How to Install Gutters-Gutter Installation and Replacement

How to Install Gutters-Gutter Installation and Replacement

Roof gutters are your primary defense from water accumulation around the foundation of your home. Roof gutters prices protect interior walls from leaks and possible mold contamination. Large amounts of water building up against the foundation of your home will eventually result in leaking basement walls with cracking and shifting of the foundation walls of your home.

There are several points to consider when selecting roof gutters for your home. Roof gutters come in numerous shapes, sizes, and materials. Choosing the right style, shape, and material will serve an instrumental purpose while adding curb appeal and value to your home.

Roof gutters are easy to install, requiring a small amount of DIY experience using standard household tools. For the novice and less experienced, getting the help of a family member, friend, or neighbor to help hold the placement of gutter runs may prove beneficial.

Gutter Installation Planning

Planning the installation of your gutters will determine the amount and length of materials that you will need. Simple sketching of the perimeter of your home with exact measurements is a good starting point. Install your new gutters over your current eaves or fascia boards. Replace all deteriorated fascia boards as needed. If your home has vinyl or aluminum fascia board protection already installed, your current fascia boards should be solid enough to handle your new gutters.

Rain gutters are typically installed on the front or rear of the home. Older styled ramblers with a 4/12 roof pitch may have gutters installed on all four sides of the house. Newer homes typically have gutters installed on the front of the home only.

Select the gutter material that you will be installing and the style. The most common are vinyl, and aluminum styled gutters are available in the “K” or “U’ shape configuration. The only real difference between the two is the “K” style gutter is deeper and capable of handling more water displacement. Learn how to clean gutters without a ladder here. 

After measuring and planning, you will need tools and materials to hang your new gutters.

Gutter Installation Tools that Mostly Needed?

  •         Cordless drill
  •         Extension ladder(s)
  •         35’ tape measure
  •         Inexpensive tool belt
  •         Chalk line
  •         Carpenter level
  •         Hacksaw or miter-compound saw with a fine-tooth blade

The best gutter cleaning tools needed will depend on the gutters that you are installing. Vinyl gutters are easier to cut and hang and may require only a few simple tools such as a hacksaw to cut to proper lengths.

Note: The following gutter installation guide will detail installing vinyl gutters on the front of your home, which is one of the least expensive and easiest to install by DIYers. Follow the same gutter installation detailed for the front of your home for the remaining sections of your home’s roof adding vinyl corners and additional downspout drops as needed for installation of roof gutters around the entire roof perimeter of your home.

Material needed to include in Gutter Installation:

  •         Vinyl gutters, sold in 10’ lengths
  •         Vinyl downspouts sold in 10’ lengths
  •         2-3 vinyl elbows for downspouts
  •         Two vinyl endcaps
  •         Gutter vinyl flashing
  •         Gutter sealant
  •         Gutter vinyl hanging straps. Installed every three feet per vinyl gutter run
  •         2” rust-resistant screws
  •         Optional vinyl gutter guard (More about this later)

Take your rough drawing to your local home improvement store. They will be able to determine the exact amount of material required with recommendations with possible money-saving ideas.

Types of Gutters

Four types of gutters are commonly used today: vinyl, aluminum, stainless steel, and seamless. 

Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl gutters are lightweight, inexpensive, extremely durable, and easy to install. Vinyl gutters come in many colors to match the exterior of your home and are virtually maintenance-free. Vinyl gutters are rust-proof and the right choice for tight budgets fitting perfectly into a variety of climates.

Aluminum Gutters

These gutters remain cost-effective and available in several different gauges of thickness. The gauge of thickness determines the overall strength of the gutter. Aluminum gutters are installed in 10-foot sections or seamless in one continuous run. Aluminum gutters are slightly harder to install and cut with an average higher price per linear foot when compared to vinyl gutters.

Stainless Steel Gutters

Stainless steel gutters are perhaps the most expensive but remain the sturdiest of all available gutters. Depending on the thickness or gauge, these gutters are harder to cut to specific lengths and may require specialized cutting tools for accurate cuts. Some periodic maintenance may be required.

Seamless Gutters

Seamless rain gutters require less maintenance and less likely to develop leaks due to their seamless construction. Seamless gutters are installed in one continuous run without seams or connecting joints. Hanging seamless gutters requires the assistance of one or more helpers to install. These gutters are only available in either aluminum or stainless steel.

Steps to Installing Your Own Rain Gutters

Depending on your comfort level using basic tools, it is recommended to join the sections of your new gutter system on the ground. Making connections on the ground might be more comfortable, but it is also considered harder to install but make the overall gutter installation go much faster. Making gutter connections on the ground will also depend on the type of material of your new rain gutter system. The vinyl gutter system may be easier to install in 10-foot lengths with or without the assistance of another individual.


