I have a downspout leading to a large rain barrel that leaks from one or more of the joints.

Instructions I can find on the internet suggest either taking it apart and re-assembling with new sealant, or scraping out the old sealant and putting in new, which may amount to the same thing given the access I have around the joints.

I'd prefer to fix the leaks without taking it apart. Is this possible? For example, is there some kind of tape or wrap I could apply?

It's in the back yard, so appearance is mostly irrelevant.

Photo of the situation. Notes:

  1. I'll do the repair once it warms up and dries out.
  2. The leaks are present in warm weather too.


3 Answers 3


Downspouts aren't sealed because gravity prevents much water from coming back up through the lapped connections. So if that's happening something's usually plugged.

In this case, it's because of the ice blockage. If you were to seal the system you'd just move the "leak" to the gutter, and your icicles would form there instead because the entire pipe would be full of ice.

Eliminate the ice plug at the bottom and be happy.

  • Leaks are there in warm weather too, so not ice, though it could plausibly be plugged with something else. Question edited.
    – Reid
    Feb 19, 2019 at 22:44
  • So if downspouts aren't sealed, why is there so much information on the internet about how to properly seal downspouts?
    – Reid
    Feb 19, 2019 at 22:45
  • There's much "widsom" on the internet. A good portion of it is not to be heeded.
    – isherwood
    Feb 20, 2019 at 13:51
  • I'll check for clogs once it warms up, and accept then if appropriate.
    – Reid
    Mar 1, 2019 at 15:47

Horizontal drainage needs a slope to drain even with threaded , glued or slip fit pipe like you have. With normal drain lines we look for 1/4 bubble to make sure it "goes down the drain". your slip fit down spouts are not a sealed joint. and no slope so even if you seal the joint next big freeze may split the "down spouts" because they look to be horizontal.

  • They are not horizontal, but I'll check the slope.
    – Reid
    Feb 21, 2019 at 16:47
  • Slope is a lot more than "1/4 bubble", assuming that means a spirit level's bubble is one quarter out of the lines.
    – Reid
    Mar 1, 2019 at 15:46

Sooo ... I finally got in there and indeed it was clogged. There was about 4–5 feet of this. 😳

disgusting brown plug of goo emerging from a gutter downspout

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