If your house has rain gutters, it is wise to do a yearly inspection and replace or adjust the gutters as necessary prior to the rainy season. The gutters were installed using the roof pitch so they slope toward the downspouts. Excessive wind, water, and debris can knock the gutters out of this alignment. Simple settling of the home over time can create a difference from the original slope of the installation. If the water doesn’t drain to these downspouts, it may end up pooling and causing damage somewhere else at your house. Follow a few steps to re-align these areas and keep your gutters in the correct working order.
Step 1 - Inspect the Gutter
While you are realigning the gutters, this is a good opportunity to check for any debris build-up, broken seals or cracks in the connections. Note any area where the gutter may have been bent from water pressure and check the kick out flash, as the kick out flash may need re-alignment also.
Step 2 – Check the Water Flow
Beginning at the highest point, pour a gallon of water into the gutter. It should flow freely to the downspout. If the water gets blocked and slows down before reaching the downspout, you will need to pour another gallon in the gutter to locate the spot of interruption.
Step 3 – Determine the Cause of Slow Drainage
Once you have located the area of interruption you must determine the cause. The most obvious cause can be debris build-up. Gutters are intended to take water and debris to the downspout without buildup. If you have a tree or any foliage directly above this area that creates excess debris, consider installing a messed screen in this area. If the interruption is more of a slowdown than a backup, you will need to re-align the area so that the gutter pitches downward toward the downspout.
Step 4 – Re-align the Gutters
There are a few manageable options to re-aligning the gutters. If the gutter is out of shape or leaning, you may simply be able to bend the gutter back into shape. Check the brackets directly in front of and behind the area of concern. These brackets may be loose or broken causing the gutter to be out of alignment. Tighten or replace the bracket and check the water flow again.
Step 5 - Replace Gutter Sections
To re-align parts of the gutter, you may need to replace broken or bent sections. You can remove the sections from a bracket installation by lifting out the appropriate piece. A nail and spike installation will require the removal of the spike. You can do this with needlenose pliers. Do not attempt to realign and replace this section. With nail and spike installation, you must replace the piece and completely reinstall it.