Why Your Gutters Are Pulling Away (and How to Fix Them)

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Reviewed by Ami Feller
Updated March 15, 2022
Two story suburban house exterior with porch
Photo: Michael Shake / Adobe Stock

Don’t let your gutters pull away—give them the attention and love they deserve so they come back home

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Does it seem like your gutters are in the gutter? If you’ve noticed your gutters pulling away from your house, it could be due to too much weight pulling out the nails. However, an experienced gutter pro can usually fix separated gutters with a little TLC. Project scope with this common problem all comes down to whether or not rot has crept in and whether a gutter replacement is in order.

Why Gutters Pull Away From the House

Gutters gone wild? If you’ve noticed sagging or your gutters have pulled away from your house, it’s time to fix this issue. Keep in mind that gutters sag before they pull away, so early detection is best. 

These are the most common causes of sagging gutters:

  • Water weight

  • Leaves

  • General yard debris

  • Critter nests

  • Incorrectly installed fasteners

  • Incorrect hanger spacing

  • Rotted fascia behind the gutters

Not all gutter damage happens gradually. It's also possible that storms and extreme weather caused enough damage to get a gutter to separate. This is common with things like flying tree branches.

The one thing that all separated gutters have in common is that the long nails connecting the gutter material to the roof's fascia start to loosen. 

You really want to get this fixed because gutters help to stop water from pooling around your home's foundation. In fact, standing water is a sign your gutters need repair even if you haven't noticed damage up top.

The easy fix of simply tightening your gutters today can turn into a damaged foundation if you don't take care of it now.

How Do You Fix Separated Gutters?

Worker using a drill is fixing house gutter
Photo: highwaystarz / Adobe Stock

Worried your gutters are gone for good? Luckily, you can win them back with a fairly simple repair. 

First, you need to get up to where the gutters meet the fascia to assess the situation. Here are the questions to ask before taking a look:

  • Do I have a safe, secure ladder to use?

  • Do I feel comfortable climbing up this high?

  • Do I have a strong enough understanding of what I'm looking for to make an assessment?

It's no big deal if you don't want to get on a ladder. This is your cue to call in a gutter professional to assess the point of failure. If you do get up there on your own, take a good look at your fascia boards near the problem. Are they in good shape? Do you see signs of rotting?

If your fascia boards have rot, the game plan is more complex because you'll need to replace the boards to protect your home.

"Generally if you have rotted fascia, it's easier to repair if the gutters are removed first," says Ami Feller, Expert Review Board Member and owner of Roofer Chicks in New Braunfels, TX. "Detaching and resetting gutters is challenging, since they often bend or are damaged in the process. It generally does not cost a whole lot more to just replace the gutters."

If your boards look good, you can repair the sagging gutters by securing the loose nails. You can even consider replacing the existing nail with a longer gutter screw to stop the problem from happening again.

Do Sagging Gutters Ever Need to Be Replaced?

Gutter replacement is probably necessary for a section of your gutters if you see telltale signs of storm damage like clogs, leaks, and standing water. Extensive damage in a seamless gutter system could mean it's time to replace your entire gutter system. The same is true if it turns out the builders misinstalled your original gutters.

Can I Replace Gutters on My Own?

Gutter installation, like any roof work, is not recommended for most homeowners. DIY gutter installation is only a good idea if you have experience and all the necessary safety equipment. Worse yet, you might make the "rookie" DIY mistake and select gutters that aren't right for your home.

"Also, the best gutters these days are seamless gutters, which the gutter company rolls out and forms on site from a coil of metal," says Feller. "Since they are seamless, there are less joints that can leak. When you do a DIY gutter job, you don't generally have this capability."

You can call a local gutter installation pro who is insured and knows which gutters will work best for your home.

How to Save Your Gutters From Sagging

Keep your gutters looking good (and catch sagging before gutters start to pull away), by keeping up with regular maintenance. 

You can DIY proper gutter maintenance and regular gutter cleanings, but a gutter pro can:

  • Check for blockages

  • Patch up superficial fascia holes and cracks

  • Replace missing screws

It's also smart to have a pro take a look at your roof while they're up there. Ask them to check for missing or moved shingles, as well as rot, mold, and any discoloration.

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