How to Repair Gutters: 12 Simple DIY Fixes

Over time, it’s typical for gutters to show signs of wear and tear. With some basic DIY  skills, you can perform common gutter repairs yourself.

DIY gutter repair

12 Most Common Gutter Problems & How to Fix Them

Gutters play a pivotal role in the protection of your home, directing water away from the foundation. When they aren’t working correctly, you may experience pooling on the ground, roof rot, and siding discoloration. Here’s a look at the 12 most common gutter problems and how to fix them. Remember to practice all ladder safety rules when performing gutter repair.

1. Sagging Gutters

Gutters sag from the build-up of debris or loosening of hardware. Water pools in the gutter, weighing it down when there’s a build-up of dirt. If you notice sagging, inspect your gutters and clean the channel to clear the clog.

If you find missing nails, drill in similar nails ½-inch from the original holes. For gutters being held by brackets, you must dislodge the sagging section.

  • Use a screwdriver to undo the screws on the front of the gutters.
  • Pull the bracket until the gutter becomes loose. Once the gutter is out, place it on the ground.
  • Brackets attach to the fascia board using screws or gutter spikes. Dislodge the nails using a claw hammer. For screws, use a screwdriver.
  • Drill a new hole ½-inch from the original hole.
  • Fasten new brackets using nails/ screws until it’s firmly secured. You can now restore the gutters in place.
  • You’ll need to replace bent gutters with new ones.

2. Overflowing Gutters

The common causes of overflowing are excess rainfall, few downspouts, or clogged gutters. Failing to fix overflowing gutters causes eroded landscaping, basement flooding, and discolored siding.

Here are some ways to stop overflowing gutters.

  1. Clean your gutters and downspouts to get rid of debris. Run water through your gutters using a hose pipe at least twice a year.
  2. Install splash guards. They prevent water from flowing over the ridge of the roof valley and onto the ground.
  3. Check your gutters’ positioning. If there’s no debris clogging them and water keeps spilling, you need to fix the pitch and tilt of your gutters. Use a laser level to determine whether your gutters are tilting forward or backward.
  4. Replace with bigger gutters: Existing gutters might not handle heavy rainfall. Gutters are more prone to overflowing if the roof has a steep pitch.

3. Noisy Dripping Downspouts

Noisy downspouts are often a result of rainwater hitting the elbow. As rainwater flows through the downspout, stones, twigs, and other debris may make a rattling sound.

How to Fix

  • Consider insulation to reduce noise and vibration. Wrap a foam insulator around the downspout pipe.
  • Change the downspout’s angle. Repositioning it with a spacer or longer clips moves water away from the siding in a quieter manner.
  • Replace the elbow on your downspout. Replace it with a similar plastic or vinyl part. When water hits the elbow, both have a quieter echo.

You can add downspout chains to direct the water down in a quieter fashion. Nylon ropes also run water down to the elbow with minimal noise.

4. Leaky Gutters

Clogs are the most common cause of leaky gutters. Loose fasteners, cracks, separated joints, or improperly sealed joints also lead to leaky gutters.

Cracks may appear at seams or braces due to extreme weather fluctuations. Poor maintenance and failing to unclog your gutters results in holes and gaps in the joints.

  • Caulk the space between your gutters and the roof’s fascia board.
  • Fix cracks using silicone or sealant. Apply steady pressure to force the sealant into the cracks.
  • Tighten the loose gaps and replace rusty fasteners.
  • If many trees surround your home, install quality leaf guards or mesh over the gutters.

5. Cracked Gutters

Exposure to extreme weather conditions leads to cracks and corrosion. Other causes of cracks are rust buildup and fallen tree branches. Cracked gutters may start to sag and overflow, causing damage to your home’s siding.

Clean the gutters to remove debris, then fix the cracks using a water-resistant sealant. It’s perfect for joining lap seams in aluminum, downspouts, and vinyl gutters.

6. Drains That Are Too Close to the Foundation

Clogged gutters cause water to spill over your home and around the foundation. Or it could be that your drainage is faulty. Homes built on an improperly sloped lot are also prone to this problem.

  • Correct the slope of the soil around your home.
  • Add a downspout extension on the elbow to make it drain far from your home’s foundation.
  • Install a sump pump. Sump pumps collect water that accumulates in the soil and then discharge it away from the foundation.

7. Gutter Rust

Steel, copper, and aluminum gutters are more prone to rust when exposed to humidity. Rust forms in gutters that have a lot of standing water. Standing water results from an improper slope or installation. Rust buildup in the gutter system causes holes and leaks.

  • Use a tough wire brush to scrub off the rust buildup. Coat all affected parts with a metal primer. It helps delay the rusting process.
  • Apply roofing cement to cover any holes in your gutters.
  • Use a sealant to fix leaks from rusty gutter sections.

