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How to Fix a Sagging Gutter (A Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Fix a Sagging Gutter (A Step-By-Step Guide)

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We’ll start by breaking some good news: sagging gutters are a fairly common issue and one of the easiest to repair.

If your gutter system is well-structured, then it’s likely sagging simply due to ongoing clogging.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you exactly how to fix a sagging gutter, so roll up your sleeves and let’s get started!

How Do You Properly Identify the Problem?

Before climbing the ladder to fix your sagging gutter, there are a few things you should be aware of.

You should look into the sections that are causing this problem further. Not only that, but you’ll need to know what kind of support your gutter has so you know exactly what you’ll be replacing.

The three preliminary steps listed below will explain what you need to do before repairing your sagging gutter:

Step 1: Clean the Gutter

First things first, clear out any accumulated debris in your gutter. This will provide you with a clear picture of the sections that require repair.

Besides, when the time comes to fix the sagging parts, having the gutters clean will give you more space or better access to do so.

Here are the tools you’ll need to clean the gutter:

  • Bucket/Plastic floor covering
  • Gutter scoop
  • Garden hose

To begin, either lay a plastic floor covering beneath the gutter or bring a bucket up with you to collect the gunk you’ll be removing.

Then, climb the ladder and begin cleaning the gutter with a gutter scoop. To finish, run some water through your gutter with your garden hose, and you’re done!

Step 3: Determine the Type of Gutter Support

We’ll need you to look into something while you’re up there cleaning the gutter. Look for the type of support that your gutter has.

In other words, check to see if your gutter is supported by gutter spikes, hidden gutter hangers, or gutter brackets. Let’s explain each of them and what they look like:

1 – Gutter Spikes

Simply put, gutter spikes are long nails that secure the gutter to the fascia board. They’re considered one of the older methods of mounting gutters.

If you’ve noticed a nail poking through the gutter and into the fascia every 18-24 inches, those are the spikes we’re talking about.

In fact, the heads of these nails can be seen while standing on the ground. When they’re super loose, they can hang out from the gutter as if they’re about to fall.

2 – Hidden Gutter Hangers

Hidden gutter hangers are a more modern method used for hanging the gutters.

They certainly have many advantages over the traditional spiked gutter system. For example, they’re easier to install/replace and last longer.

Hidden hangers resemble clips, and sometimes there’s a nail attached to them. They clip on the front and back of the gutter from the inside, then the nail is pushed into the fascia board.

That’s why they’re labeled as hidden; you don’t see nail heads on the front of the gutter like you would with spikes.

3 – Gutter Brackets

Gutter brackets are super easy to spot while standing on the ground. They’re basically U-shaped brackets that wrap around the gutter, providing support from underneath.

These brackets are usually screwed into the fascia board.

Sometimes, they may be the only type of support available in the gutter. Other times, they may also be accompanied by gutter spikes.

You see, they can be a great way to boost the support and stability of a gutter during heavy rain.

Step 2: Inspect the Sagging Parts

Now that you’ve cleaned out your gutter, start looking for the loose parts. You can look from above while cleaning the gutter or from the ground for a broader perspective.

It’s essential to identify the sagging parts because this will help you know exactly which areas to focus on.

Once you’ve targeted the problematic sections, investigate the nature of the problem. To put it another way, what exactly is causing your gutter to sag?

Is it because the gutter support isn’t secured properly? Maybe it’s bent, worn out, or broken and requires replacement.

If you discovered that it was simply a matter of loose nails, your task would be much easier.

Depending on the type of nails used in your gutter’s support, you’ll need a hammer or a screwdriver to fasten them back in place.

However, if the problem was more complex and they needed to be replaced, then we’re here to help you through this process!

Below is a detailed guide to replacing the three most common gutter support types we discussed earlier.

How to Replace Gutter Spikes

We want to make an important note before we continue. It’ll be extremely beneficial to have someone with you during this task, regardless of the type of support you’re replacing.

That is so they can hold up the sagging part of the gutter while you replace the old components with new ones.

Therefore, you won’t have to exert as much effort supporting it with one hand while securing it with the other.

