- 1 Why Do Gutters Leak and Sag?
- 2 How Our Gutter Experts Fix Sagging or Leaking Gutters
- 3 What are the Dangers of Sagging or Leaking Gutter?
- 4 What Are Some Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Gutter in Top Condition?
- 5 How Can you Save Money when Fixing Faulty Gutters?
Why Do Gutters Leak and Sag?
Gutters leak and sag for various reasons. Most often, sagging and leaking or symptoms of other problems with your gutters.
Knowing the reason why your gutters are leaking or sagging is crucial to being able to fix them effectively.
The key here is that if you don’t fix the issue right away, leaking or sagging gutters can lead to more significant problems, like:
- Damage to your foundation
- Structural issues in your roof
- Insect infestation
- Mold growth
Your gutter system channels the water away from your home’s foundation while protecting the structural integrity of your roof and home. However, gutters must stay in shape and remain free of clogs, sags, and holes for them to work correctly.
Poor installation, low-quality materials, weather elements, and lack of maintenance may cause leaks and sags in your gutter.
Here are some of the top causes of sagging gutters.
Improper Gutter Sizing
Gutters and downspouts come in all shapes and sizes!
Some homeowners might think the variations are for cosmetic reasons, but the different sizes are actually for practical purposes.
Your gutter’s size correlates directly to how much rainfall it can collect. Just think about it – if your gutters are narrow, they won’t be able to drain the rainwater fast enough.
Your gutters will fill with water, and they’ll get heavy (and that’s not good…).
Sure, two to three inches of water sitting in a gutter doesn’t seem like it would be that heavy, right? However, three inches of water across a 20-foot long and five-inch wide gutter adds nearly 100-pounds of weight!
As you might imagine, 100-pounds hanging from a gutter could cause it to sag, especially if it’s there for a while.
On the other hand, if your gutters were wider and deeper, they could collect significantly more rain and drain it faster. This way, there’s less of a chance of water sitting in your gutter to weigh it down and cause sagging.
In the U.S., most homes have at least a 5-inch wide gutter to help direct the rainwater away from the house. That said, there are a few factors related to size that can influence the performance of your home’s gutters and cause sagging.
Your Roof’s Slope
If your roof is steep (for instance, like the roof of an A-frame house), you’ll need wider gutters to accommodate rainfall rushing down your roof’s steep angles. The steep slope makes the gutters fill with rain faster, so you’ll want wider gutters to drain it quickly to avoid sagging.
Conversely, you won’t need gutters as wide to avoid sagging if you have a relatively flat roof (like those often found in the Southwest or hotter climates).
Amount of Rainfall in Your Area
If you live in an area with frequent, heavy rain (like New Orleans), you’re going to need a heavy-duty gutter that’s large enough to handle powerful rainfall.
On the other hand, if you live in a dry area, like Las Vegas or southern California, you won’t need ultra-wide gutters since there is very little rain.
Your house’s downspout needs to be large enough to deal with heavy rainfall. If it is too narrow, it can quickly fill up with water and overflow your gutters.
If your downspout is undersized, it could render your gutters useless and even damage them!
Improper gutter sizing can cause the gutter to fill up with water and strain the entire drainage and gutter system. This can lead to the wear and tear of your gutter hangers, which can cause the gutter to sag.
Unfortunately, if your gutters start sagging, you’ll have to install brand new ones.
Just like your sink or bathtub drain can get clogged, your gutters can too. However, instead of getting clogged with hair, gutters tend to get clogged with leaves, dirt, sticks, and other outdoor debris.
A buildup of leaf litter and branches from nearby trees can become extremely heavy and put a
strain on your gutters. This extra load will eventually lead to dropping. On top of that, debris buildup can corrode and weaken drains.
Debris in your gutter may also be the result of pest and critter infestation. You might have a crafty squirrel stashing away acorns for the winter or a bird that found the perfect spot for a nest.
Whatever critter is trespassing in your metal gutters, the outcome is usually the same– gutter damage or clogging.
Clogs are easy to spot – you will see leaking at the gutter seams, end caps, fasteners, gutter joints, and even over the edge of the gutters.
You can avoid damage to your gutters by hiring a professional gutter service to clear them once or twice a year. However, if you live in a bigger home or with lots of close trees, consider doing it more often.
