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How to Fit Gutters and Downspouts

Updated July 20, 2017

Properly fitted gutters and downspouts are important for carrying water away from your home. Poorly fitted gutters and downspouts can allow water to intrude into your home and can cause erosion of your foundation as well as promote mould growth in your basement or crawlspace. You can find gutters and all the components needed for installation at any large home improvement store. Following these instructions, you can fit your own gutters and downspouts. Keep in mind that you should fit the gutters and downspouts on the ground to simplify installation. There are many types and manufacturers of gutter systems, but these instructions will suffice for any of these systems.

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  1. Sketch the roof line of your house using pencil and paper. Measure the dimensions of your roof line using the tape measure and record the measurements to your sketch, noting the locations of downspouts and corners. Use this sketch to purchase the proper lengths of gutter sections as well as the parts you will need.

  2. Lay the gutter parts on your lawn to allow for complete layout and fitting of gutter sections and parts. If a run of gutter exceeds the maximum length of gutter section, you must use a slip joint and assemble two sections. Cut sections to length using a hacksaw.

  3. Assemble gutter sections temporarily on the ground to ensure proper fit. If you are able to use old downspouts, you can fit all downspout drop outlets as well as downspout sections at this time. Wait until downspout drop outlets are attached to the house before permanently attaching downspout sections to simplify installation.

  4. Attach slip joints and corner fittings permanently to only one end of gutter section and wait until this section is installed on the house before permanently attaching the next section. This will limit amount of gutter section you must handle and will simplify installation.

  5. Fit downspouts to drop outlets. If old downspout sections are not available, you must fit and measure to obtain proper flow of downspouts along the side of the house. Fit one downspout elbow to the drop outlet and then hold a downspout section, with the elbow attached, along the side of the house. Measure from the drop outlet elbow to the downspout section elbow and cut a downspout section to this measurement. Permanently attach these sections and repeat for all of the downspouts on your house.

  6. Warning

    Always wear gloves and eye protection when cutting gutter sections. Always have another person hold the ladder when you are fitting gutters.

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Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Gutter sections
  • Slip joints
  • End caps
  • Corner joints
  • Downspout drop outlets
  • Downspout elbows
  • Downspout sections
  • Hacksaw

About the Author

Ken McBroom

Indiana-based Ken McBroom has been writing since 2005. McBroom has written numerous articles on the outdoors. He got his start as a staff writer for "Water and Woods" magazine and has since had several articles about the outdoors published in "Midwest Outdoors," "Tri-State Outdoors" and "The Sportsman's Guide." He attended Colorado Aero Tech and holds an aircraft mechanic certificate.

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