand or a large tube that fits into a caulking gun.

We recommend buying more than you think you need, so you don’t have to go back and forth to the hardware store mid-job.

To seal the patch to the gutter, squeeze a bead of roofing cement around the perimeter of the hole. Smooth out the roofing cement with a small putty knife in outward motions from the center of the hole.

Replicate the patch’s shape the best you can. It is always better to cover too much area with cement than not enough (otherwise, water can leak through).

Apply a Metal Patch

Line the patch up with the cement and press it firmly down onto the roofing cement. Then lightly wiggle it back and forth to make it adhere better.

You will know you have good adhesion and enough cement when you see some oozing out around the edges of the patch.

Once the patch is set, you can use the putty knife to scrape up the extra roofing cement around the patch’s edges. Use a few damp paper towels to clear up the rest.

Try to get as much of the excess adhesive as you can, as thick globs of cement can catch leaves, twigs, and other debris, clogging your gutters in no time.

Let it Dry and Add Silicone

Let the roofing cement dry for 8 to 24 hours. This is how long it takes to cure entirely. Once roofing cement around the patches is dry to the touch, which typically happens within an hour, you can seal the patch.

Apply outdoor-grade silicone caulk around the patch’s perimeter. Use your finger (dipped in water) or a caulking knife to smooth out the caulk around the edge.

The silicone will need to dry completely before water can touch it. This usually takes around 24 hours, so make sure you do this when the forecast only shows clear skies.

Check for Leaks

Once the silicone is completely dry, test your DIY handiwork. You can carefully bring your garden hose up a ladder with you and add some water to your patched area. At the same time, watch your patched holes for leaking water.

Or, you can wait for rain. If it is in the near forecast, you can check the patch with mother nature’s help. However, you can usually find gutter leaks better with a garden hose because it is kind of difficult to tell a leak from a raindrop.

How to Fix Leaky Gutter and Downspout Joints

Repairing leaky gutters and downspout joints is relatively straightforward and similar to fixing holes. It should only take a couple of hours unless you have lots of leaks.

Inspect the Downspouts

Start by inspecting the gutter downspouts for signs of wear and tear. Check the joints for possible leaks and worn gaskets. You may see rusted or discolored areas on the outside of the downspouts near the leak opening.

Over time, the joints may open up from jostling or just normal wear and tear. If the joints are leaking, you will need to disassemble the downspouts. Remove all of the screws and connecting hardware at the problematic joint before removing the section entirely

Clean the Downspout Joints

Clean the downspout joints with a stiff wire brush or a sanding block to remove all the old silicone caulk and adhesive. This will take some time and a lot of elbow grease.

Replace the Downspout Gaskets

Next, replace your old downspout gaskets with new ones, which you can buy online or at a local hardware store.

*Pro-tip: If you don’t know what size downspout gasket you need, disassemble your downspout first and take the worn gasket with you to the hardware store.

Apply Silicone to Joints and Reassemble

To reassemble the joint, you’ll need your replacement gasket and silicone caulk. Apply a small bead of silicone caulk to one of the components at the joint area and install the new gasket.

Add the necessary fasteners or connectors, securing everything as it was before you removed them. If you want extra supports, now would be an excellent time to add them.

Why Do Gutters Get Holes in the First Place?

Gutters are exposed to the elements 24/7, 365 days a year. They get beat down by the hot sun, cold weather, snow, ice, and heavy rain. They also get hit with debris – leaves, branches, twigs, acorns, and more (let alone any pests that nest in them).

As you can see, gutters can really take a beating. While they are robust and can last many years, if you don’t do proper maintenance, your gutters can get damaged.

For example, if they are clogged with leaves, rust and corrosion can eat through certain gutter materials, eventually causing holes.

Additionally, falling branches, twigs, etc. can damage your gutters and make holes. Lastly, years of general wear and tear can also strain the gutter, causing weak points, crack, and holes to form.

How Can You Prevent Holes in Gutters?

Preventing holes in your home’s gutter system comes down to routine maintenance and regular gutter cleaning.

Although it can be a pain in the butt, cleaning your gutter system regularly is vital in keeping them in working condition. But, you don’t have to clean your gutters yourself – hire our team of expert gutter cleaners instead.

Other routine maintenance includes clearing the gutters of debris, checking for leaks or weak points, and trimming foliage near your home. Cut back tree branches that are close to or hang over your roof – they can fall and damage your roof and gutter system.

Another good preventative measure is using gutter guards or leaf filters, which prevent clogs and delay corrosion.

With proper maintenance and cleaning, you extend the lifespan of your gutters and prevent additional damage to your home and property (such as water damage, flooding, and foundation damage).

What Gutter Materials Are Best For Preventing Holes?

In general, the best gutter material to prevent holes is steel and copper. They are the most durable and have the highest corrosion and impact resistance. However, they are also the most expensive.

You can prevent holes in gutters of different materials with proper maintenance. For homeowners choosing new gutters, they have many material options, including:

  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Copper
  • Zinc

Vinyl gutters are not as durable as other materials, but they don’t rust. They’re usually the cheapest option, followed closely by aluminum. They are only available in sectional type and come in ten-foot lengths.

They require rubber seals to connect them, which can wear down and leak. Over time, they break down and become brittle with exposure to cold weather and direct sunlight.

Aluminum is the most popular choice among gutter materials due to its affordability and extra durability.

It is lightweight and a breeze to install. It has excellent corrosion resistance, often withstanding several decades of use. You can get aluminum gutters as both seamless and sectional.

Galvanized steel and stainless steel gutters are very solid and durable choices. While galvanized steel is prone to rust, stainless steel gutters are nearly 100% rust-proof.

As a result, steel gutters are typically more expensive. Plus, they are heavier, so they cost more to install too.

Copper is another costly option with high corrosion and rust resistance. It can withstand the elements exceptionally well and will typically last many decades with proper care.

Just take a look at how long the Statue of Liberty has been around (hint: Lady Liberty is made of copper– which has formed a protective green patina).

Zinc is another material option for gutter systems that is exceptionally durable. It will also last several decades, thanks to its fantastic rust resistance.

Our Gutter Experts Can Repair Your Gutter Holes ASAP!

The vital role of gutters is to direct water away from your home and safeguard it from water damage. So, they must work well.

Otherwise, you’ll be paying out of pocket for landscape, water damage, and foundation damage repair.

Holes in your gutters are obviously an issue as they prevent your gutters from directing the rainwater away from your home. You should repair any holes in your gutters promptly, for the same reason you wouldn’t keep drinking from a cup with a hole at the bottom.

If you have gutter holes, you don’t have to repair them on your own. If you need help repairing your gutters, give us a call or fill out our form today. We can safely and efficiently repair your gutter system, getting it up and running again right away.

Meet Your Gutter Expert

Henry Gerbin


Whether your gutters are leaking, broken, or you're just someone considering the purchase of your first set of gutters Henry is here to help. He regularly contributes his thoughts and knowledge with the RegionalGutterRepair readers publishing guides and studies on the latest in gutters.

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