How To Replace Gutters
Your gutters need to be in good shape in order to protect your home and keep your roof free of leaks, mold, and rot. Sooner or later, though, gutter damage will happen and you can only make so many repairs before the time comes to replace the whole system. Knowing how to replace gutters can save you money on installation and help ensure that your roof, home, and foundation are protected when the rain starts to fall.
Replacing your gutters is a fairly involved job and will require you to get on a ladder and on top of your roof. It will also require you to move around on the ladder, so you must be comfortable with heights and know how to steady yourself and keep your balance. Whenever you use a ladder, make sure you have someone who can hold the base when you are on it. This will prevent the bottom from slipping out from under you. You should also make sure that the ladder is on solid, level ground at all times.
Tools and Materials
- Pipe cutter
- Hanging brackets
- Corner joints
- End caps
- Flashing shingles
- Gutter sealant
How to Replace Gutters Instructions
Step 1: Remove the Old Gutters
To remove your old gutters, it is best to work from the ground upwards. Remove the downspouts and downspout extensions first, then make your way up to the gutter assembly. This will ensure that the gutter assembly will not be attached to the ground when you remove it from the roofline. Take the gutter assembly off the hangers piece-by-piece.
Depending on whether the gutters were installed with nails or rivets, they may have varying levels of difficulty when removing them. Work your way around the house and dispose of any debris as you go to avoid a big cleanup later on.
Step 2: Take Measurements
Once the old gutters are removed, take careful measurements of the roofline and figure out the new layout for your gutter system. Plan out where your downspouts will go and try to place them in areas where they will drain into storm sewers or drainage systems. Generally, you will need one downspout for every 20 feet of guttering, so work this into your measurements for the best possible drainage.
Step 3: Assemble Gutters Before Installation
It is best to put the gutter assemblies together before you get up on the ladder to install them. Cut the pieces to size using the pipe cutter and put the sections together at the joints. Place the end caps on the ends of each gutter assembly using the gutter sealant and give it some time to dry before installing the sections. Use the pipe cutters to cut holes for your downspouts in the appropriate places.
Step 4: Install the Pre-Assembled Sections
Once the gutter sealant is dry and the downspout holes are cut, you can start attaching the gutters to your roofline. Attach the hangers to the wood beams underneath the roof and hang the assemblies on them. Double-check the spacing of the downspout holes you have cut to make sure they are going to be in the right place.
Step 5: Set the Slope
One of the most important considerations when replacing gutters is the amount of slope that each section has. Your gutters will need to be at a slight angle to allow the water to flow freely and prevent overflow during heavy rains. You should have a ¼” of slope for every ten feet of gutter. Use your level to make sure that there is a slight slope towards the downspouts as you install the gutter assemblies and make adjustments to your hangers as you go.
Step 6: Install Flashing and Downspouts
Once your gutter assemblies have been installed, you can install the flashing and downspouts. Flashing is small pieces of gutter material that are designed to prevent leaves, twigs, and other debris from getting in the gutters and causing clogs. Install the flashing underneath the shingles of your roof and over the gutter’s openings, leaving room for the water to fall in. After you have installed the flashing, put in the downspouts and connect them to any drainage hoses that you may already have installed from the last gutter system.
When to Contact a Professional
While you can certainly learn how to replace gutters and do the job yourself, it is a fairly complicated process. This is a big job that may take you several days, even if you have all the right tools and materials. It can also be very dangerous since you will have to spend a lot of time on a ladder and make complicated movements to get the gutter assemblies installed. In many cases, having a professional handle the job will be well worth the money in terms of both safety and workmanship.
Gutter professionals will have all the safety gear and equipment to get the job done quickly and efficiently without the dangers that you might have to expose yourself to by doing it yourself. By getting the right professional help, you can enjoy your new gutter system and know that your home will be protected.