If you pay attention on rainy days, you’ll find that many Canadian eavestroughs don’t work the way they’re supposed to. The problem isn’t always caused by holes in the trough itself. In reality, rainwater and melting snow often sneak around past the back of the eavestrough, wetting the edge of the roof, eroding the soil on the surrounding ground and causing dirt to splash up against house walls. It’s an easy thing to miss if you’re not paying attention, and it’s an easy thing to ignore even if you do spot it. But either way, if you’ve got a back-of-trough leak happening at your place, then you need to do something about it. And the fix may be easier than you think.
Check your Drip Edge
- The edges of modern roofs are usually lined with strips of sheet metal that protect the edges of wooden roof framing components from getting wet. This is called ‘starter strip’ or ‘drip edge’ in the trade.
- It always includes a lip that extends downwards about an inch, overlapping the top edge of the eavestrough. Or at least it’s supposed to overlap.
- In practice the lip of the drip edge is often too narrow to properly cover the edge of the eavestrough, allowing water to trickle down behind.
- If your eavestroughs are leaking, check this cause first.
Solution #1: Aluminum Fascia
The good news is that there’s an easy solution to back-of-trough leaks, and it begins with a very common building material called ‘aluminum fascia’. You’ll find it at every home improvement store on the planet.
- Buy however many lengths of aluminum fascia that you’ll need to cover the leaky area.
- You could use any kind of sheet metal for this job, but aluminum fascia that’s prefinished to match the colour of your eavestrough is hard to beat. And best of all, aluminum fascia is very easy to custom-cut to the width of strip you’ll need for your particular repair.
- Simply place a piece of aluminum fascia coloured-side-down on a long, flat wooden surface.
- Next, use a straight edge to guide a sharp utility knife to score the back face of the aluminum along its entire length. You’re aiming to make a strip of aluminum that’s wide enough to tuck under the bottom lip of the drip edge, then extend down and overlap the top, back edge of the eavestrough.
- This strip should rest on the anchors that hold the eavestrough to your house.
- Score the aluminum with one deep pass, and then bend it back and forth a few times by hand. It will break easily along a nice, crisp line, leaving you ready to install the metal.
- Tuck the aluminum strip underneath the bottom lip of the drip edge, and over top the back edge of the eavestrough where it fastens to the house.
- This added strip spans the gap between drip edge and eavestrough, covering the place where so many mysterious eavestrough leaks occur.
- If a installing aluminum fascia is too ambitious for your do-it-yourself skills try a roofing contractor from casaGURU. All of them are licensed, insured and homeowner rated.
Solution #2: Rainhandler
Are your eavestroughs too far gone to fix? Are you tired of having to keep them clean of needles and leaves on a forested site? There is a way to eliminate troughs altogether, while also avoiding the erosion and structural damage that troughless roofs cause.
I’ve installed a product called Rainhandler (www.rainaway.ca; 877-266-4949) on several of my buildings and I can vouch for it personally. It fills an important niche when it comes to rainwater management.
- The system uses a series of eaves-mounted louvers to turn roof run-off into droplets again as they leave the roof surface.
- The droplets are also kicked out and away from the building, keeping walls dry.
- I wouldn’t use anything but an eavestrough on homes that require rain to be moved away to keep basements dry, but many places aren’t like this.
Either way, next time it rains, pay attention to your eaves. Good rainwater management may seem like a small thing, but it matters enough to make a few minutes looking up in the rain all worthwhile.