Gutters & Eaves: How to Install or Repair Gutters & Eaves

gutters and eaves

The area below a roof overhang -- gutter and eave territory -- is a common trouble spot. This chapter will guide you through repairs to fascia and soffits as well as show you how to repair and install new gutters. Water running off the roof should flow over the roofing, then over the drip-edge flashing and directly into gutters and down the downspouts. When everything is working the fascia and roof sheathing will stay relatively dry. However in an imperfect world, flashings may be poorly installed, roofing may fail, and gutters may overflow or leak. Any of these conditions can soak the fascia, the soffits, and perhaps the ends of rafters and roof sheathing as well.

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If you see signs of damage to your eaves, run a hose on the roof to check that the drip-edge flashing and gutters are installed correctly, so that water flows into the gutter and does not seep into the sheathing or fascia. While the water is running, watch the gutter and downspouts for leaks and make needed repairs. Also check that the roofing is sound and make any needed repairs or replacements. If ice dams form during the winter, they are likely the culprit; take steps to ventilate the attic or otherwise protect against the dams.

You will likely need to remove the gutters to repair or replace fascia and soffit boards. If the gutters are in less than excellent condition, this may be the time to replace them. If boards are only water-stained or if rot is only in small spots, you may choose to apply wood hardener and epoxy filler. If the damage is deep or wide, replace all or part of the board.

Whenever you remove a board, take time to check for further damage underneath it. If the area is wet, allow it to dry thoroughly before proceeding. If rafter ends are slightly rotted, you may be able to solve the problem by applying wood hardener. Otherwise it may be necessary to cut the ends short and perhaps to add reinforcing "sister" pieces alongside. Use pressure-treated lumber when replacing any wood pieces.


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