Gutter Replacement & Repair

Clogging

4 Reasons why you may need gutter replacement or gutter repairs are due to clogging, leaking, sagging and pests getting into your gutter system. Debris such as leaves and pine needles get blown around and inevitably wind up on your roof. With a little wind or rain, they fall into your gutter where they start to decompose and pack down into a solid sheet of material. Dirt, dust, and the granules from asphalt shingles can also clog your gutters.

Pests can also cause clogs by building nests among the debris in your gutters.

Clogs can cause harm in three ways:

A clog can prevent rainwater from getting to the downspout. This backup can damage fascia, shingles, soffits, and the roof. In addition to water damage, it can promote the growth of mold.

Clogs can turn into solid bridges that allow rainwater to spill over and soak your foundation. This can weaken the foundation, erode the ground around your foundation (a critical issue, especially if you live on a hill), and contribute to mold growing in your basement or crawlspace and in your walls.

During dry weather, debris in your gutters poses a serious fire hazard.

Clogs can be reduced by routinely cleaning your gutters. If you have a lot of trees near your house, you should inspect them every four months and clean them if necessary. If you don’t have trees near your house, you must inspect your gutters every six months or every year. You should always inspect them after a big storm. Gutter guards help reduce clogs by blocking large debris.


Leaking

Many factors that can cause leaks in your gutters. Corrosion is the biggest factor, followed by falling branches or damage caused by sharp tools. Some leaks are intentional as people drill holes to assist drainage in sagging sections, which is not the way to handle sagging (see below). Leaks should be repaired immediately to avoid the damage that can happen to your foundation or walls if clogged. 

Sagging

When a gutter sags, the rainwater pools in the sagging section. Some people mistakenly “repair” these sags by drilling holes to let the water drain. This defeats the whole purpose of a rain gutter, which is to direct water away from walls and foundations.

Gutters sag is usually due to:

  • Failure of the supports: The fasteners can back out of the wood, or the wood deteriorates and becomes too soft to hold the hardware. Also, the supports can be spaced too far apart to properly support a full gutter.
  • Softened/aged wood: A wooden dowel can be inserted firmly into the hole used by the fastener and the fastener can then be mounted to the new wood. If the wood (usually the fascia) is too soft, then it’s time to replace the wood.

If the fasteners have backed out of the wood, tighten them or replace them with slightly larger fasteners. Wood expands and contracts through cycles of dryness and moisture, so this is not unusual. If the fasteners are fine, you may need to install more hangers to prop up the sagging section. It’s also possible that some hangers are damaged. Replacing hangers usually costs less than $2.00 per piece.

Pests

Uncovered gutters are attractive to pests looking for food or setting up house. Built-up debris provides the shelter and camouflage that are so desirable in the wild.

  • Squirrels find gutters to be a veritable hardware store when it comes to building nests, and if no suitable trees are nearby, a gutter will do just fine!
  • Mice and rats don’t hibernate, but they do look for winter nests to protect themselves from the elements. Like the squirrels, they find gutters very attractive for this purpose.
  • Spiders are often attracted to the darkness and moisture of the gutters. Other insects that move into the debris are often a great food source for spiders. Remember how the “itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout”? If your gutters are clogged, the rain can’t come to “wash the spider out.” Spiders can frighten many people, even if the spiders aren’t poisonous, such as the wolf spider. However, your gutters can become home to more venomous species, such as black widows and brown recluses.
  • Ants will establish their colonies in gutters. They might not find food there, but they will find a treasure trove of food inside your house.

Having pests in your gutters sometimes means that you won’t notice they’re there until the damage has happened. Insects can chew through wood that has rotted from excessive moisture, and rodents are notorious for finding ways into your home. The best and most affordable way to deal with pests is through prevention: Keeping your gutters clean and installing gutter guards is your best bet.