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8 Tips for Fixing Your Gutters

To some homeowners, gutter repair may look pretty easy. After all, gutters are a lot more accessible than things like car engines and attic-placed air conditioners. The material is lightweight, pliable aluminum (unlike concrete, brick, and other parts of your home), and hanging gutters doesn’t require complex tools like jackhammers, pumps, or computer diagnostic equipment.

But don’t let the innocuous appearance of gutters fool you. Fixing gutters can be more problematic, time-consuming, and potentially calamitous than meets the eye. So before you dive into a gutter repair project, here are eight tips to help you accomplish you goal.

Clean your gutters first. You won’t be able to see the extent of your problem if much of your guttering is blocked with leaves, pine needles, and other debris. Once you’ve cleaned your gutters, you’ll have a better sense of what repairs need to be made.

Use the right sealant. To fix holes and cracks, be sure to use either waterproof silicone caulk or roofing cement. Be sure to clean, dry, and sand the area around the leak before applying the sealant. Larger gaps may require a piece of metal flashing to be affixed along with the sealant.

Use a power drill/screwdriver. If your gutters are starting to pull away from your roof, you’ll probably need to fix the fasteners — which may involve drilling new holes. Trying to punch through the aluminum by hand can be frustrating and energy-draining.

Use rivets for separated guttering sections. Usually, caulk, glue, or sealant alone won’t be enough to reattach separated gutters. Drilling holes in the sections’ overlapping edges and inserting 1/8-inch rivets will hold them together more securely.

Mind the slope. Whatever type of gutter repair you must deal with, it’s vital that you don’t compromise the slope of the entire guttering system. Otherwise, runoff water won’t flow to the downspouts like it is supposed to. So try to re-drill holes on the same plane as the current ones — and test your water flow when your repairs are completed.

Check your roof warranty. Different kinds of gutter repair can void the manufacturer’s warranty on your roof. So dig out your roofing-related paperwork and read the fine print before messing with your gutters. Otherwise, if you discover roofing issues later — even on another part of your roof — they may not be paid for under the warranty.

Always think “safety first.” That means making sure your ladder is always stable, not leaning too far away from your ladder, keeping tools on the roof or in a hanging bucket instead of in your hands when not in use, and maintaining at least two feet or two hands on the ladder when moving up or down. You don’t want to be one of the tens of thousands of Americans annually who visit the ER after falling off a ladder.

Know when to throw in the towel. If there are several areas of your gutters that need repair, or you discover other problems like rotted fascia boards or displaced shingles, you might be better off biting the bullet and calling a professional to take care of all of these issues.

Written by Chris Martin

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I recently had the Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet installed on my house. It not only looks amazing, but the guys arrived on time, were professional and efficiently got the job done. I am very satisfied with Gutter Helmet's attention to detail and fulfilling their work as promised. I will definitely tell my neighbors about the Gutter Helmet.
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I have had Gutter Helmets for 20 years. In all that time I've never had a problem until recently a bird's nest found its way into one of my gutters. The installer who came to replace the product was the same installer from 20 years earlier. Now that's impressive. Everyone at Gutter Helmet inclusive of the office staff were professional and a pleasure to work with.
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VERY happy with our entire experience adding Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet to our house. Installing this was a great value for us. The gutters are working perfectly in heavy downpours and with year-long leaves and debris coming down from our river birches. Terrific customer service and a first class product.
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We needed our roof repaired due to wind damage. After several quotes, Gutter Helmet was the only company that went into our attic to look and see if more damage had occurred. If it wasn't for them taking the extra time to look at everything, we would have had rotting wood under our new roof. They were very professional and gave a fair quote.
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We just had Gutter Helmet installed on our gutters and couldn't be happier. They provided us with useful information about Gutter Helmet and cleaned up everything, leaving no mess behind. We definitely recommend Gutter Helmet to anyone considering this product.
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