Gutter spikes and hangers are the two most common ways of attaching gutters to houses. Gutter spikes are long nails that are hammered inside and across the gutter, attaching it to the wooden fascia board along the edge of the roof. Gutter hangers are brackets placed inside the gutters. The brackets are attached to the fascia board by screws or to a strap screwed underneath the shingles. Gutter spikes were once the more prevalent method, but most builders currently use gutter hangers.
For a good appearance, gutter hangers are the preferred method of attachment. Gutter spikes are driven through the entire width of the gutter, which means that the heads of the spikes are visible along the front of the gutter. The brackets and screws used in gutter hangers are hidden from view. Since the attachment mechanism is not visible when hangers are used, the front of the gutter is smooth.
Gutter hangers are stronger than spikes and typically last much longer. The bracket-and-screw design provides a more secure connection for the gutter to the roof or fascia board. Over time, changes in temperature cause gutter spikes to expand and contract, which slowly pulls the spikes out of the fascia board. The same temperature changes have little impact on gutter hangers.
Some gutter spikes have ridges or rings along the shaft to reduce the amount of pull-out that the spikes experience. However, the ridged and ringed spikes only delay the spikes' falling out; they do not prevent it from occurring.
The only advantage to gutter spikes over gutter hangers is cost. Gutter spikes are cheaper to purchase and install than gutter hangers. Gutter spikes take less time to install, which reduces the cost of using them. The price decrease varies, based on your location, parts availability and the cost of labor to install them. In many cases the price difference is so minor that it does not warrant using gutter spikes instead of hangers.
Spikes or Hangers
Overall, gutter hangers are the best option for attaching gutters to a roof. Gutter hangers are more aesthetically pleasing and stronger than gutter spikes. Gutter spikes might be cheaper to install, but this price difference is often negligible. The added cost of maintenance in dealing with gutter spikes loosening up over time further negates their initial cost advantage.
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