Our gutter experts might even recommend installing screens on top of your roof to keep debris out to prevent sagging.
Ice Dam Damage
In the freezing winter months, the formation of ice dams in and around your gutter can cause them to bend. These bends affect the weight distribution of the entire gutter channel, which can lead to sagging.
Additionally, ice dams themselves can become excessively heavy. And just like you’re thinking, this extra dam weight will cause your gutters to sag.
Ice dams are entirely preventable if you know how; please read our ice dam guide to learn more.
Your rain gutter needs proper support to handle the weight of water traveling through it. If the screws, nails, and brackets responsible for holding the downspout drains and gutters aren’t properly secured, they’ll start sagging.
Usually, this type of issue is caused by an inexperienced gutter installer. They’ll work fast and without care and fineness. And sure, they’ll install gutters fast and cheap, but what does that matter if they fall off your home in a week or a month?
Another common improper installation issue is gutter hangers being spaced too far apart. If there are not enough hangers for the length of the gutter, it will start dropping in no time.
In this scenario, it is best to hire a seasoned gutter professional for gutter installation in the first place. However, whether you need a new gutter installed or shotty installation reworked, our gutter experts are just a phone call away.
How Our Gutter Experts Fix Sagging or Leaking Gutters
Our team of gutter professionals can quickly fix sagging gutters. They have years of experience dealing with gutter issues, and not only that but they have the proper tools to do so quickly and effectively.
Here are the most common methods we use to fix sagging gutters.
The best method to fix leaking and sagging gutters is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but if your gutters have routine maintenance, the chances they start leaking and sagging are slim to none.
We recommend cleaning a gutter system twice a year to prevent debris from causing a blockage – once in the spring and once in the fall. However, if you have dense areas of trees around your home, it’s better to clean your gutters more often or install gutter covers or screens.
Fix Leaky Gutters with Glue
A quick and simple way we use to fix small holes in rain gutters is with gutter sealant glue. (No, put the Elmer’s away; it has to be special glue for it to work.)
Gutter sealant glue or silicone caulk is inexpensive but needs to be applied on the inside of your gutter with a putty knife to work right. Therefore, a gutter repair expert will need to climb a ladder to complete this patchwork fix.
For larger holes, we use a gutter patch kit or just replace the gutter section entirely. You might be okay with a few small leaks and think holes can’t do much harm.
However, leaks can lead to more significant issues – corrosion, sagging, clogs from trapped debris – and a whole host of problems that will leave you wishing you fixed the leaks months ago!
Sagging gutters are easy to spot. If you notice one, give our crew a call for a quick fix right away. Keep in mind – long gutter trenches always have a peak in the middle to ensure water uses gravity to flush down towards the downspout at either end. A slope like this is entirely normal and needed for adequate draining.
In most cases, we can solve a sagging gutter using a drill or hammer to reposition loose hangers and add more support.
On the other hand, large sags are tricky to repair. Here are the basics of how our gutter pros do it:
- Prop a straight 1×4 or 2×4 wood brace under the sag
- Climb a stable ladder and remove the hangers near the sag
- Adjust the brace until the sag disappears
- Properly position the gutter with the perfect slope for the water to drain naturally
- Carefully replace the hangers
- We may add extra hangers to enhance support
What are the Dangers of Sagging or Leaking Gutter?
You should know by now that leaking and sagging gutters are issues you should repair as soon as possible. Besides harm to your gutters themselves, there are additional consequences – including extensive damage to your home and harm to your family.
Here are some of the unexpected dangers of sagging and leaking gutters.
Backed up Water
Sagging gutters can cause clogs and prevent water from draining. Water always flows to the lowest point, So if you have a sag, the water will run and pool inside it.
Once it pools, it will further weigh down the gutter and may cause it to collapse. Alternatively, water could flow into your roof and attic and cause extensive water damage to the wood roof beams.
Typically, your gutters and downspouts do a great job of redirecting rainwater away from your home. However, sagging or clogged gutters can block its flow path.
As such, the water may start pouring into problematic areas – like your foundation. The whole point of your gutter system is to flush water away from your home, so you’ll definitely want to address these issues right away!
