Guide to Installing Gutters & Downpipes

Written by elizabeth knoll
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Guide to Installing Gutters & Downpipes
Install your own gutter system. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Gutters and downspouts are used to collect rain water that falls on the roof of your home and guide it away. Without gutters, your home is at risk for basement leaks and rotting wood. In order for gutters to work properly, they need to be free of leaks and empty of debris. Gutters are built to last for many years. However, replacing old gutters not only increases the chance they are working properly, but also gives your home a more modern appearance.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Chalk line
  • Tin snips
  • Gutter sealant
  • Drill
  • 1/8-inch drill bit
  • Rivets
  • Pop rivet gun
  • Marker
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Sheet metal screws
  • Roofing nails
  • Downspout brackets
  • Hacksaw
  • Crimping tool

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure 1/2-inch down from the metal drip-edge flashing on your roof. This mark should be placed at the farthest point from your downspout. Measure the length from this point to the corner of your home.

  2. 2

    Calculate the slope you will need, allowing 1/2-inch of slope for every 10 feet. For example, if the length from your measured point to the downspout is 10 feet, measure down 1 inch from the metal flashing.

  3. 3

    Run a chalk line from the first measurement to the second measurement. Snap the line. This line will be the slope your gutters will need to follow.

  4. 4

    Measure the length of gutter you will need. Cut the gutter with tin snips so that it fits the length needed. Cut the sides first, then bend the gutter in half and cut the bottom.

  5. 5

    Join two pieces together by cutting a 4-inch notch into the front lip of the gutter. Spread gutter sealant on the inside of the joining gutter, about 1 1/2 inches in from the edge. Slide the two edges together, overlapping them about 4 inches. Drill two holes, equally spaced, into all three sides of the joined gutters with a 1/8-inch drill bit. Use a pop rivet gun to install rivets in the six holes.

  6. 6

    Turn the gutter upside down. Place the downspout outlet on what will be the lowest end of the gutter, keeping it about one foot from the end of the gutter. Trace around the inside of the outlet with a marker. Place a chisel in the centre of the outline and tap the end of it with a hammer to make a starting hole. Use this hole as a starting point to cut out the tracing with tin snips.

  7. 7

    Place the back, top lip of your gutter on the chalk line. Screw in a 1 1/4-inch stainless steel sheet metal screw through the back of the gutter and into the wood. Place one screw every two feet, the entire length of the gutter.

  8. 8

    Lift the edge of your roofing shingles and slide the gutter flashing underneath. Overlap each flashing by about 2 inches. Nail them in place with 1-inch roofing nails placed every two feet.

  9. 9

    Push the downspout outlet down through the hole you cut out on the bottom of the gutter. Screw the outlet into place with sheet metal screws. Place a downspout elbow over the outlet. Position the elbow so that it will be leading the downspout toward the side of the house. Screw the two pieces together.

  10. 10

    Attach downspout brackets to the side of your home. Use two brackets for a one story home and three brackets for a two story home. Position the brackets about 6 feet apart from one another. Use two screws to hold the bracket in place.

  11. 11

    Place an elbow about 6 inches down from the underside of the overhang of your roof. Measure the distance between the top and bottom elbow. Cut a straight piece of downspout 2 inches longer than this measurement, with a hacksaw. Measure from the second elbow to about 6 inches up from the ground. Cut a straight piece of downspout to this length.

  12. 12

    Crimp both ends of the straight downspouts with a crimping tool. Slide one end into the upper elbow and the other end into the lower elbow. Screw the two ends to the two elbows. Do the same with the longer downspout between the second and third elbow. Position the downspout in the brackets.

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