Gutters are essential in keeping our homes dry and safe.
However, time and unexpected weather conditions can bring occasional trouble to our roof’s unsung hero, and one of them is sagging.
Human error or natural factors like the weather can sag gutters.
If you’re facing this problem and wondering how to fix a sagging gutter, we’re here to walk you through some steps.
For starters, fixing it requires an assessment if it can be salvaged by replacing some parts, modifying how it’s attached, or if it needs to be entirely changed.
There are multiple reasons why your gutters are starting to sag. It can be the gutter itself, how it’s installed, or because of uncontrollable events like natural disasters.
Check some of the reasons below:
Gutters can be of different materials. The most common materials in the markets are vinyl, aluminum, galvanized steel, or copper.
These materials are subject to physical change due to external factors like temperature.
The constant changes in the gutter’s atomic properties can make it shrink or deform over time. These physical changes can disturb the gutter’s installation and sag.
Sometimes, it’s not the gutter but the installation.
Installing a gutter is meticulous, but some homeowners would opt to install them on their own. That’s primarily true with vinyl gutters, as they’re lighter.
Though the chances of correctly installing a vinyl gutter on your own are high, metal ones might need professional help.
Metals need to be soldered and customized to your roof’s shape. Since metals are also heavier, they require more human resources, experience, and quality tools to slope them evenly.
There’s an emphasis on experience and quality tools, as a simple error like loose screws or uneven brackets and spikes can strain the gutter.
One of the most common and overlooked reasons for gutter damage is clogging.
Debris, like leaves and twigs, accumulate faster than we think—especially if trees surround your house. These particles could eventually sneak in and clog your gutter.
If this happens, rainwater won’t be able to flow and accumulate in certain parts of the waterway. The uneven water weight distribution could cause an imbalance and slowly sag your gutter.
Before fixing your sagging gutter, it’s important to know the cause first.
If you think you’re equipped with the skill to do the job, check the following ways to troubleshoot the problem:
You’ll need a ladder to check your gutters.
For your safety, make sure that it’s strong enough to support your weight. Try using a platform ladder instead of a straight one to avoid touching the gutter.
You can also have someone at the base to look out for you while you start inspecting.
Debris, like leaves and twigs, can accumulate rapidly. You can first clean this out to see a better view of your gutter’s condition.
The debris weight might also be sagging your gutters too. Depending on your house’s location, gutters must be cleaned periodically to make sure it’s clog-free.
House fascias are horizontal boards that line the edge of your roof. It supports the roof tiles on the edges and holds the gutter.
Check the nails and screws that attach your gutter to the fascia board. If there are any loose pairs you can drive them in again by using a cordless or impact drill.
Remember not to over-tighten them, as this can strip the screws’ threads.
If multiple sections are sagging, you may need to re-fasten longer areas. When doing this, ensure it’s correctly sloped by ½ inch for every 10 ft.
Failing to do this can prevent the water from flowing correctly and create more damage.
Consistent water exposure can also weaken and rot a fascia board. It could soften the areas to which the nails and screws are attached.
If this is the case, you might need to change the fascia board and the gutter.
Gutter spikes are usually used to install a gutter. They’re long nails that drive through the gutter and onto the fascia board.
As durable as they are, heavy rainfall or snow can add weight to the gutter and loosen the spikes. If you checked and this is the problem, you can reinstall or replace it.
You can easily screw loose spikes using a suitable drill.
However, rusted or bent ones need to be replaced. Make sure there’s a 2-3 meters distance between each spike. The closer the spikes are, the stronger they can hold weight.
Gutter brackets are 5-7 inches of curved copper that mounts a gutter. If a bracket comes loose, it can cause the whole gutter to sag. Check if there are any that need to be tightened.
However, broken ones must be removed. The removal leaves holes in your fascia and must be sealed by a waterproof caulk.
Wait 3-12 hours for the caulk to dry before drilling fresh ones. Remember to slope the gutter correctly by aligning and drilling new holes slightly higher than the original spots.
If you’ve constantly been repairing your gutter, maybe it has reached its limit.
Gutters usually last 10-50 years, depending on the material and maintenance. A gutter that’s seldom cleaned is at risk of being damaged beyond repair.
It also goes the same if you choose an unsuitable gutter material for your environment’s weather conditions (e.g. vinyl gutters cracking in cold regions).
Try to assess the cost of repairs versus buying a new one. A mid-range gutter can cost around $2 to $40 per foot. Consider purchasing a new one if the repairs are around this amount.
A sagging gutter is no good news. Aside from being costly, it can take up much of your time too.
To prevent this from happening, you might want to try the following measures:
Mitigating the problem is the best way to save yourself from headaches. Clean your gutters periodically to ensure no debris clogs their waterway.
If you have surface tension gutter guards, spraying the debris off using a hose can quickly be done once a week. If you’re using a screen, brush, or foam gutter guard, ensure they’re also cleaned and replaced.
Cleaning your gutters is ideally done 2-3 times a year. In case you live near the forest or are surrounded by trees, you should do it every six months.
There are also a lot of gutter cleaning services available when you don’t want to do the work. It usually costs around $0.80 per linear foot.
Sometimes saving money from DIY sounds enticing. However, you might be setting yourself up for future expensive repairs if you don’t have the resources and skills.
Paying a little bit more can go a long way. Hiring professionals to install your gutters might be pricier, but it can give you peace of mind that it’s being done correctly.
A professional crew is trained to assess what’s best for your gutters down to their downspouts. Most of all, they have the skills and tools to complete the work.
It’s overall an efficient option that saves you the hassle. It’s also a lot safer since it eliminates the risk of you falling or slipping.
Whether installing your gutter on your own or hiring a professional, it’s imperative to know the suitable material for your gutter.
It would help if you considered your environment’s climate, the house’s fascia’s material, and your aesthetic preference.
Assessing these factors would help you choose a gutter material between what looks good and durable.
A sagging gutter is a typical house repair caused by poor installation, worn-out parts, and natural factors.
Fixing a sagging gutter requires troubleshooting to determine its primary cause. Usually, a clogged gutter, worn-out parts, or faulty fascia can cause a gutter to sag.
To prevent this, it’s advised to clean your gutters regularly, choose the suitable gutter material, and get them professionally installed if possible.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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