Over time, excessive amounts of water could erode your home’s foundation, leading to thousands of dollars of damages. Plus, water will likely leak into your basement, too, leading to even more repairs.
Soffit and Fascia Damage
If your gutter wears out enough to start sagging or leaking, it may cause damage to your soffit, fascia, eaves, and your roof’s structural integrity. It can result in wood root, insect infestation, mold growth, and mildew.
Plus, water leaking onto your soffits and fascia will stain them too. So besides the damage sagging and leaking gutters could cause, it will also make your home look ugly.
Harm to You or Your Family
A very real outcome of sagging gutters is their complete collapse from the edge of your roof. If you, a family member, or a pet is in the wrong place at the wrong time, a falling gutter can lead to a trip to the hospital.
Thankfully, this is not common, but it has happened.
Sure, the chances are slim, but why risk it?
What Are Some Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Gutter in Top Condition?
Poor gutter maintenance is the number one culprit of gutter clogging, leaking, and sagging. We can’t stress the importance of gutter maintenance enough!
Cleaning and maintaining your gutters is a tremendous undertaking – especially if you have a larger or 2-story home. Gutter maintenance is a relatively straightforward process but can be easily done wrong and become dangerous due to the heights involved.
Homeowners should complete routine gutter maintenance to prevent minor gutter issues from turning into massive damages to their gutters and homes. Here, we’ve highlighted the top tips and tricks we use when cleaning and maintaining gutters.
Clean Gutters Regularly
Regularly maintaining your gutter system ensures it has a long, healthy lifespan. It also keeps your home’s exterior in a clean, immaculate condition for longer.
Typically, our experts recommend that homeowners inspect and clean their gutters at least twice a year. The best times are once in the fall after all the leaves have fallen from the trees and again in the spring, once the snow has melted for good.
However, homeowners with lots of trees near their homes may opt for maintenance and cleaning more often.
If you decide to perform gutter cleaning yourself, here are a couple of cleaning tips you should always keep in mind:
- Wear gloves and use a handheld plastic shovel to remove debris from the gutter and dump it into a bucket
- Use a garden hose to clean out dirt and debris from your gutters
- If the water fails to drain through the channels and downspout, there is a high chance the downspout is clogged
There are a few ways to unclog a downspout, but it is best to let our gutter experts handle it. They have the proper tools, training, and skills to unclog it correctly. Give us a call to learn more, or check out our clogged downspout guide to learn more.
Install a Gutter Cover
Gutter covers or gutter guards help prevent twigs, leaves, and other large pieces of debris from clogging your gutters.
Flat gutter covers sit directly on top of the gutter channel. They are basically perforated screens that prevent the gutters and drain from clogging. However, they can get blocked themselves too.
If lots of trees surround your home, you should inspect your gutter cover regularly to ensure there are no blocks in the covers.
If the covers develop a blockage, rainwater will just spill over the gutters directly onto your foundation. And we know what trouble that could bring.
Clear Your Roof
Routinely cleaning your roof of twigs, branches, leaves, and other debris will prevent them from rolling into your gutters and causing issues later.
Our gutter experts always use caution when scaling a roof. If you decide to climb on top of your roof, you should also use extreme caution too. However, we don’t recommend homeowners climbing onto their roofs themselves, especially if it’s snowing, icy, wet, or windy.
You can easily harm yourself and damage your shingles. The risk is not worth the reward. Instead, call our gutter pros for support.
How Can you Save Money when Fixing Faulty Gutters?
The following are a few practical tips and tricks you should keep in mind to save money while fixing faulty gutters:
If you’re up for a challenge, you can solve all your sagging and leaking gutter problems yourself using the steps outlined earlier in this guide.
However, it is very easy to get the slope of the gutter incorrect, which would lead to water leaking. This could lead to larger issues. That is why we recommend that homeowners call our team of pros to get it done correctly the first time.
Stay Up to Date with Maintenance
Often, gutters break down due to negligence of maintenance. Make sure you stay up on routine and maintenance. Call us to learn how our routine maintenance and service contracts can save you money.
Perhaps you live in an HOA or a close-knit neighborhood. In that case, some of our regional gutter service centers may provide group rates and discounts. Call us to learn more about this option and see if it’s available in your area!