As the holiday season approaches along with arrays of outdoor decor and light displays, you should start to consider the effect of the holiday season on your roof gutters.

Why are roof gutters vulnerable to damage from holiday light displays?

Rain gutters are used for light displays such as long strands of icicle lights. While the weight of the light strands is not substantial in itself, frozen precipitation can accumulate on these light displays and add substantial weight for the gutters to bear.

In addition, the act of applying the gutter clips that hold the lights in place requires the decorator to pull down on the clips to snap them over the top of the gutter. If the integrity of the gutter has already been compromised from previous holiday displays, or has been cleaned infrequently, the additional weight and stress can cause the gutter to loosen and pull away from the wall.

Winter is the worse time for gutters to be pulled away from the fascia board that holds them in place, because rain water can access the area behind the gutter during the day, then freeze overnight as temperatures dip below freezing.  As the water freezes, it expands and pushes the gutter even further from the wall.

If temperatures remain near the freezing point, an accumulation of ice can form and degrade the fascia board to the point that water enters the home. If water can make its way inside the wall and freeze, it can expand and create an even larger opening

Another issue with loose gutters is the loss of proper pitch. Gutters must point slightly downward toward the downspout. If they become loose at the opposite end and sag, water will not drain properly and will remain inside to add additional weight or overflow and freeze.

How can loose gutters be repaired?

if your gutters have pulled away from the wall, or are filled with water, you can secure them again. Your gutter is secured to the fascia board with either seven inch gutter spikes or screws. They are inserted through the gutter and also through a hollow tube called a ferrule, which is placed inside the gutter to keep it from being crushed.

If you currently have spikes, or nails, you should replace them with screws. They are easier to use and provide a tighter grip. You can use the same ferrules or purchase sets of screws and ferrules together. You will need a power drill to tighten the screws.

Before tightening the screws, use a stick level or even a smartphone app level to be sure that your gutter is pitched downward toward your downspout. It doesn't need much pitch, only one quarter of an inch along the full length of the gutter.

Whether you decide to hammer in existing nails or tighten screws, if the gutter is still loose, your fascia board may be compromised by water damage. A residential roofing repair company will be needed to replace the fascia board and any other damage around the edge of your roof.

While you are working on the gutter, be sure to clean it of any dirt, debris, or standing water. Use gloves and a narrow hand spade to remove anything that may be inside your gutter. It may be compacted and difficult to remove, and it will be heavy if the accumulation is thick.

You can still enjoy holiday lights that are suspended from your gutters, as long as you install them with care. Remember, Santa knows roofs intimately, and he can see if you have been naughty or nice to your gutters. For help, visit a roof repair company, like, for more information.