How to put up gutters

Updated July 20, 2017

Putting up and maintaining gutters is necessary to keep water away from a building's foundation. Lacking gutters and downspouts, a foundation will show premature wear and potentially allow water inside. Additionally, putting up gutters prevents soil erosion where the classic "drip line" can be seen around the building. This is not only unsightly but also can cause foundation damage and subsidence issues with the structure. Another benefit of gutters and downspouts is preventing water from falling on people's heads when they are near the building. Generally, gutters today are made from aluminium or vinyl.

Measure 1/2 inch down from soffit at the opposite end of where the downspout will be. Mark this point and do the same every 10 feet, adding another eighth of an inch for each 10-foot mark. Snap a chalk line to connect these marks.

Assemble any parts, such as end caps or turns, and evenly space hanging straps two feet apart. Sealing may be necessary; if so, seal the end caps on now.

Hold the gutter up -- this may take two people -- and screw in the hanging straps. Connect all sections until you have neared a corner.

Measure to the end of the building and cut the last gutter piece so it will just reach the end with the drop outlet attached if a downspout will go there.

Install an elbow and attach the downspout. Measure from the bottom of the elbows to about 8 inches above the ground.

Cut the downspout the length you measured in Step 5 and attach the downspout to the elbow. Screw a hanger horizontally into the building and connect the downspout to it. Using elbows direct the flow away from the house.


Always read the manufacturers' directions with gutters as specific measurements may differ.


Ladder safety is essential when installing gutters.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Chalk line
  • Mastic or caulk
  • Ladder
  • Saw
  • Screwdriver
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About the Author

Writing professionally since 2008, Don Shepard has been published in a water resources laboratory manual and in various online publications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in meteorology from Ball State University. His most recent work includes performing editing team leading duties for a prominent political advocacy firm.