Sagging or leaking gutters pose a serious threat to the integrity of your home, but the fix is often simple and it usually involves the smallest piece of your gutter system – the supports or hangers. If you know how to install gutter hangers, you can generally remedy this problem by just replacing your old, damaged, weak hardware.
When Should You Replace Your Gutter Hangers
Gutter hangers begin to fail over time from corrosion, stress from loads of water and leaves, and other factors. If the gutters appear to be sagging or leaking significantly, then it’s time to upgrade them with sturdier hangers.
That means removing the old ones, buying new gutter hangers that are a better fit for your current system and roof, and installing them. Let’s take a closer look at what you get into when installing gutter hangers and how to do it the right way.
Different Types of Gutter Hangers
Gutter hangers come in many shapes and sizes, and all of them accomplish the same purpose: They hold your gutter system firmly to your roof. Here’s a quick overview of the most popular kinds:
Hidden hangers: They are invisible from ground level and fit both a K-style or half-round gutters.
Bracket Hangers: These attach to the fascia board on a flat or sloped roof.
Spikes and Ferrules: This is a simple hanger made up of spikes and tubes that go all the way through the gutter and screw into the fascia. They are only suitable for K-style gutters.
T-bar or T-strap Hanger: This hanger is secured to the roof beneath the shingles and is compatible with a seamless gutter system.
Exposed Brackets and Straps: These U-shaped brackets and straps are fastened to the fascia board.
Wrap-around Hangers: A combination of bracket and strap style, it uses T-straps for installation.
Secured to Subroof: Fastened to the roof beneath the shingles, this type of gutter hanger can provide extra strength.
But what do they all have in common? They should all be spaced correctly! Gutter hanger spacing is critical for the success of your gutter system. Without enough support, they won’t be able to handle large amounts of water and debris.
The standard spacing varies between 24 to 36 inches for both K-style and half-round gutters, but in areas with heavy snow or ice build-up, professional installers recommend spacing at intervals of no more than 12 to 24 inches.
How to Install New Gutter Hangers
We all love a good DIY-friendly home improvement project, and that includes gutter hangers. Even if you need that expert touch, you should still have a basic understanding of the installation process before doing anything else.
Plus, it’s always helpful to see whether the tasks are something you can do from home. The good news? Gutter-hanger installation is simple enough to do with a few basic tools so long as you understand the process and have access to safety equipment.
What You’ll Need
• Gutter hangers
• A drill and bit
• Ladder and helper (preferably)
• Screws or nails
Step 1: Pick the Right Gutter Hangers
Different hangers work for specific roof styles, drainage needs, and climates. As with any home improvement project, start by researching your options and deciding which gutter hanger is the best fit for you.
Trying to make your gutters “fit” by buying the wrong hangers will only compound existing issues. Plus, there are ample reasons to avoid cutting corners on costs when it comes to protecting your home from water damage.
The material of your gutters also has to be taken into account. Here’s a quick look at the most popular materials:
• Aluminum: This is one of the most widely used and versatile gutter-hanger materials. It resists rust and corrosion and can be customized with a wide selection of colors to match your home’s exterior. Just be aware that aluminum expands and contracts with temperature changes, so you should include expansion joints to mitigate this effect.
• Stainless steel: For extra strength and durability, this is your go-to. It’s highly resistant to both weather and everyday wear and tear. Unfortunately, stainless steel is not impervious to rusting.
• Galvanized steel: Despite its similar appearance, the idea behind galvanized steel is much different. It’s coated in a thin layer of zinc to prevent rust, but it doesn’t do as well with salt water. So if your home or business is near the coast, you may want to explore other gutter-hanger materials.
Step 2: Measure Out Spacing
It’s time to measure out the spacing. The installation should be a breeze if you already know the measurements for your roof’s pitch and run. If you don’t, here are some tips:
• For average-sized homes (40 feet or less), space hangers 24 to 36 inches apart.
• For areas with heavier snow, space them no more than 12 to 24 inches apart.
• For long runs (40 feet or more), the gutter should be pitched slightly toward the downspout. The pitch should be approximately ¼ inch per 10 feet.
This isn’t the exact same for all roofs, of course. You should measure your pitch and use that to determine how wide the gutter hangers should be spaced.
Step 3: Remove the Old Hangers
Time to get down and dirty. Armed with your measurements, drill, screws or nails, and ladder (have a helper on hand to hold pieces in place), you can replace the old hangers.
There’s no need to take down the entire gutter system when replacing hangers. Tackle them one at a time. Unhook the old bracket from the lip of the gutter and use a drill to remove the screws underneath your roof’s shingles or fascia.
Be careful not to lift the gutter while you’re doing this part. Keep a firm hold on it throughout the process. From there, you can discard the old hanger.
Step 4: Install the New Gutter Hangers
Now it’s time to fasten the new hangers into place. Clip the hanger’s hook to the exterior lip of your gutter. This is where having a helper comes in handy, as they can hold down any sagging gutter while you’re installing each new fastener. Use your drill and the screws or nails provided to fasten the hangers into place at a slightly lower level than the roof’s decking.
In case the new gutter hangers come with larger screws, you should start drilling at high speed to pierce through the metal before applying pressure to push the screw all the way through.
Step 5: Double-Check Your Work
Once all the hangers are installed, give the gutter a gentle tug to check its stability. Does it feel secure? Does it show signs of sagging in any place? If not, you’re done and can consider the job finished!
FAQ About Gutter Hangers
Gutter hangers can fail when they are not installed properly or have become weak and worn over time. This failure can cause the gutter system to sag, pull away from the fascia board, and lead to leaks. Even one gutter hanger failing can put extra pressure on the others, leading to them breaking or weakening as well.
Hidden hangers are considered the best fasteners for gutters, as they are generally more attractive and provide better support. They clip to the interior of the gutter and screw into the fascia board.
Hidden hangers are gutter brackets that clip to the interior of the gutter and screw directly into the fascia board with a steel threaded screw. They do not pierce from the top like traditional spike-style hangers, so they are hidden and undetectable from ground level.
Hang in There!
Homeowners don’t always realize how important it is to keep a close eye on the condition of their gutters until something goes wrong. But if your gutters appear to be sagging or leaking, replace the hangers before it’s too late. As long as you know how to install gutter hangers correctly, you can do this DIY job with minimal hassle. It won’t take much time, and you can have peace of mind knowing the job is done right.
Are you worried about gutter hanger installation? We can help you connect with local professionals who have the knowledge and equipment required to install durable gutter hangers that will protect your home from water damage.