How to get the sag out of your gutters

While cleaning your gutters, you might notice water collecting at one point. If the sag gets worse, you might notice it from the ground. Either way, a sag signals the beginning of the end for a gutter unless you fix it. Here is what to look for and how to best fix it yourself.

How to get the sag out of your gutters

Your gutters are most likely held up either by spikes or brackets

If yours are held up by spikes, you'll see the spike heads on the outer lip of the gutter. If your gutters are held up by brackets, you won't see them from the ground, because they clip into the inside of the gutter. Once you've identified which system your gutters use, one of the following sections should help you out.

Spikes

With the spike system, a long spike is driven through the top edge of the gutter, then slipped through a tube (called a ferrule) before being driven through the back of the gutter, through the fascia board and — let's hope — into the end of a rafter.

Try this first: Simply to hit the spike head with your hammer to see if you can tighten it and remove the sag.

If the spike won't pull tight: A spike that won't pull tight might be because the installer missed the rafter end. The fascia board alone is not thick enough to provide a strong attachment. Look closely at the fascia; you'll see the heads of the nails used to attach it to the rafter end. If the spike is not in line with those nails, pull it out, drill a new hole through the top edge of the gutter, insert the spike and ferrule, and drive the new spike in. (It will easily pierce the back of the gutter — no need to drill there.)

If the spike is properly aligned but won't grab: Water damage may have rotted the end of the rafter. Call a carpenter unless you are handy enough to remove the gutter and fascia and repair the rafter. 

Brackets

If brackets were used, they clip inside the front of the gutter and are nailed to the roof sheathing under the shingles or in some cases, to the fascia.

First thing to do: Check to see if the bracket is bent or came loose at the front. (The nails under the shingles rarely come loose — a good thing, since they are tough to hammer without breaking shingles or removing the gutters.)

If the bracket is bent: All you need to do is bend the bracket back into shape so that it fits properly again, and if necessary, can be reattached.

If the bracket is loose: If a bracket has come loose, your best bet is to resupport the gutter section with a spike (see above.) If the brackets are nailed to the fascia, you can either unclip them and remove the gutters or resupport them with a spike.

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