Repairing sagging and leaky rain gutters isn’t just a summertime job — in fact, it may be vital during winter. Healthy gutters won’t ice up during colder months and lead to ice dams, a major cause of damage to eaves, siding, roofing, and foundations.
Of course, common sense prevails. If it’s snowing, blowing, and freezing, you won’t want to be outside on a ladder. But if you catch a break in the weather, make sure to take care of this important home maintenance job.
- Plug leaky gutter joints and holes less than ¼-inch across with gutter sealant. A tube of sealant costs about $5 at hardware stores and home improvement centers. Apply the sealant from the inside your gutters.
- Patch larger holes with pre-made gutter patches. A kit with four 3-by-6-inch patches costs about $5. These self-adhesive patches are easy to apply and can be used on both aluminum and vinyl gutters. They work best if it’s a bit warmer, so wait for a day that’s above 45 degrees.
Straighten up sagging rain gutters
Rain gutters that sag will trap water — and can cause ice dams. To straighten up a sagging gutter, remove and reposition the gutter hangers.
Gutter hangers typically have two parts: Long screws, and metal collars or straps inside the gutter. The screws go through the gutter and the collars, and then into the fascia — the board that covers the rafter ends. The collars add stiffness and prevent the screws from collapsing the gutter when the screws are tightened.
To straighten a gutter, you’ll need a cordless drill so you can remove the screws. Here’s how to get the job done:
1. Get up on a ladder and remove hanger screws near the sag.
2. Sight along the gutter so you can see if it’s straight. Trust your eye here — if it looks straight, it is.
3. Remount the screws. If needed, you can add a new hanger or two for additional support. They cost about $3 each. Simply drill a new hole through the gutter edge for the additional hangers.
Done? You deserve a nice mug of hot cocoa!
Got an idea for helping out a neighbor or family member with home improvement and maintenance chores?