Step1 Preparation

Start at the end of the gutter away from the downspout location and measure down ½” from the roof drip edge, or the distance recommended by the gutter manufacturer, and make a mark. Move to the other end of the gutter run and measure down the same length. The two scores should be perfectly level. Adjust scores if need to maintain a consistent level across the entire fascia. 

At the downspout end, measure down 1/16” for every 10 feet of vinyl gutter run or approximately ½” per 10-foot of the gutter and make another mark. As an example, if the entire gutter run is 30 feet, marking down from the original ½” mark would be a total of 1-1/4″ from the drip edge of the roof at the opposite end. (1/2” original mark + ¾” ( ½” per total gutter run length= 1-1/4”).

Step 2 Determining Proper Slope

Using your chalk line snap a chalk line from the ½” downspout end of the roof measurement to 1-1/4” measurement at the opposite end. This should produce an overall slope or fall of approximately ¾” total drop or fall for water to run, which is a typical standard drop. This snapped chalk line will be your guideline for the installation of the gutter hangars and provide a reference point to keep your new gutter system at the proper slope.

Step 3 Installing Vinyl Gutter Hangars

Install the vinyl drop at the lower end of the gutter run. This drop typically has a connection for the downspouts which will be installed later in the installation process. Install all gutter vinyl hangars 24-30 inches apart along the entire run.

Align and fasten all vinyl hangars with the chalk line as a reference point to maintain proper fall or slope of all gutters. Adjust hangars as needed for uneven measurements with the spacing of vinyl hangars not to exceed the maximum of 24-30 inches apart.

Note:  Place gutter drops for downspouts near the end of a garage wall or the end of your home. When downspouts are installed, you will want a clean appearance that places the downspouts within close distances to the end of a wall and not sticking halfway down the center of a wall.

Step 4 Gutter Installation

Starting at the downspout end of the gutter run, lay a 10 feet section of vinyl gutter on the gutter supporting straps. Snap one end of the vinyl gutter into the downspout drop. Snap the remainder of the gutter run into the rest of the vinyl gutter brackets.

When joining sections, thoroughly apply the gutter sealing compound on one end of the already installed gutter section. Snap the end of the next 10-foot vinyl gutter section into the vinyl gutter connector wiping off excess sealing compound with a rag.

When approaching the end of the run, measure from the gutter connector the to end of the fascia. It is a good idea to allow for a little extra length to have the last piece of gutter to hang approximately one inch over the end of the roofline.

Place gutter sealant on the final connector and vinyl end cap. Place the vinyl end cap onto the last piece of the gutter run. It is always good to seal all gutter connectors from the inside of the gutters for additional leakproof connection.

Install gutter flashing. These are made of high-grade aluminum with placement under the last row of shingles on the roof.  Gutter flashings have a curved end that is placed into the gutter to prevent water from running behind the gutter.

A Better Option

Instead of using gutter flashing, vinyl leaf guards are a viable alternative that solves the problem of moisture running behind the gutters. Gutter flashings keep your newly installed gutters free of debris. These leaf and gutter guards are easy to install and fit under the last row on shingles on your roof and snap firmly into place on the gutters. Leaves and other debris blow off and do not collect inside your new gutters keeping water flowing freely.

Leaf or gutter guards are highly recommended and worth the slight increase in material cost. Color-coordinated to match your new gutters the addition of these leaf guards adds a professional-looking finishing touch to your new gutter installation that is very noticeable.

Step 5 Downspout Installation

Install a 45-degree vinyl elbow facing the wall, to the bottom of the gutter drop. Place another 45-degree vinyl elbow on the end of the downspout facing out. Hold the downspout against the wall and measure the distance from elbow to elbow. Cut the appropriate length and install into each end of the elbows.

Once a final determination has been made to the placement of the downspout, mount the downspout brackets to the wall. Place downspout brackets every 18-inches as needed and fasten with the appropriate length of rust-proof screws. Cut downspout off at the top of the foundation wall. Add another elbow facing out while adding another section of downspout pipe to drain rainwater away from your house.

Permanently secure all downspout connections with self-taping, color-coordinated ¼” or ½” sheet metal screws with your battery-operated cordless drill.

This section of DIY gutter installation is one that is the most problematic for many homeowners. No one expects perfection the first time. This may take some additional planning to perfect but remains one of the most critical parts of the gutter installation that will present a clean and professional-looking installation.

Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid choosing the wrong size gutter. The depth of your new gutters is crucial in handling all amounts of rainfall from occasional showers to downpours. Gutters that cannot handle large amounts of water will result in overflows leaving the water at the foundation of your home. Consider a deeper gutter than needed. Both “K” and “U” styled gutters are capable of handling large amounts of heavy rainfall.

Don’t Ignore the Pitch

Rainwater is not going to drain from your newly installed gutters if the pitch or fall is incorrect. This is a common problem when installing your own gutters. Allow between ¼” and ½” per 10-feet of gutter towards the downspouts for professional results. Gutters should never be level.  Make periodic checks during installation to confirm that the proper slop or fall is maintained.

Improper Spacing

Proper spacing of the gutter mounting and supporting bracket is crucial for proper installation that will remain in place for many years. Ice buildup and snow buildup place a tremendous amount of weight and pressure on gutters. Improperly spaced and installed gutter brackets will loosen with this additional weight and may even fall off your home. In snow and ice conditions, place the gutter mounting brackets closer together at 2-feet instead of the traditional thirty inches.

Never place gutter support and mounting brackets more than three feet apart under any conditions.

How to Install Rain Gutters with No Facia Board

Although rare, some homes have no fascia board.  No fascia board is an integral part of remote vacation cabins that want to retain the more traditional rustic look. Over time gutter installation may be needed to divert heavy rainfalls.

Installing gutters with no fascia is as stated above with one exception, the use of metal brackets.  Metal gutter brackets attach to either the outside or the inside lip of the gutters when no fascia board is present. These clips are then fastened directly to the tails of the roof trusses. There are a few different models of these straps available; however, all models are designed to make gutter installation on homes with no fascia board simplified.

Gutter Replacement

Replacing old, outdated gutters on your home will drastically improve your home’s curb appeal. Removing old gutters is accomplished with the use of a hammer and a little “persuasion”:

First, remove all old downspouts. These may be screwed together with self-tapping screws that are easy to remove.

Next, unscrew the gutter brackets from the fascia board with your battery-operated drill with the appropriate screwdriver bit, usually a Philips bit. The old gutters should begin to fall off. Be careful not to let old gutters fall against widows or home siding.

Inspect fascia board for possible rot or deterioration before installing your choice of new gutters.

Once all old gutters are removed, follow the steps for new gutter installation outlined above. It is as simple as that.

How Much Does it Cost to Install Rain Gutters?

The average residential home has anywhere from 120-250 feet of rain gutters. Newly constructed homes with sprawling roofs could easily double this figure, hence the reasoning for installing rain gutters on only the front of the house.

Installation of Gutters

Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl or at times referred to as PVC gutters cost on an average of $3-$5 per linear foot or about $360-$600 for 120 feet and $750-$1,250 for 250 feet professionally installed. DIY materials cost approximately $50-$100 for 120 feet and $90-$180 for 250 feet. These costs will vary to some degree, depending on the area where you live.

Aluminum Gutters 

Professionally installed aluminum gutters average about $4-$9 per foot plus $5-$8 for each downspout installed. This equates to $500-$1,200 for 120 feet and $1,050-$2,400 for 250 feet of rain gutters. DIY materials for aluminum gutters cost on an average of $350-$500 for 120 feet and $450-$850 for 250 feet. Multiply this by a minimum of two to three times for gutter installation around the entire perimeter of homes built less than ten years ago with 8-10-degree roof pitches.

Stainless Steel

Installation of stainless-steel gutters by professionals is similar to overall costs of professionally installed aluminum gutters. Stainless steel gutters will run an average of $4-$8 dollars per foot professionally installed. This translates into $500-1,000 for 120 feet and $1,000-$2,000 for 250 feet. Steel runs between $8-$10 per foot or $960-1,200 for 120 feet and $2,000-$2,500 for 250 feet. Today, steel gutters are averaging $20 per foot in some areas. Stainless steel gutters remain one of the most expensive of all the gutters available today.

Facts and accurate figures represent an alarming fact in savings between $360-$1,250 for DIY vinyl gutter installation.

In Summation

Installing gutters on a home is one of the most common DIY home projects. Installation of rain gutters is not as difficult as one would imagine, requiring only a little patience and an understanding of the installation process. 

On average, installing new gutters on your home can be completed in one day depending on the number of new rain gutters that need to be installed. Installing rain gutters does not require a college degree or years of professional experience. A little common sense with a willing winning attitude to get the job done correctly goes a long way when installing your gutters.

Upon completion, you will be amazed at the professional-looking results with a newfound appreciation for skills that you thought you never had. Save your money and spend a little time taking pride in homeownership when installing new or replacing old rain gutters on your home.

The post How to Install Gutters-Gutter Installation and Replacement appeared first on Leaf Gutter Guards.

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