Miters are corner sections of gutter used to take the water around the corners. There are several types of miters, such as inside/outside corner, box/strip, etc… and they all perform the same basic function. And that function is to make the gutters wrap around the home. Without miters, you would need a separate downspout for every section of the gutter on the home.
SIGNS YOUR MITER IS LEAKING
The only way to know if your gutters or miters are leaking is to look at your gutters during rain or soon after rain. Leaking miters are easy to spot considering miters are only located on corners. To know if any of your miters are leaky, simply walk around (during rainfall) and look up to each corner. If there is water pouring or leaking from the miter, then the seal has likely worn out and this miter needs to be resealed.
Keep in mind that if you have a clogged gutter or downspout near the miter, that the clog could cause the miter to appear as if it’s leaking. This can be misleading when this happens. It is because the water can’t go down the spout so it escapes from wherever it can. Essentially, when miters appear to be leaking very close to the downspout, it is likely to actually just be a clogged downspout and no sealing is needed.
CAUSES OF MITER LEAKS
Here are a few common causes of miters to leaks.
The most common cause we see of miter leaks is simply when the seal wears out. Caulk/sealant used in gutter systems typically lasts anywhere from 1-5 years. Depending on how much water traffic comes through that section and how much direct sunlight it gets happens to play a huge role in how fast your seals will break down.
Corrosion or rust
Another one of the more common causes of leaks comes from rust or corrosion. On rare occasions, rust can form on your aluminum gutters. The most common area for this to happen is the miter corners.
Whenever there is rust forming on the gutters or miters, it's usually easy to see. Sometimes it will only show on the insides of the gutters, but for the most part you can usually spot rust forming on gutters and miters.
If you have a rust hole and water is pouring straight through it, the only solution is to replace the miter. You could fill the hole with some caulk or sealant, but because it is rust the hole will eventually grow larger and the seal will no longer work.
This one is self-explanatory. If the person/contractor who installed the miters sealed them incorrectly in the first place, then they are bound to leak at some point. The miters are the exact same shape as the gutters, so when they are properly slipped into place they should be flush on all sides. However, if the person who installed them did not slide them together correctly and they are not flush, then they will likely leak much faster than if they were sealed properly.
Neglecting your gutters is when you don’t clean them for a few years and you have a cesspool of decomposing junk stuck in your gutters. Click here to learn more about maintaining your gutters
Letting your gutters get like this is often the cause of pretty much every problem associated with your gutters. Please don’t let your gutters get to this point. The fascia board behind the gutter will eventually rot, and wood repairs are very expensive.
Lastly, damage to the gutter and/or miters does happen from time to time. Like when a big tree branch falls onto your home and smashes your gutters.
A direct hit from a larger tree limb is going to jolt and likely dislodge the gutter system. Any seams are subject to tearing open from the impact. When big tree branches hit the edge of the home they usually dent the gutter to the point that it needs to be replaced. If you are replacing the gutter you may as well replace the miter too, that will insure the system will work correctly.
RE-SEAL OR REPLACE YOUR LEAKY MITER?
Problems with your miters leaking will leave you with the decision to re-seal the miter or to replace the miter. There are no real definite answers here, as it all depends on the condition of your existing miter.
If your miter and gutters are less than 10 years old, you likely won’t need to replace anything. As long as everything is in good working condition and the miter was properly installed, then re-sealing is going to be your better option.
Rust, rust holes, dents, bends, and any type of corrosion are all things that if you see on your miters, you are going to want to replace them. Because the corners are such a high traffic area we would suggest replacing your miter any time that it is damaged.
Keep in mind this business can check these issues out for you and let you know if they should be fixed or replaced.