Now, here are the tools you’ll need to replace the gutter spikes:

  • Claw hammer
  • Threaded gutter screws with ferrules
  • Screwdriver/Drill

Step 1: Remove Old Gutter Spikes

You’ll need the help of a claw hammer in detaching the old spikes from your gutter.

Start to loosen the nail from its position by using the claw part of the hammer. If the nail was already loose, pulling it out from the fascia board shouldn’t give you a hard time.

Yet, if it’s still partially secured, you’ll have to patiently move the claw back and forth until it comes out.

Step 2: Drill Holes for the Screws

Bring one of the new gutter screws up the ladder to find out whether you need to do this step.

Try to fit it in the pre-drilled hole on the front of the gutter and see if the screw head passes through. If it did, you’ll need to drill new holes; if it didn’t, you can skip this step.

In case the hole turned out to be larger than the new screws, drill new holes half an inch away from the old ones.

Drill holes with a diameter large enough to fit the screw shaft but small enough to prevent the screw head from crossing it.

Step 3: Fasten New Gutter Screws

Begin by inserting the gutter screw through the hole made in the gutter’s front. Next, cover the screw shaft inside the gutter with the ferrule.

Then, slide the entire screw into the hole and start tightening it. To secure the screw in place, use a drill or a screwdriver.

If you’re not quite experienced with a drill, we recommend sticking with a screwdriver. You see, this step is a little delicate.

You don’t want to drill the nail in so far that it causes the gutter to burst due to pressure.

How to Replace Hidden Gutter Hangers

You might want to replace your old hidden hangers with new ones or use them to upgrade your gutter spikes. In any case, installing them is a breeze! The following are the tools you’ll need:

  • Screwdriver/Drill
  • Hidden gutter hangers

Step 1: Detach Old Hangers

To remove the hidden hangers from your gutter, you’ll need a screwdriver or a drill. All you have to do is turn the screw attached to the hanger counterclockwise.

Then, detach the hanger ends that are hooked to the front and back sides of the gutter.

Step 2: Position the New Gutter Hangers

Generally speaking, there are two types of hidden gutter hangers available on the market.

The first type includes hangers with separate screws. The second type has screws attached to the hangers.

Whatever type you get, it should have ends that are designed to hook to the gutter’s edges.

Start by attaching the front part of the hanger to the inside front lip of the gutter. Then, fit the other end of the hanger over the gutter’s back edge.

Step 3: Secure the Hangers

Finally, screw either the separate nail or the nail attached to the hanger into the fascia board. Fix the nail in place with a drill or a screwdriver, but be careful not to over-tighten it.

On a side note, this single nail is sufficient to pin the hanger. Don’t try to screw the gutter’s lip to the hanger’s hook as that might cause the gutter to tear.

How to Replace Gutter Brackets

If you have a problem with one or more of your gutter brackets, here’s what you’ll need to replace them:

  • Gutter brackets (same model as the old ones)
  • Screwdriver/Drill

Of course, if you’re going to replace all of the gutter brackets, you can get any other model you want.

However, if you’re just replacing a few brackets, it’s best to match them up with the ones that are already there.

Step 1: Remove the Gutter

To gain access to the screwed part of the bracket, you’ll need to take the gutter out of the picture.

Before removing the gutter, be sure to carefully detach the gutter’s front lip from the bracket.

Step 2: Unscrew Old Brackets

A gutter bracket is typically attached to the fascia board with 1-3 nails. Unscrew all the nails you can see with a screwdriver or drill to completely remove the bracket.

Step 3: Install New Brackets

Installing the new gutter brackets is a pretty straightforward process. First, line up the screw holes in the bracket with the ones already in the fascia board.

Then, fasten it, using whatever tool you’re most comfortable with. Finally, bring the gutter back up there and gently place it on the newly installed brackets.

Don’t forget to secure the gutter’s front lip to the bracket’s higher end to keep it from moving.

Final Thoughts

We can safely say that you are now an expert on how to fix a sagging gutter!

Remember that knowing what caused the problem in the first place is critical.

For example, if it’s due to constant water accumulation, you should first address the clogged gutter or downspout.

If your gutters are far too narrow for the amount of rain that falls on them, you should replace them with wider ones.

Getting to the root of the issue reduces the likelihood of it happening again; good luck with your investigation!

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