How to install gutters

Learning how to install gutters may seem like a complicated task but if you have some handy man or women skills and are willing to give it a try, here is my guide on How to Install Gutters on your home. I applaud those who have the gumption to try, which is why I offer this very detailed guide.

Let me say that I highly recommended you to have your gutters installed by a professional who has the experience and tools required. If I haven't scared you yet, please proceed!

This project should be done with some assistance, due to the length of the materials and measuring requirements, so it is best to see if you can find someone to help you with your gutter installation.

Just a A word of CAUTION before we get to the good stuff. Check around the house for overhead power lines. Aluminum conducts electricity so, if you touch an electrical power line with an aluminum rain gutter, the electricity will travel through the rain gutter and through your body.

Always use safety equipment like safety glasses and gloves. Working on ladders installing guttering is potentially very dangerous. Statistically, if you fall over 11 feet, your odds of surviving are only 50%. Please be careful!

Gutter Removal

The first step in this how to install gutters guide is obviously to take down the old gutter. Take a look at the list of gutter removal tools below.

Gutter Removal Tools

5 gal bucket and a garbage bag

Claw hammer

Tool belt with pouches

Tape measure

Tin snips

Cordless screw gun

Here are the step by step instructions for How to Install Gutters:

Aluminum gutter installation tools

Ladders: I use a 6', 8' & 10' step ladders, 16' & 32' extension ladder w/stabilizer.

A pair of Wilmar (WLMW54035) Steel Folding Sawhorse to work on the gutters up off the ground. The top covered with padded carpet to avoid scratches, but cardboard taped on can work.

SE Hammer, 4oz.Ballpein w/ Hardwood Handle

Sharpie 37001 Ultra Fine Point Permanent Markers, Black (Box of 12)

DEWALT DCD970KL 18-Volt XRP Lithium-Ion 1/2-Inch Hammerdrill/Drill/Driver Kit

DEWALT DC970K-2 18-Volt Drill/Driver Kit

6" MAGNETIC NUT DRIVER w/quick release hex shank 1/4"

DEWALT DW1803 Heavy Duty 7/16-Inch Shank Quick Change Mandrel (Fits Hole Saws 1-1/4-Inch - 6-Inch)

DEWALT D180044 2-3/4-Inch Hole Saw

Channellock 528 8-Inch Slip Joint Plier

DEWALT DW3970 12-Inch High Tension Hack Saw Frame

DeWalt 12" 24TPI Hack Saw Blade (2 Pack) Part No. DW3976

DEWALT DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch Compound Miter saw

Marson 39000 HP-2 Hand Rivet Tool

Columbian by Wilton 3-piece Aviation Snips Set 30676

Malco C4 Blade Downspout Crimper

Malco SL-2 Snap Lock Punch

Newborn Brothers 930-GTD Gator Trigger Drip-Free Hex Rod Caulk Gun

Stanley 42-324 24-Inch I-Beam 180 Level

Stanley 33-725 25-Foot FatMax Tape Measure

Stanley® Bostitch Long Tape Measure, 1/8" Graduations, 50 ft., Yellow

Stanley 34-106 Long Tape Measure, 1/8" Graduations, 100 ft., Yellow

Make a list of all the gutter materials you will need for the job. These include gutter, downspouts, downspout straps, elbows, dropouts, corners, screws, end caps, gutter hangers, sealant etc. If possible, talk to a professional who knows how to install gutters, before taking on this job.

Inspection

Before your new gutter installation, inspect all the fascia boards or rafter tails for wood rot. Make all necessary repairs before you move on to the aluminum gutter installation. This is also the time to paint and caulk.

Measurements:

Get the exact measurements of the fascia boards or rafter tails and write them down. When the gutter section is end-cap to end-cap, Measure from the corner of the shingles at one end of the gutter run to the corner of the shingles at the opposite end of the gutter run. For corner configurations measure the fascia boards only.

Gutter Hangers:

Set the new gutters on a pair of padded sawhorses and trim to the exact length. In parts of the country with little to no snow accumulation, the hidden hanger can be installed up to 36 inches apart. In areas where you may encounter heavy ice and snow loads in and on the gutter, I suggest installing the hidden hangers every 24 inches or line them up with every rafter tail. Start a gutter screw into the back of the hidden hanger. Use 1 1/2 inch gutter screws for fascia board attachment, or 2” to 2.5" screws for rafter tail attachment.

