We've had a heavy dose of snow here in the Boston area it has taken a toll on our gutters and downspouts. The downspout at the rear of my house filled with ice and pulled away from the elbow that comes down from the gutter:

rear downspout

Also, ice did some damage to a gutter on a dormer. The dormer seems prone to icicle formation, as it has a thinner roof with no ventilation. During this storm, huge icicles formed and pushed/pulled the right end of the gutter down from the roof line by about 5 inches. Since then most of the ice has melted and the gutter is closer to its original position, but it still hanging down a bit on the right:

dormer gutter

So how do I get these things back into place so they'll hold through the next storm? The downspout doesn't seem to be held by anything other than some aluminum straps fastened into the siding. I haven't gone up to look at the gutter, but I believe it is fastened directly into the exposed rafter tails of our roof, some of which may be in bad shape.

2 Answers 2


Well, fixing the damage won't prevent it from happening again, so to fix this and prevent further damages from ice in the future, you will need to install some hardware. First, you are going to need to get out the ladder and , with some assistance, push the down spout back up and re-attach it to the elbow. I'd use extra fasteners, and possibly a short rubber connection hose to ensure a good tight seal. It is likely ice formation caused the metal to flex, creating a weakness in the fastener, so the rubber hose will help.

The gutter issue really comes down to weight. Installing some "Heavy Load Gutter Brackets" would help. For the distance of gutter and weight on it I'd put in two brackets with each in the middle of the roof jousts near the middle that are shown in the picture.

With all of these fixes, be sure your nails or screws get "purchase" or else it is all for nothing.

EDIT:Use the same fasteners you are using, just use more. Not a ton more, maybe just one or two. Don't use sheet metal screws, use wood screws. Sheet metal screws have smaller thread, wood screws are made for, well, wood. That will handle the horizontal movement. For the vertical sliding, either rivet the joints together(this option costs less, but more permanent, and is more invisible) OR buy a vinyl connector and put a fastener on the connector itself and on the downspout itself just above and just below the connector

  • 1
    What sort of fasteners? Just regular sheet metal screws, or is there something specifically for downspouts/gutters? Also, should there be anything other than the gutter fastener vertically supporting the downspout? Right now it has a couple of aluminum straps but I think they only prevent it from moving away from the house, and don't prevent it sliding down if iced over. Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 1:45
  • Thanks. What about for the downspout? Does it only need to be secured to the gutter's drain, or should there be other pieces to help carry the weight of the downspout along its height? Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 3:38
  • @shimon-rura I edited the answer to deal with the weight of the downspout. A drain attachment will only work if you are connecting to downspout to a water collection barrel or something similarly solid, in which case the elbow near the ground won't actually carry any weight. Rivet or vinyl is best.
    – allindal
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 3:46

Temporarily remove all of the downspout straps or what we call pipe bands. Reposition the downspout, making sure all of the pieces of the downspouts and elbows are tight. Now put the straps back ALMOST in the same position. You do not want to re-fasten in the original holes. Now here comes the difference maker. Add 1 more screw, in the center of each strap so it penetrates the downspout. This will hold the downspout firmly in place, regardless of the snow and ice.

Hope this helps.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.