Gutters are often installed using aluminum gutter spikes and ferrules which can bend easily and work loose over time. Replacing them with steel gutter screws and rigid plastic ferrules provides a more secure alternative and will prevent them from pulling loose or sagging.

To replace gutter spikes with screws, simply remove the old gutter spike and insert the screw through the existing hole in the front of the gutter. Then use a cordless drill to drive the screw into a new hole in the fascia board. Snug the screw up to the gutter, being careful not to over tighten it.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks, Nabri, glad you liked the gutter-repair tip. It’s smart–and a lot easier–to make this repair as soon as you see the gutter pull away from the house. Wait too long, and you might have to replace the entire gutter. By the way, if you can’t find gutter screws at the home center or hardware store, ask for long landscaping screws. They’ll work just as well. Good luck!–Joe T.

  2. Please don’t take offense to this, but the act of substituting spikes with screws is a sophomoric exercise. 99% of the work is getting those darn spikes out without damaging the roof, gutter, and nail head. This can be accomplished by using positioning the claw of a flat hammer on the spike head and then by taking a heavy hammer and whacking it out without falling off the ladder and becoming a paraplegic.

    • Hi Butch,
      I would replace the gutter spikes with screws only if the spikes are already loose. If they’re tight and holding well, I’d leave them alone. That way it won’t be hard to remove the spikes, since they’re coming out anyway. By the way, never use one hardened steel tool to hit another one (like a hammer against a hammer), since the steel can chip off and cause serious injury. I saw this happen when a carpenter was hitting the flat end of a hatchet with a hammer and a chip from the hammer flew off and hit another working in the leg with the force of a bullet. The steel was embedded an inch deep in his leg and had to be surgically removed. It would be better to position the nail puller on a pry bar (which is not made from hardened steel) under the head of the spike and strike it with a hammer or hit the hammer with a rubber mallet. The approach I use is to grab the head of the spike with locking pliers then twist it back and forth while pulling out on it.

  3. Don’t waste your time or gutters trying to pry out the old aluminum nails. Just cut the aluminum nails with bolt cutters and then slide the gutters off. After the gutter is clear then you can use the pry bar to pull out the stubs.
    I have a 24″ bolt cutter which cut those nails like butter.

  4. Good idea, Paul. I bet it doesn’t take much to cut through the gutter spikes, which are typically made of soft aluminum. My only concern is that I’m not sure how many people own bolt cutters. In any case, thanks for the tip.–Joe T.

  5. Dear MMQ,

    I have 4″ Galvanized Steel Gutters on a 50 year old house. They are still in good shape but the spikes were loose in places. I was adding 7″ Galvanized Spikes on the un-used Rafter locations and this worked real well. I just had to line up to the rafter, mark it carefully and drill a small pilot hole in the front of the gutter and then a bigger hole for the spike. Then just pound in the spike. I decided to try the gutter screws just for the fun of it and to see how they compared. The 7″ screws came with 5″ aluminum ferrules so I put a steel rod inside of them put them in a vise and cut them down to 4″. I would recommend the plastic ones if you are going to cut them down it would make it a little easier for most people. When I attempted to screw in the screws they would get stuck at the back of the gutter so I enlarged the back hole a little and this fixed that problem. Since the wood is 50 years old the screw would only go in so far into the existing hole and then get stuck in the wood with about an inch or so to go. I took out the screw and used a foot long 1/4″ drill bit . I marked it with tape 7″ in so I would only have to drill that far. It took a fair amount of force to drill down into the old wood but not to bad. There was still plenty of bit for the screw threads.

    Many people on posts talk about the square bit popping out or stripping the screw head. Mine was popping out and my drill motor didn’t have enough torque too. Fortunately I have an adapter for a socket wrench to a bit driver socket. I recommend doing the last part by hand this way. You will not run the risk of stripping the screw head and then being stuck with the screw partially in.

    The screws once in are very strong and will never pull out. This is a permanent fix for the problem. The gutter screws are a lot more work though. You only need to put a few of them in the spots where the spikes are pulling out and then add galvanized spikes at other empty rafter spots. Also, since the wood is so old and hard the aluminum spikes would only go in so far and them start to bend. I cut an inch and a half of of them and resharpened them and they would work without bending most of the time. For that reason I would not recommend the aluminum spikes on old wood on 4″ gutters. With 5″ gutters these problems would not be as bad since you are not going so deep into the fascia and rafter.

    Any way, hope this info helps someone.

    Henry

  6. Quick question. What do you do with the hole from the nail? Do you fill it with something? Is there not an issue with now having an exposed hole for water to enter

  7. Isn’t galvanic corrosion an issue here? In my understanding, you should only use aluminum spikes with aluminum gutters. And steel with steel. I would expect mixing those metals in a wet environment will cause your steel (or zinc plated steel) to corrode over time. Thoughts? Anyone with experience with this?

    • Hey Eric,
      Corrosion isn’t an issue here for a couple of reasons.
      First, the steel screw has a weather-resistant coating, but more importantly, there’s very little steel-to-aluminum contact: where the screw head meets the gutter (which could be protected by a rubber washer) and where the screw passes through the rear of the gutter.
      The chance of that small amount of contact resulting in a corrosive reaction is nearly zero.
      Thanks for your question!

    • Hi, jjohn,
      Thanks for your interest in this topic!
      Eric asked a great question; please check out our reply to his comment.
      Spoiler alert: Corrosion is not a concern here.
      Take care. 🙂

  8. yes’ agree, replacing the gutter spike nails with inner screw is better, but, what products are out there to plug the old outside nail holes so wasps do not fly in and make nests…. have leaf covers
    thx wb

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