How to Fix Sagging Gutters

Clogged gutter

Keeping a home beautiful and in good repair takes time and effort, and one of the most overlooked but important repair jobs might be hanging right above your head: your gutters. When they are broken or sagging, gutter can cause a lot of problems. Here, we’ll touch on some common causes of sagging gutters and offer some practical steps on how to fix them.

Why Sagging Gutters Are a Problem

The purpose of a gutter is to direct water flow from your roof to the downspouts, then safely away from the house and into the yard. When buildup occurs in gutters and they become clogged, or when they are damaged from either heavy impact or lack of support, they prevent rainwater or melted snow and ice from flowing to the designated channels.

Water can overflow clogged gutters and spill to the ground, where it creates a pool around the foundation. This can seep into the foundation and cause damage that is neither easy nor inexpensive to repair. If water starts to pool on your roof, it could cause major damage to your roof or siding.

All in all, the best way to avoid water damage to your home is by fixing the gutter sag as soon as you notice it. Don’t allow the damage to get worse.

Gutter Sag Caused by a Clog

Gutter Guard
Gutter guard
Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Your gutters or downspouts could be clogging because they’re filled with debris. To keep your gutters functioning efficiently,, you will need to clean them out at least twice a year – even more if you have a lot of overhanging trees. Fallen debris can cause a buildup over time which traps water, weakening your gutters from the added weight and corrosion.

How to Fix a Clogged Gutter

Step 1: Assess the situation. If a gutter is too far gone, and you’ll know just by looking at it, you will need to replace the entire gutter and potentially the fascia board as well. But, if it’s just a small gutter sag, it should be fairly easy to fix.

Step 2: Inspect your ladder. Ladder safety is very important when taking on DIY home improvements jobs because ladder-related mishaps are the number one cause of injury when cleaning gutters.

Inspect your ladder before climbing it, checking for any signs of deterioration or damage. Make sure that it is placed securely on even ground and, when using an extension or straight ladder, follow the angle rule to determine the correct placement in relation to the structure. For every four feet of ladder height, set the ladder one foot away from the structure.

Step 3: Clean out the debris. Use a small hand shovel to scoop dirt and debris from the gutter. Or, you can use your hand, but be sure to wear sturdy gloves to protect your hands from sharp gutter edges, pointed sticks and other hazards that could injure you. 

Step 4: Replace any damaged hardware, if needed. Removing debris will lighten the load on your gutters, but if the gutters were sagging, the damage may already be done. The gutters or the brackets and screws that hold the gutters in place may be bent or broken from the weight of wet sediment and leaves. Inspect for damage and be prepared to replace the hardware or even entire sections of gutter if necessary.

Step 5: Consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards are designed to keep large debris out and increase the flow rate of water. And, you don’t even have to buy the fancy, expensive ones to reap the benefits. An aluminum perforated snap-on gutter guard is inexpensive, effective, and easy to install. 

Gutter Sag Caused by a Weakened or Broken Supports

Like anything else on the exterior of your home, gutter hardware can become damaged from age or impact, and when that happens your gutters will likely start to sag over time. 

Make sure that you’re using the appropriate length gutter spike or screw, and the appropriate width of gutter. Experts recommend that your spike or screw penetrates the fascia at least three quarters of an inch. Also, homes in areas with frequent heavy rainfall or snow should have wide gutters – between five and six inches wide – in order to accommodate the water flow.

How to Fix a Gutter Support

Step 1: Identify the cause and materials needed. Are the support brackets bent or broken? Is the gutter pulling away from the fascia because the screws are loose or bent? If so, take note of the size of the screws or size and type of bracket and purchase replacements.

Step 2: Inspect your ladder. Ladder-related mishaps are the number one cause of injury when cleaning gutters, which is why ladder safety is so important. 

Inspect your ladder before climbing it, checking for any signs of deterioration or damage. Make sure that it is placed securely on even ground and, when using an extension or straight ladder, follow the angle rule to determine the correct placement in relation to the structure. For every four feet of ladder height, set the ladder one foot away from the structure.