End-caps:

Position the end-caps on the ends of the gutters where needed. While holding it in place seal with gutter sealant along the inside seam. Press the sealant deep in the joint with your finger. Crimp the outside end-cap flanges closed tight with end cap crimpers (if you have that tool). If you don't have the end cap crimpers, use pliers or a 3” seamer, then rill rivets holes through the 3 layers of metal of the outside flange. At least 2 on each of the 3 faces, 6 total.

Attaching the Gutters:

To make the aluminum gutter installation process easier, spread out the drip edge flashing enough so that the back edge of the gutter will slide up under it. Take your tin snips and make relief cuts at all inside and outside corners of the flashing. Set up two or three ladders across the gutter section. It's best to have an assistant help you to position the gutter under the drip edge flashing. Drive the center screw in with the cordless impact driver. If the screw spins instead of pulling the gutter tight against the wood and cinches down; you may have cracked the wood, striped out the hole, or there is too much dry rot. You will need to change the angle of the screw, reposition the hidden hanger, or use a longer screw to dig deeper to find some good solid wood for a secure attachment.

Sideways Alignment:

Check the ends of the gutter to see that the sideways position is correct, having the ends of the gutter pulled up to meet the roof and set flush with the edge of the roofing shingles or lined up with the end of the fascia board where there is a corner. Run the screw out and slide the gutter into the corrected position and run the screws back in.

Gutter Leveling:

If the gutter section only has one outlet, go to the end away from the outlet and lift the gutter up into position as high as it can be and drive the end screws in. Set the level in the bottom of the gutter against the back wall of the gutter to get a good reading. Keep in mind that sand under the level can give you a false reading, so make sure the floor of the gutter and the bottom of the level is clean. Be careful to adjust gutter height with the bubble in the level touching the line away from the direction you need the water to flow, as opposed to dead center. This gives the gutter a slight slope towards the outlet, but not too drastic. Work your way towards the center driving the screws in while checking the level as you go. You may need to temporarily drive a screw in on the outlet end to loosen the center screw for height adjustment. As you work your way to the middle again reposition the height of that center screw as needed. Finish driving all the screws in checking with the level to make sure it has a slight grade downwards the outlet.

Gutter Corners:

Screw or rivet all inside or outside corners. Use 3 fasteners on each side of the seam across the bottom, 3 to 4 in the face, 1 on the top of the outer lip. Use Rusco 12-1 seam sealer over the fasteners on the inside the gutter.

Downspout Outlets: Now that the aluminum gutter installation is done, you can locate the exact positions where you want to install the downspouts. Mark the center point of the downspout location onto the bottom of the gutter. Then drill a 2 3/4 inch hole with a hole saw. Place a 2 3/4 inch round pop-in outlet inside the gutter and into the hole you drilled. Tap it down until it is flush on the inside of the gutter. Seal completely around the outlet with Rusco 12-1 seam sealer.

Downspout Installation:

Temporally install an elbow to the drop out on the gutter. This can be done by gently squeezing the elbow sides together and then attaching it to the drop out (no fasteners yet). Take another elbow and hold it against the wall of the house. Try to align the two elbow ends at the same angle and take a measurement. Add 2 1/2 inches to that measurement and cut a piece of downspout to that dimension.

Note To prevent leakage, joints in downspout systems are made so that the top section fits inside the lower section.

Connect those two elbows to the piece of downspout that you just cut. Now temporally re-install that section of downspout to the gutter. Make a mark on the side of the house where the elbow ends and then you can remove that section of downspout.

Hold another elbow against the house about four inches above the ground and make a mark on the house at the top of the elbow. Measure between the two marks, add four inches to that dimension and cut another piece of downspout.

Connect the upper section to one end of the downspout and the lower elbow to the other end. Temporally re-install the downspout assembly to the drop out and align it vertically against the house. (You can use the plumb-bob for straight downspout placement). Make small alignment marks on both sides of the downspout at several locations. Remove the downspout. Use a hammer drill with a 1/4 inch masonry bit and drill hole at approximately 16 inches and 60 inches in the center of your alignment marks. Install downspout straps at these two locations.

Re-install the downspout and align it vertically against the house. Permanently fasten it to the drop out with screws or rivets. Wrap the downspout straps around the downspout and install two screws or rivets.

Don't forget to install the Splash guards on your new gutter installation. Install splash guards on all inside corners, or anywhere two roof lines meet to form a valley. Splash guards prevent the rain water from over shooting your gutter. After installation, sealant should be placed in the corner where the splash guard meets the gutter to prevent any leaks. For adequate water deflection, the splash guard should be 4" tall and each leg should extends 12".

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