10 Indicators You Need Gutter Repair (and DIY Solutions!)

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A serious issue that can cause water damage to your home are leaky gutters. It’s always preferable to address any issues before they become more serious ones, like flooding in your garage. You must first learn to spot the warning signs. Here are 10 telltale signs that your gutters need to be repaired, along with instructions for doing it yourself.

When making gutter repairs, put safety first.

A word of warning before we begin the list. Safety should always come first when you tackle a home improvement project on your own. This also holds true for gutter repairs.

This calls for using a sturdy ladder for the job and having a spotter waiting for you at the bottom of the ladder. Better still, if you can tie off at the top. If you want to repair gutters correctly and safely, having the appropriate tools on hand is also crucial.

Tools You’ll Need For Gutter Repair

  • Sturdy ladder
  • Hand rake
  • Hose with nozzle
  • Compost bags for gutter debris
  • Gloves and safety goggles
  • Cordless drill
  • Any repair pieces needed and paint

1. Noticeable Holes and Cracks in Your Gutters

Over time the elements can do damage to your gutters. You may notice cracks or holes appearing along the length of them. Holes and cracks can cause leaks, and over time they can get larger and more severe causing damage to the rest of the gutters. Leaving small cracks and holes can lead to a higher gutter repair cost. If you can identify these early enough they can be repaired with sealant or pieces of fascia that can be screwed on over the damaged area. Covering up the holes will ensure your gutters last a lot longer.

2. Broken Fasteners and Fasteners on the Ground

Fasteners are used to connect your pieces of gutter together and to connect these pieces to your roof. If you notice these pieces hanging loosely or lying on the ground they need to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. You can use aluminum fasteners from your local home hardware store, or you could even use zip ties to keep things together. To ensure things are fastened well, give them a light shake to see how well the gutter is held together. A sturdy gutter means you’ll save yourself a gutter repair cost down the line.

3. Missing Nails or Screws

If you see some nails lying around on the ground there’s a good chance it’s time for some gutter repair work. It’s possible they weren’t fastened properly or that the area around them has eroded, causing them to work loose and fall on the ground. It’s also possible small animals in your area have shifted nails or screws out of their sockets, or completely removed the ones that were already loose. Screws are more reliable to use as they won’t pull out over time like nails might. A standard screw will do the trick to keep your gutters in place.

4. Gutter Sections Separated

One of the most easily recognizable signs that your gutters need repaired is if there’s actual separation between sections. If you don’t want to pay for a new gutter installation you’ll want to repair issues like these right away. This one’s a pretty simple fix! Purchase a section of gutter from your home hardware store and cut a piece to fasten it wherever the gap is. The piece of gutter in place will act as a joint to connect both ends of the original gutter. This will save you the gutter repair cost of replacing the entire thing!Repairing section of gutter

5. Space Between Gutters and Your Home

If you can see space between the inside face of your gutters and your home that’s a clear indication that there’s a problem. They can’t do their job of collecting runoff water if they’re not connected.

Over time, the gutter can get separated from the rest of the house due to weather damage or even old shingles falling off and knocking into the gutter. With a drill and a few extra screws you should be able to reattach the separated pieces securely. You want to make sure that there are no gaps between the roof shingles and gutter.

6. Deformed and Sagging Gutters

Even if your gutters are still securely attached to the roof you may notice sections that are deformed and sagging. When this happens water can pool and spill over causing damage to anything below them. It’s possible that these pieces can be bent back into shape, but normally these sections will need to be replaced with new ones.

You may not need to replace the entire gutter, you can use sections of gutter wherever you find the the original gutter to be deformed. Just use snipping pliers to cut out the bad section and replace it with the new section.

7. Paint is Peeling Away

Peeling paint may look harmless, but it can be a sign that water is leaking over the edges and causing water damage. There’s a good chance you’ll notice sections pulling away from your home on closer inspection. When you see peeling paint it’s time for some gutter repair work. Repairing gutter paint after peeling is simple. Strip the old paint off using a scraper, and wash off any debris. You can prime it with a primer and after letting that dry for a few hours, you can repaint the gutters to make them good as new. You can get the paint from your local hardware store.

8. Pools of Water

If you notice areas on your patios and driveway where water is pooling underneath your gutters that’s a good indicator that there may be an issue with your gutters that needs repaired. If you notice pooling it’s time to get out the ladder and have a closer look at the gutters above. Chances are you’ll find some kind of damage that’s causing the pooling below. It’ll likely be caused from water pooling in an area of the gutter itself.

You can fix this by sloping the entire gutter so that it runs to the spout and stops from pooling in one area. It may also be caused from holes, cracks or just debris like old leaves being stuck in an area and preventing the water from reaching the end.Gutter water pooling

9. Water Damage to Flower Beds and Planters

One sign that you need gutter repair that’s a little harder to detect is when you have water damage in your flower beds and planters. This may be because water is leaking over in that section and causing the damage. Don’t automatically assume it was caused by a heavy rainfall. It’s best to climb up the ladder and have a closer look to be sure.

Inspect the section of the gutter above the area your flower beds are getting water damaged. If your gutters are leaking, you can rectify this by installing a gutter diverter. This will redirect the water back where it’s supposed to go.

10. Flooding in Garage or Basement

It’s never nice to come home to a flooded garage or basement. Although a flooded basement may be the start of the basement cleanout you’ve been putting off, no one wants to deal with this messy situation. If you find yourself dealing with this type of problem, there’s a good chance a damaged gutter is the cause.

A quick repair may not be the best approach in this instance. A new gutter installation  is the better option if you want to prevent any more flooding in the future. The gutter repair cost will certainly be less than the cost to repair everything in your garage or basement. The gutter may need to be redirected away from where the flooding is prone to happening.basement flooding from gutter leak

Can I Replace Gutters Myself?

So you’ve done a quick inspection of your gutters and you’ve found some of the signs we discussed above — now what? If you’re reasonably handy you may want to consider repairing or replacing your gutters yourself.

It’s probably one of the easier home improvement projects to take on as you usually have easy access to the areas you need to work. Here’s a quick list of some replacement parts you may need to get started:

  • Sections of fascia
  • Screws or nails
  • Fascia hanger brackets
  • Ferrules
  • Gutter aprons
  • Drip edging

Roll flashing Replacement downspouts Slip joints Diverters Gutter sealant

How Much Does it Cost to Replace Gutters Around the House?

The list above is pretty extensive so you may be wondering just how much is this going to cost? Obviously the answer to this depends on the size of your home and the amount of gutter work that needs to be replaced. You’ll want to look into the average cost of each material before embarking on your gutter repair project.

Depending on the material of your gutter, the repair cost will vary. Here’s a quick rundown of the average cost of the most common gutter material:

  • Aluminum Gutters – $7 per linear foot
  • Vinyl Gutters – $4-$7 per linear foot
  • Copper Gutters – $25+ per linear foot

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