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Why Do Gutters Come Loose?

why do gutters come loose

As I’m sitting here looking at my garage gutter (which has once again started to pull loose from the house) I ask myself “Why do gutters come loose?” Believe me, I didn’t want to spend my weekend fixing sagging gutters, so let’s figure this out.

loose gutter

There’s a couple variables that will cause your gutters to come loose. Mostly it has to do with the accumulation of weight from debris plus water, or possibly snow/ice. When your gutters get clogged, the water can’t properly drain. In addition to this, water is very heavy and will pull your gutters away form the home. If you have gutter spikes instead of gutter hangers, the hole will wear out. Nevertheless, whatever the situation, these are an easy gutter fix.

SIGNS THAT YOUR GUTTERS ARE COMING LOOSE

Before we get into what caused your gutters to come loose, we will explain how to spot loose gutters. First, here’s a couple signs to look out for, to tell if you have any loose gutters. Gutters leaking between the house and gutter is the most common, so let’s start there.

Water dripping behind gutter

This gutter has a waterfall behind it, and you can see the gap. Guaranteed loose gutter.

If you have water drops on the bottom of gutters, that’s a good sign that something isn’t working properly. That means the water is leaking somewhere, more than likely from clogged gutters. Water will leak between the gutters and fascia board when they get clogged. For instance, you will be able to see water dripping from the gutter, water running down the wall, or even water coming over the front lip of the gutter.

Gutter is visibly loose

The biggest give away that you have loose gutters, is if you can see them sagging in any areas. Gutters are meant to run perfectly straight. If they seem to bow down or “sag” in any areas, that means they need to be re-secured with new hardware.

One day you may look up at your gutter and notice you can see a gap between the gutter and the wall. Whenever you can visibly see a gap between your gutter and your house, that is a clear indication that you have a loose gutter.

Gutter Screws are loose

loose gutter spike
This gutter spike has come completely loose from it’s hole.

Gutter spikes are often referred to as gutter nails or gutter screws, but they are all basically the same thing. A big nail that goes through the gutter and mounts into the rafters of the fascia board.

The good thing about loose gutter spikes, is that you can see them from the ground. They can usually be fixed just by hammering (or screwing) them back into place. However, over time if you keep hammering them back into the same hole, the hole becomes wore out and doesn’t provide any grip.

Also, keep an eye out for rusting hardware. If you see a brown line coming from where the gutter spikes are, that means they are rusting. Rusting gutter spikes can break at any time and are not safe.

CAUSES OF SAGGING GUTTERS

Now that you know how to spot signs of gutters coming loose, let’s talk about what caused this in the first place.

Gutter Spikes Loose

The main cause of sagging gutters 95% of the time, is the gutter spikes have come loose. This is a clear indication that you need to re-secure the gutter with new hardware. Sometimes, just adding gutter hangers in between your pre-existing gutter spikes will help. Walking around your home every couple months to observe if any gutter spikes are hanging out is highly recommended.

Gutter spikes are the old way of hanging gutters. We always recommend to replace gutter spikes with hidden hangers. They actually screw in, instead of having to depend on a big nail that constantly pulls loose.

Accumulation of Debris

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. If you let your gutters fill with debris to the point that they get clogged, then water is going to back up. All that weight is going to be a constant burden on the gutter hangers and it’s going to slowly pull the gutter from the wall.

If the water can’t drain, it stays in the gutter. Eventually pulling it away from the wall.

Improper Installation

This one is self explanatory. If the technicians who installed your gutters failed to properly install it, then you are doomed for failure. It is recommended that there is a gutter hanger approximately every two feet. This is the standard. We don’t understand why anybody would do this, but we’ve seen gutters that only had hangers every 3 or 4 feet.

Drainage Issues

If your gutter can’t drain, it fills with water. Water will pull that gutter loose. But what about if your gutters are properly cleaned and you still have water pooling up? Well, if you don’t have any clogs and your gutters are filling with water, that means you have pitch issues. The pitch of the gutter is the tilt/slant the gutters are positioned in, so that the water drains in the correct direction towards the downspouts. The only solution here is to rehang the gutters correctly with new hardware.

Warped Gutters

This warped gutter needs to be replaced.

Over time, gutters can become warped. It will look like the front of the gutter is starting to unfold. As a result, you’ll need to replace the gutter. You may get lucky and salvage the gutter by adding a whole bunch of hardware to re-secure it. However, gutter spikes will not be good for this. Screw-in hidden hangers would be your go to solution here. They actually attach to the front lip of the gutter. Therefore, this will prevent it from unfolding like in the picture above.

Warped gutters are the result of being outside in the elements. The constant expansion and contraction of the metals slowly makes them less and less strong. Any type of ice dam or snow dam that builds up in the gutter, is going to speed up that process.

Conclusion

Basically if you have sagging gutters in one or more areas, you need to get them re-secured with new hardware. Know the differences in gutter nails vs screws or gutter spikes vs hangers will benefit your decision. We always suggest heavy duty screw-in hidden hangers. You don’t want to be the next person who has to search “gutter fell off house” on google.

We will be writing a new article on “how to fix gutters pulling away from the house” very shortly. But, in the meantime you can always search google for help. Search for terms like “how to fix sagging gutters” “how to repair sagging gutters” “how to reattach gutters” or even “rehang gutters.” They’ll get you to where you need to go.


Contact the experts at My Gutter Pro

Of course hiring an expert ensures that the job is done properly. If you live in Central Maryland or Washington DC, we have you covered at My Gutter Pro. Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll get you taken care of.

My Gutter Pro

93 Monocacy Blvd. Unit A-6

Frederick, MD 21701

301-898-2880


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1 Comment

  1. Tony Waldron on March 16, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to explain this. We’ve been having issues with our gutters coming loose every couple years. More than likely the holes are wore out so we will switch to the hidden hangers your article talked about. Thanks again for putting this together!!!

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