Steps to Fix a Bent Gutter
Fixing a bent gutter isn’t necessarily complicated, but for some, it may be a daunting task (especially for those with a fear of heights).
The whole process shouldn’t take too long, but it requires a bit of know-how (and the use of some power tools) plus the ability to scale a 10 to 20-foot ladder.
Now, if that sounds right up your alley and you’re determined to DIY repair your gutter system yourself, here are the steps to do just that. Otherwise, if you’re like most homeowners, just give our gutter pros a call for assistance today.
Gather Repair Tools
To repair your bent gutter, you’ll need a couple of tools, including:
- An appropriate size of ladder
- Rubber mallet
- Cleaning materials – brush, scoop, and cloth
- Safety equipment – boots, gloves, vest, goggles, helmet, etc.
Once you’ve gathered your necessary materials, do the safety dance (or just collect your safety gear– although less fun).
Wear Safety Gear
Grab your safety gear; it’s the best “insurance” to reduce and prevent injuries. To keep yourself safe while performing gutter repairs, wear a hard hat, goggles, a protective vest, gloves, and non-slip boots.
Wearing the above safety equipment could go a long way in reducing your risk of getting hurt. Generally, you can buy this gear at your local home improvement store, hardware store, or online.
Some manufacturers design their products to suit a specific task, so make sure you choose the appropriate equipment designed for gutter work. For example, you probably don’t have electrician’s boots to clean your gutters.
Wearing safety gear isn’t a magic shield. You still have to practice good safety procedures.
First and foremost, ensure that you always use safe methods during your repair process. Avoid propping the ladder on uneven or soft ground, as it could sink or tilt during your climb.
If you can’t avoid the unlevel ground, level the area by moving around the dirt with a shovel. Then, place a large piece of wood or paver stones on the ground to give the ladder additional stability.
Take your time while climbing the ladder; always use three points of contact at all times (two legs and one hand or two hands and one leg). Don’t scurry up and down the ladder as fast as you can– abrupt moments can make the ladder topple over.
Additionally, wear a tool belt to hold all your gear and keep your hands free while you climb.
Locate the Bends and Dents
Before you scale the ladder, try to spot all the bends and dents first. Then, strategically place your ladder where you can reach the damaged part without too much stretching and reaching.
If you get to the point where you have to lean over to reach a gutter sore spot, climb down and move the ladder over. Leaning too much can result in the ladder falling into your lean and a trip to the emergency room.
Place the ladder on solid, level ground and once it is in place, start cleaning the gutter so you can repair it.
Clean the Gutters
Once you’re up on the ladder, inspect the aluminum gutters for debris, including leaves, twigs, branches, etc. Use your prepared cleaning materials to scoop out all debris until the rain gutters are clean.
If you’d like, you can use your garden hose to flush away dust and dirt leftover inside of the gutter. However, if the dents and bends you’re fixing are pretty severe, adding a pool of water to the situation may just make your job messier.
Fix the Bends and Dents
There are a few ways you can go about fixing bent gutters and downspouts. For minor damage, you might be able to fix it with a rubber mallet or just by pressing into it with your palm.
However, don’t hulk out too much with your gutter. You can cause more damage than you started with.
To repair problem areas with a rubber mallet, locate the exact spot of the dent or bend. Lightly tap the dent, and it should quickly un-dent itself. Repeat for any other dents or bends.
An electric drill is the second option you can use to repair dents, especially with severe dents. Simply drill a tiny hole in the dents. By tiny, we mean you should use a ⅛-inch bit for drilling holes.
Next, place a washer on the other side of the hole (on the side where the dent goes outward). On the other end, insert a screw carefully using pliers and push.
This process forces the dented area back inward and flattens it. Repeat the process on each dent until your gutter is dent-free.
The tiny holes are nothing to worry about – simply use aluminum fillers and caulk (or silicone) to seal them later on.
With severe bends, you might want to install extra gutter brackets to secure the gutter to the fascia, so you don’t break it off. Otherwise, you may need new gutters. It could help to have a couple on hand.
Check for Leaks and Cracks
While you’re up near your gutters, you should check for leaks and cracks that the bends may have caused. You can find holes and cracks by visually inspecting the gutters or running water through them with a garden hose and looking for leaks.
Before you fix any holes and cracks, clean the surrounding area of the gutter first.
You can use a waterproof sealing product to repair the leak. Squeeze it into any cracks in the gutter, filling them about halfway.
Most sealants need to cure for about a week, but they should be dry within 24 hours – so don’t apply unless the forecast says a 0% chance of rain for the next day or so.
Once the sealant cure time has passed, you can cut away the overflow of cured sealant with a sharp-edged tool like a chisel or just sand it down with sandpaper.
If you aren’t sure if the fix worked, you can use a garden hose to run water through the gutter system and check for leaks that way or just wait for nature to take its course and dump some rain on your house.
While you are there, you might as well look for clogging too.
Why Do Gutters Bend?
Over time, gutters can bend; it’s an unfortunate, common problem. Sometimes they bend and dent when they are hit with debris, like a tree branch.
Other times, the bends happen over time from excess weight.
A buildup of debris, like leaves, dirt, algae, and other grime (or snow and ice in the winter) can really weigh down your gutters.
Thankfully, you can take some preventative measures to ensure your gutters never bend or, at the very least, reduce their likelihood.
First, inadequate support, like too-large gaps between support brackets, may leave long lengths of gutter unsupported, making them sag in the middle over time.
This excessive and constant strain could eventually lead to bending between supports (gutter brackets). It may happen slowly over time or suddenly after enough weight is added.
Either way, sagging and bent gutters are unsightly and a severe problem for your home. If you don’t fix the issue promptly, it could lead to expensive property damage, including:
- Gutter and fascia collapse
- Landscape washout
- Flooded yard
- Water damage in your basement
- Foundation damage
As such, you should do everything you can to prevent gutter bends.
How Can You Prevent Your Gutters From Bending?
You can prevent your gutters from bending by keeping up with routine maintenance, including gutter cleaning. Also, you can add extra supports for your gutters.
Fascia hanger brackets are an excellent way to fix and prevent sagging gutters. They are essentially fasteners that provide extra support along each section of gutter. Since they ensure the weight is evenly distributed, bends are less likely to happen.
You can install these handy little brackets easily. All you have to do is hook the bracket under the front lip of the gutter, then secure the other end of the bracket to the fascia and back of the gutter with a screw.
It could be a pain in the shoulder screwing in many brackets, so bring your cordless power drill with you to make it quick work.
With fascia gutter hanger brackets, the screw solidly grips the fascia, and the hook of the bracket supports the other end of the gutter, making your gutters strong, sturdy, and ready for whatever mother nature throws their way.
Note: some gutters use gutter spikes, which are different from gutter hangers and are not as effective.
If your gutter supports seem to fail quickly, you might have an issue with your fascia. Sometimes, the fascia board can rot. In that case, anything you screw into it will work its way loose relatively quickly or will never be secure in the first place.
If your fascia boards are rotted, you should call a professional to inspect the fascia board and sagging gutters. They can help you determine if you need to replace the fascia or gutter, or if they simply need additional supports.
How Can Our Gutter Experts Help?
If you don’t like jumping up a ladder to repair dented gutters, recruit our gutter experts to help. Here at Regional Gutter Repair, we have the tools and knowledge necessary to properly repair bent, dented, and leaky gutters.
For assistance with your home’s gutters, give us a call or fill out our form today!