Gutters are exposed to harsh elements, so they must be maintained. Unclogging them is the first step to preventing further problems.

Spikes and ferrules can work loose and may need to be pounded back in. A better solution is fascia hanger brackets which help to keep the gutters attached to the house. To eliminate annoying dripping sounds try tying a rope onto one of the hangers; water will cling to the rope instead of falling straight down. You’ll be glad you read this!

Loose Fasteners

Over time, gutter spikes — which are essentially big nails — lose their grip on the holes in your fascia boards. If they come loose enough, water flow may be impeded which can lead to damage to your home’s siding and foundation.

To prevent this, you’ll want to replace the old spikes with gutter screws. Gutter screws catch hold better than spikes, and they don’t corrode as quickly either.

If you decide to use new gutter hangers, remove any existing ones with a pry bar or hammer. Make sure you have a sturdy ladder and someone to support it while you work and don’t forget a pair of gloves and safety glasses.

While climbing on the ladder, push the gutter tight against the fascia board and line up a new screw or bracket just to the left or right of the original hole. Then hammer it in. Be careful not to ding the aluminum or bend it too much with excessive pressure.

Sagging Gutters

Gutter systems channel water away from roofs and foundations, protecting the structural integrity of homes. But gutters must remain free of clogs, sags, and holes to work properly.

A sagging gutter usually means the system is overloaded with leaves, twigs, and other debris. This added weight puts additional strain on the gutter hangers and fascia board.

First, a clean gutter is necessary before attempting a repair. Use a ladder and a bucket to remove any visible debris from the gutters themselves. Then, climb up to the area where the gutters are sagging and check the condition of the gutter hangers.

Gutters that sag may also indicate poor attachment to the house, misaligned slopes, or ice dams. Regular gutter maintenance including cleaning, inspections, and the installation of gutter guards can help identify and prevent these issues. However, many gutter repair problems require a professional to make the repairs safely.

Deformed Gutters

Gutter systems are designed to collect rainwater and channel it away from the foundation of your house. If a gutter section becomes warped, though, water won’t be able to reach downspout outlets and can overflow instead.

Luckily, warped sections aren’t hard to fix. You can purchase gutter aprons in preformed lengths to fit the sections of the gutter that are warped. Installing a gutter apron can instantly correct the overflow issue, and it’s much less expensive than purchasing a new gutter section.

You can also replace the gutter spikes and fascia hanger brackets to resolve sagging gutters. You can find all of these items at a hardware store or online. To work safely, have a friend hold the base of your ladder so that it doesn’t slip or fall while you’re working on the gutters. It’s also important to use a ladder that is tall enough for you to reach the gutters comfortably. You should also wear a pair of work gloves when handling rusty nails and screws to avoid electrolytic corrosion, which eats at the metal over time.

Nails or Screws

If your gutters are still being held up by metal nails (spikes) it is likely time to upgrade to a modern style of the gutter hanger. These are screw-based and don’t loosen like spikes do.

Screws also have shear strength and hold better than nails. A screw’s threads bite into the material, allowing it to hold tighter and resist expansion and contraction of the gutters. This is the reason that we recommend using screws for any new gutter installation.

It is also less damaging to the fascia board to drill a screw in than it is to tap a nail out. Use a drill to install gutter screws in place of the old spikes and make sure you use screws that are designed specifically for this purpose. These screws are often hex heads and have a washer under them that provides a flat bearing surface to reduce the chance that the mating surface will be crushed. Continue reading the next article.