8. Gutter Slope

Gutter slopes occur due to constant excess weight from standing water. If the pitch is off, gutters won’t drain water. Downspouts should be at the lowest point of any gutter.

Fascia boards become loose and sag further away from the rafters. Another sign of improper gutter pitch is water overflowing straight over the end cap.

How to Fix a Gutter Slope

  • Unclog your downspouts to prevent standing water from causing a gutter slope.
  • Remove the brackets to hold the gutters in their right position. Fix the brackets using a drill to secure the gutters.
  • Re-pitch the gutters if there’s no debris blocking your downspouts.
  • Re-seal the end caps using a waterproof sealant. Check if water overflows right over the end caps after correcting the pitch.
  • Run water using a garden hose to check if your gutters work.

9. Clogged Gutters

Clogged gutters and downspouts ruin the proper flow of water. Gutter clogging often happens in autumn when the leaves are falling. If your gutters clog, water doesn’t flow down through the downspout’s extension.

Water leaking from the elbow joints in a spray pattern is also a sign of clogged gutters. Look for peeling paint on the fascia, and check if the gutters are pulling away from the board.

  • Use gutter cleaning tools or hire a gutter cleaning company to remove the debris and unclog the downspouts.
  • Insert a hose pipe and run water to unclog the downspout.

10. Loose-Fitting Gutters

Nails and hangers become loose due to excess weight from standing water. Replacing your gutters due to loose gutter spikes isn’t necessary. You can DIY the repair using a ladder, some gutter screws, and a hammer.

  • Climb a ladder to remove any debris clogging the gutters.
  • Use a drill to remove gutter spikes from all the sagging areas. Replace the spikes with 8-inch gutter screws. Gutter screws pass through the fascia board and beyond the roof rafters.
  • Inspect the fascia board for any damage. If water overflows behind the gutter, fascia boards begin to rot. Replace the board if the damage is significant to prevent your gutters from sagging.

11. Missing Gutters

Replacing missing gutters prevents serious damage to your home’s siding and foundation. Depending on the material used, they cost between $3 and $30 per linear foot. Gutters sag before pulling away due to poorly installed fasteners and debris buildup.

Incorrect hanger spacing and decaying fascia boards are other common reasons. Gutter damage can be gradual or a result of extreme weather.

  • Standing water causes the nails connecting your gutters with the fascia to loosen. Use a ladder to inspect the fascia board. Replace old joint connectors and peel off any sealant.
  • Secure the loose nails, or replace them with longer gutter screws. Fill the ends of new joint connectors with a new sealant, then replace the missing gutters.
  • Replace any fascia boards that look rotten.

12. Bending or Warping

Excess debris buildup and extreme weather fluctuations cause gutters to warp or bend. If the damage is severe, consider replacing the gutters. To determine whether it’s time for a gutter replacement, check if they’re collapsing or have holes or rust.

Cleaning your gutters at least twice a year prevents bending. Here’s how to straighten bent gutters:

  • Use a ladder to remove the section that’s bent or warped.
  • Most aluminum gutters are prone to dents. If the dents aren’t too many, even them out on both sides using a rubber mallet.
  • Place a wooden block behind the dent while hammering to straighten it.
  • Consider a gutter replacement if there’s standing water after using the steps above.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How can I tell if I need to replace my gutters?

Cracks or water damage are signs you need a gutter replacement. The paint on gutters should withstand typical wear and tear. If it’s peeling off, consider replacing the gutter. Signs of mildew and pools of water on your home’s siding or foundation are other common signs.

What’s the most common problem with gutters?

Clogging is the most common problem. It leads to drainage problems. Your gutters start to overflow, harbor mildew growth, and sag. You might spot some leaks on the gutters and downspouts due to clogging. Invest in gutter cleaning tools to control clogging due to debris buildup.

How much does a gutter repair cost?

The average gutter repair cost ranges from $150 to $700. Gutter installation companies have different repair price lists. The gutter material, labor costs, and roof design contribute to the final cost.

What are the signs of debris buildup?

Signs of clogged gutters and downspouts include overflowing problems, sagging along the joints, and birds hanging around your gutters. Pools of water around your foundation and a lot of green sprouting in your gutters are other signs of debris buildup.

Final Thoughts

These DIY gutter repair fixes help homeowners dodge labor costs. Must-have tools include rubber gloves, a cordless drill, a ladder, a pop rivet gun, sealant, and a crimper. Inspect your gutters for damage and unclog them at least twice yearly to avoid high repair costs.

Homeowners living in areas with extreme weather fluctuations should consider installing sturdy gutters. Each gutter material has its perks and repair implications. Vinyl gutters, for instance, are durable but heavy, making them prone to sagging.

Aluminum withstands extreme cold and heat and holds paint well. Aluminum gutters are corrosion-resistant, easier to install and repair, but dent easily. Repairing your gutters with the right tools and DIY skills isn’t cumbersome.