Installing rain gutters is a challenging project that is best left to a professional. However, more people are considering it as a do it yourself project. Here, we will review the precautions and steps of how to install gutters.
If you want to learn how to install gutters yourself, it is essential to get a good manual or watch some high-quality videos before you start. You also want to make sure you assemble everything you need beforehand. Always use a partner, as it is impossible for one person to do this job.
How to Install Gutters – Know the Various Types
Profiles –There are many types of channel profiles, or shapes. The most popular are half-round and O/G, also known as K-style.
Gutter Types –There are two types of gutters, sectional and seamless. The only DIY option is buying the lengths, called channels. These usually come in ten-foot sections and can be shortened as needed with a hack saw. Seamless gutters can be installed easily by a pro.
Materials – Your choices include copper, aluminum, galvanized steel and vinyl. There are pros and cons to each: Steel is the least expensive metal but it can rust. Vinyl is lightweight but it can crack or be degraded by UV rays. Aluminum and copper are the most durable metals, often lasting 70 years or more. Aluminum is easily coated or painted and will not rust.
Copper is never painted but can be lead-coated. It is also extremely expensive – about $20 per foot. Another option is wood, but it is usually only used for historical reproductions.
Thickness – A professional can tell you how to install gutters of the right thickness for your weather conditions and budget. The stock material is generally sold in thicknesses of .032, .027, and .025 inch. If you are going to use aluminum, “primary” metal tends to have a more consistent quality.
The Installation Process
The basic procedure is to lay everything out and attach the channels, downspouts, elbows and various connectors in a specified order. Use a tape measure and chalk line to ensure the gutters are far enough away from the roofline to promote proper rainwater flow, and that the channels slope one-half-inch per ten feet of run toward the downspout. If the roofline is particularly long, it’s common to slope gutters down from each end toward a single downspout in the middle.
Essential tools include:
- Chalk line
- Tape measure
- Hacksaw or 12-inch miter saw with carbide-tipped finish blade
- Pop rivet gun
- Power drill with a nut driver and 4-inch hole saw
- Aviation snips
- Ratchet wrench with a 7/16-inch socket
- Needle-nose pliers
- Crimping tool
- High quality siliconized caulk
- A sturdy ladder
The basic installation steps are:
- Mark the highest point on the fascia 1-1/4 inch below the flashing and the lowest point at the end of the roof length. Snap chalk lines between these points.
- Drill a pilot hole through the fascia into every other rafter tail and fasten brackets with ¼ in. lag screws so as to bore two inches into the rafters. The channels will attach to the brackets.
- Cut channels with saw or snips, overlapping sections by about 8 inches. Join them with screws or pop rivets.
Adhere with caulk.
- Attach end caps with temporary screws, later replacing them with aluminum pop rivets. Seal these rivets and all seams with a thick bead of caulk.
- Drill downspout hole at the low end using a 4-inch-diameter hole saw attachment.
- Attach downspout system, making sure it extends as far as possible from the foundation.
Hiring a Contractor
A home improvement professional knows how to install gutters quickly and professionally, including long-lasting seamless gutters. An experienced contractor can also install gutter covers, also known as a leaf guard or gutter guards. These devices are attached over the channel top to keep water flowing, and keep leaves and other debris out. This addition eliminates gutter cleaning chores.
If you hire a pro, you ensure a lasting final product and reduce the need for gutter repair later on.
When you want to install gutters, it is important to be thoroughly familiar with the various tasks and components that this job requires. This will ensure the job is done correctly and protects your home.
If you are looking for a company that not only specializes, but knows how to install gutters in Birmingham, Mountain Brook, Vestavia or Hoover, call us now.