How to Install Plastic Rain Gutters

Written by dario saandvik
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How to Install Plastic Rain Gutters
Plastic gutter installation isn't any more challenging than traditional gutter installation. (gutter image by Wouter Tolenaars from

Rain gutters are an important part of maintaining a safe, leak-free roof. The gutters prevent water from flowing down under the eaves and compromising the waterproofing on the roof edge. PVC plastic rain gutters have become increasingly popular because they offer advantages over traditional tin rain gutters. Plastic gutters do not corrode, resist bending and denting, and, because they are lightweight, are easier to install. The installation of plastic gutters is similar to that of tin gutters; the process only requires a few different tools.

Things you need

  • 2 ladders
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Chalk line
  • Carpenter's level
  • Electric screwdriver
  • Wood screws
  • Fine-toothed saw
  • Plastic gutter kit

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  1. 1

    Place the level flat on the roof near the corner. It should extend down about 6 inches over the edge. Place a gutter bracket from the gutter kit in position against the fascia. The top of the bracket should touch the bottom of the level. Mark the mounting holes with a pencil, and repeat the process at the other corner of the same section of roof.

  2. 2

    Stretch a chalk line between the pencil marks. Check that the line is level, then snap the chalk line. Measure the length of the roof section. Stretch the chalk line again and lower it by 1/16th inch per 10 feet of length at the corner where you'll affix the other corner piece.

  3. 3

    Affix the corner pieces at each end of the roof section using the provided brackets and screws. One should be higher than the other, as you measured in step two.

  4. 4

    Install support brackets every 36 inches along the length of the roof section between the two corners.

  5. 5

    Measure the length of the section between the corner pieces. Cut the gutter sections to fit that length, leaving an extra inch on each side to insert into the corner pieces. Gutters usually come in 10 foot sections. You should only need to cut the final section you install.

  6. 6

    Snap the gutter sections into the brackets.

  7. 7

    Affix end caps to the drop spouts on each corner, unless you are going to affix a downspout to that corner. The end caps snap into place without tools on most plastic gutter kits.

  8. 8

    Attach an elbow to any corner with a downspout. Attach a short length of downspout, about 2 feet, to the elbow, which will hang directly under the eaves. Attach another elbow to the end of that piece with the end of the elbow pointing down. Measure and cut to fit the main length of downspout and attach it. It should run parallel to the wall.

  9. 9

    Attach a bracket to the downspout at the top for support, and screw the bracket into the wall. Screw two more brackets evenly spaced along the main length of the wall to support the downspout all the way down.

  10. 10

    Attach another elbow at the bottom of the downspout. Attach another short length of downspout to this elbow to divert water at least 2 feet away from the house foundation.

  11. 11

    Repeat this process, with or without the downspout section, for each straight length of roof.

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