How To Install Gutters?
You already know how important gutters are to a home. As they collect the rain and snow that run off the roof, gutters divert the water away from the home’s foundation and into the yard where it can drain. But paying for a gutter installation service can be expensive, which leaves many homeowners asking, “Can I install gutters myself?” This guide on how to install gutters will help.
So, Can I Install Gutters Myself?
If you’re comfortable on a ladder, you can tackle this job yourself. All it takes is a little know-how and some guidance. The job might seem intimidating, but as long as you know that water flows downhill, it’s doable for the average DIY-savvy homeowner.
Before you get started installing gutters, you’ll need to collect some necessary tools.
- Tape measure
- Tin snips
- Permanent marker
- Chalk line
- Bubble level
- Drill with hex-head driver bit
- A hole saw between ½ and 1 ¼ inch
- Caulking gun
- Metal crimper
Besides the actual gutters, there are fittings and hardware you will also need to install gutters yourself. How much of each material you’ll need will depend on your home.
- Gutter lengths
- Inside corners
- Outside corners
- End caps (left and right)
- Drops for downspouts
- Slip joints for connecting runs
- Downspouts and elbows
- Gutter sealant
- Self-tapping gutter screws
- Gutter hanging brackets
- Downspout brackets
How To Install Gutters
If you don’t know how to install gutters, rest assured that it’s not that difficult. Nothing about installing gutters is an exact science. The following steps will take you through the process of how to install gutters yourself (though it may be handy to enlist the help of a friend).
1) Measure and Draw a Diagram
To determine how much material you’ll need, measure your home and draw a rough picture to match it. You’ll only need gutters along the bottom of the roof, not the peaks. The diagram will help you determine how much gutter material you need as well as how many inside and outside corners you’ll need for hip-style roofs.
2) Buy More Than You Need
There are two ways to purchase gutter material; from a gutter supplier or a home improvement store. Gutter suppliers can cut custom lengths and drop them off at your house, while home improvement stores generally sell gutters material in lengths of 10 feet. In either case, it’s better to purchase more than necessary to account for offcuts and waste. A spare drop, corner, and end cap, as well as an extra tube of sealant, may come in handy as well.
3) Determine the Height
Installing gutters too high can cause sliding ice and snow to rip them off in the winter. At the edge of the roof, lay a level on the roof so that it overhangs the eave by at least a foot. Next, use an end cap as a gauge to mimic the gutter. Ensuring that the outermost edge of the end cap is around 1 inch below the slope of the level, make a mark on the fascia board to determine the starting height of the gutter.
Drive a nail at this mark, attach the chalk line, and drag it to the other end of the fascia. Hold a level to the stretched chalk line and adjust it until the bubble is off-center to ensure that it’s sloping properly. When satisfied, snap the chalk line. Generally speaking, ¼ inch of slope for every 10 feet is ideal, but this doesn’t have to be exact.
4) Mark the Rafter Locations
When the time comes to install the gutters, you’ll want to screw the brackets into the rafters, which hide behind the fascia board. Look for sets of nail heads in the fascia to determine where the rafters are and make easy-to-see marks at these locations.
It’s also helpful to get a final measurement of the run at this point. Make sure it runs past the corner of the roof by at least ½ inch.
5) Measure, Cut, and Seal Your Sections on the Ground
The easiest way to install straight runs of gutters is with the length already assembled. Use the final measurement from the last step to do the following:
- Use slip joints to assemble enough gutter material to overrun the edge of the roof
- Example: for a 15-foot roof, assemble two 10-foot lengths. For a 32-foot roof, assemble four 10-foot lengths.
- Transfer the measurement from the roof to the assembled gutter piece and cut it to length using tin snips
- Permanently attach the slip joints using sealant and self-tapping gutter screws
- For straight runs, use sealant to add end caps to both ends and crimp them in place
- For corners, use sealant and self-tapping gutter screws to attach the corners
- Cut out the location for the drops using a hole saw and tin snips, and attach them using sealant and screws
6) Install the Gutters
With the help of a friend, align the assembled gutter with the chalk line on the fascia. Using the rafter marks as a reference, attach the gutter to the fascia (and the rafters behind it) using the gutter brackets and cordless drill. Generally speaking, this means installing a bracket every 16 inches.
Ensure there are no leaks and that the gutter flows well by running a garden hose into the gutter and observing the joints.
7) Attach Downspout
Using elbows and downspout pipe, assemble the downspout and attach it to the gutter drop using self-tapping screws. Use downspout brackets to attach the downspout to the siding. The downspout extension should divert the water at least 4 feet away from the foundation.
Every application is different, but those are the general guidelines on how to install gutters. You should be able to adapt them to any home to add corners, add a rain barrel, or even feed a water feature. But most of all, you’ll be able to save money while also ensuring that your basement stays dry and your foundation remains in good condition, thanks to installing your own gutters.