Step 3: Replace the gutter, if necessary. Damaged gutters are better off being replaced. So, if there is any question whether your sagging gutter is too far gone to fix, do yourself a favor and replace the damaged section anyway. Better safe than sorry! If this is the case, skip the following steps. 

Step 4: Clean out the debris. Your gutters should be free from debris before proceeding to the next step. 

Step 5: Replace any damaged gutter spikes, screws, or brackets. 

Gutter spikes, also known as gutter nails and gutter screws, can come loose over time. If they are rusted, bent or stripped, replace them. You should have a screw or spike every two to three feet on your gutters. 

Gutter brackets mount into the fascia to hold the gutter up. If you notice damage to any of these, you will need to replace them as well. Use a screwdriver or power drill to remove the screws. Fill the screws holes with waterproof caulk and let dry. Then, drill new holes directly above the old ones. Install your new brackets into the holes, and replace your gutter.

Gutter Sag Caused by Heavy Impact

gutter guard
Photo Credit: 123switch / Pixabay

It’s only a matter of time before overhanging trees will need to be trimmed back in order to avoid damage to your home, particularly in areas with heavy rainfall and snow. If you find that limbs are falling from your trees and causing sagging gutters on your home, follow the following steps to correct it.

How to Fix Damage from Heavy Impact

Step 1: Identify the cause and materials needed. Determine which trees or branches are causing your sagging gutters and collect any hardware or gutter material that needs to be replaced.

Step 2: Inspect your ladder. Ladder-related mishaps are the number one cause of injury when cleaning gutters, which is why ladder safety is so important. 

Inspect your ladder before climbing it. Check for any signs of deterioration or damage. Make sure that it is placed securely on even ground and, when using an extension or straight ladder, follow the angle rule to determine the correct placement in relation to the structure. For every four feet of ladder height, set the ladder one foot away from the structure.

Step 3: Cut back any low-hanging tree branches to prevent large debris from damaging your gutters. Any low-hanging branches in the vicinity of your problem gutters should be cut back well, and as often as they grow back.

Step 4: Replace the gutter, if necessary. Crushed or severely damaged gutter sections should be replaced entirely. If this is the case, replace it and skip the following steps. 

Step 5: Clean out the debris. Before moving on to your final step, make sure the gutters are free from any debris.

Step 6: Replace any damaged gutter spikes, screws, or brackets. 

Gutter spikes, also known as gutter nails and gutter screws, can be hammered or drilled back into the fascia if they are not bent, stripped or rusted. But, if they’re rusted, broken, or bent, you’ll need to remove them and replace them. Install one every two to three feet for maximum stability. 

Gutter brackets mount into the fascia to hold the gutter up. If you notice damage to any of these, you will need to replace them as well. Use a screwdriver or power drill to remove screws. Fill the screw holes with waterproof caulk and let dry. Then, drill new holes directly above the old ones. Install your new brackets into the holes, and replace your gutter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is My Gutter Sagging?

To hold the weight of the water that they channel, gutters require proper support. Their screws must penetrate enough into the fascia, and the gutter must be of sufficient size.

Additionally, overhanging trees could be dropping heavy debris more often than your gutter can handle. Assess the situation, and cut back any trees that may be contributing to the gutter sag.

Are Gutters Supposed to Be Level?

Each gutter section itself should be level. However, gutters should be installed with a very slight slope – one or two inches per 40 feet.

When in doubt, leave the job to a professional. There are a number of reasons you may be experiencing sagging gutters, and the professionals are better equipped to identify the exact cause and correct it.

Main Image Credit: Lex20 / iStockPhoto

Madeline Hoppe

Madeline Hoppe

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Madeline Hoppe is a customer service expert with a deep respect for the written word. In her down time, she enjoys low-key nights watching movies with her family or heading to one of Tampa Bay's local beaches on a summery day.