Loose gutters come in many forms or styles. They all look different from each other, but they all mean the same thing. If your gutters are loose or coming loose, they’ll need to be re-secured to prevent further damages.
In this “Loose Gutters Guide” we will show you pictures of how loose gutters can look. We will also give a brief explanation of what is likely causing these issues.
Checking for sagging gutters is easy. Gutters are supposed to be straight. Meaning, if you draw a line from end to end the line should be straight. All you have to do to see if you have sagging gutters, is to step back from your home and observe the gutters. A slight dip or a kink in any one spot is what we call a sagging gutter.
Whenever your gutter sags in one spot like this, the water pools up in that spot. This happens because the water is not able to flow uphill and is basically stuck there until it evaporates away or drip leaks. The weight from the excess water adds a burden to the other gutter spikes and pulls them loose too.
Basically this is one of the beginning stages of loose gutters. If left sagging the water will collect here which adds more burden to the other hardware and fascia board. Sagging gutters are normally able to be repaired by adding new hardware, like screw in hidden hangers.
Sometimes the gutter will separate from the wall instead of sagging down. This usually happens when your gutter spikes have come loose. You won’t be able to see this from a distance. To tell if this is happening you just need to walk around your home closely while looking up at the gutters.
The picture above is a very extreme gap and very obvious to see. However, the gaps are usually much more subtle like in the photo below.
Checking for gaps behind the gutters is easy. Maintain a close distance to the home and look up at the underside of your gutters while walking the perimeter of your home. If you can see the sky between the gutter and the wall, then the gutter is loose. This is the most common way that the gutters will appear to be loose, and the easiest to fix.
Whenever we see a lip forming on a gutter, the first thing we think is gutter neglect. In order for this to happen, a lot of water had to pool up in that location over and over. It could have also happened from water expanding into ice or perhaps damage from a falling tree branch.
There is no repair for a gutter with a lip. Basically what is happening is the gutter itself is uncurling. Whatever has caused this to happen is another story, the important thing here is that you almost always have to replace in these situations.
You could attempt to fix this by adding new hardware all around the lip. We’ve seen people add 3 or 4 brackets to either side of the damaged section. The only way this will work properly is if the back of the gutter stays completely flush to the wall. Keep in mind that the uncurling process will continue on and it could uncurl right past the new brackets eventually.
Leaning gutters are very easy to spot. You can usually see the inside of the gutter from the ground or the street, like in the photo above. When your gutter starts to lean over like in this picture, it is in the beginning stages of falling off of your home. Falling gutters can be very dangerous and expensive, so if you see this happening you need to act fast.
If your gutter is leaning like in the above picture, it is a sure sign that something major is happening. The first thing we would think here is that the fascia board is water damaged and too soft/weak to support the gutter. When your gutter gets to this point, you should definitely have an expert examine the gutter system and the fascia board. Re-securing a loose gutter onto rotting fascia board does not work either. The gutter will be leaning in a couple weeks again and eventually fall off the home like in the photo below.
In the picture above you can see a gutter that has pulled the fascia board and soffit down along with it. A bad wind storm can pull a really loose gutter down like this. However, this would only happen if your fascia board was water damaged and/or very loose.
One of the worse things that can happen with your gutters is when water gets behind them. Water destroys the wood from which your home is built. Therefore preventing it from happening is crucial to your homes up keep. If you can see the sky between your gutter and your fascia board, you’ll want to get that tightened up as soon as possible. Don’t let your fascia board get damaged because that is a much more expensive fix.
You may also see water stains on your brick or siding under the gutters. If you see stains forming in these areas, your gutters are probably loose and need to be re-secured. The photo below shows an extreme case of water stain. Likely it took years to cause this discoloration.
One of the most important functions of gutters is to keep the water from destroying your wood and fascia board. Rotting fascia board is both a cause and effect of loose gutters. Having loose gutters will expose your fascia board which will rot faster from the water. And the rotting fascia board will cause the gutters to fall off of the home eventually.
Neglecting your gutters by letting debris build up is the number one cause of loose gutters. When gutters get clogged the water can’t escape. Therefore, when the water can’t escape it builds up and adds weight to the gutter. The hardware that supports the gutters (gutter spikes, hidden hangers, brackets, etc..) can’t handle the extra weight and come loose.
Always remember that any water going behind your gutters is destroying your home. Keeping an eye out for loose gutters is something all homeowners should practice regularly. Catching a loose gutter in it’s early stage is a super easy fix.
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