Installing Gutters and Downspouts

How to Instructions on Installing Gutters and Downspouts

By Mark J. Donovan




Not too long ago I broke down and decided to install gutters and downspouts on one side of my home. For years I avoided doing this as I was concerned about frequently cleaning out and unclogging the gutters and downspouts throughout the year, and dealing with Ice Dams in the winter. I broke down, however, as I was realizing the water bouncing up off of the deck was beginning to cause damage to the side of my house.

Installing gutters and downspouts is a simple project that any homeowner can do on a weekend. Basic PVC, aluminum and galvanized metal gutter material are available at most hardware stores.

With a few basic tools you can install anyone of these types of gutters and downspout systems in a matter of hours. In my case I used the PVC type as it required no soldering or cutting/bending of metal.

Tools required for installing Gutters and Downspouts made from PVC

Ladder, stainless steel or galvanized nails or screws, chalk line, hammer, screw gun pencil, and hack saw.

Gutter and Downspout parts

Measure the length of the roof and the height of where the downspouts are to be located, and order 10% in excess of the total length measured. You will need to order the gutters, down spouts, end caps, downspout brackets and hangers and various joints to interconnect the pieces together. Note that most basic gutter pieces come in lengths of 10 feet.

Establish a chalk line on the trim board that sits just under the edge of the shingles.

Installing gutters

Note that the gutters should have a pitch downward towards the downspout. The pitch should drop 1 inch for every 16 feet of gutter. The lowest point of the gutter is where the down spout should go.

If there is to be downspouts on either side of the length of gutter, then the middle of the gutter run should be at the highest point. The ends, where the downspouts will reside, should be at the lowest point.

Install the mounting hangers

Screw or nail the mounting hangers to the trim board, such that the top of the gutter will rest in line with the chalk line.

Installing Gutters

Install the gutter onto the mounting hangers. The gutter simply clips into the mounting hangers. Note that with a long gutter run, you may need coupling joints that marry two lengths of gutter together. Use your hacksaw to cut the gutters to the appropriate lengths. You will also need to add the end unit connector joints, with the downspout sleeves and end caps attached. Note that all of these connector joints have a rubber seal that prevents leaking.

Installing Downspouts

Measure the length of downspout necessary to connect from the base of the gutter to the ground.

You will also need to account for a number of 45 and 90 degree angle connectors to transition the downspout to the edge of the house.

Simply snap the sections together and attach the downspouts to the house using downspout brackets and screws/nails.

Attach a 90 degree elbow joint at the end of the down spout to direct the water away from the home and you are done.


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