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Do It Yourself: Brackets can achieve right slope for gutters

Sun., Sept. 22, 2013, midnight

Q. My aluminum rain gutters overflow in a hard rain, and I’m sure it is because they are not sloped properly, so the water runs to the downspouts. The reason, I think, is because the fascia boards along my asphalt-shingled roof are very narrow and there isn’t enough space to get the right slope. The gutters have brackets that screw into the fascia. What can I do?

A. You should be able to get the correct slope with another type of bracket.

Strap brackets, which fasten to the roof instead of the fascia board, will let you drop the gutters down below the fascia. Strap brackets fit into the top edge of the gutter much like the screw-type brackets, but a sturdy metal strap holds it to the roof sheathing. The brackets are made of aluminum.

To install one of these brackets, clamp it to the gutter, then bend the strap to the angle of the roof. Make sure the bracket is located so the strap will go under the tab of a shingle. Lift the tab, and nail the strap to the roof with roofing nails. When the shingle tab is released, it should cover the nail heads completely, but it is a good idea to put a dab of roofing cement or silicone caulk over the nail heads to ensure against leaks.

If this is a very long run of gutter – say, 40 feet – you can also solve the problem by raising it in the middle and putting a downspout at each end. Still another method that will work with some buildings is to raise the gutters at the ends and put a downspout in the middle.

Experts vary on just how much slope gutters should have, but the correct slope will always let the water run into the downspout and drain away from the building. A simple way to check is to get on a ladder and run some water into the gutter with a hose. If the water runs down the gutter to the end and disappears into the downspout, you have a good slope.

Downspouts should carry the water away from the building at least eight feet. Gutter extensions can be bought that fold up for mowing, or roll up, or can simply be lifted and moved out of the way.

Questions and comments should be emailed to Gene Austin at

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