Common DIY Gutter Installation Mistakes

Even when you’ve invested in quality materials, are confident about your DIY skills, and created a gutter installation plan complete with one or two layout drawings, a gutter system must be installed correctly to work properly. If installing gutters is the next DIY project on your list, avoid making these common gutter installation mistakes.

Wrong Gutter Material

Some homeowners will be drawn to the gutter material that looks good and is the cheapest. While appearance and cost are two criteria in choosing the material for your gutters, other factors should be considered as well. Choose the gutter material best suited to the climate, the architectural style of your home, and how much time and effort will be required to maintain it.

Wrong Size

Gutters that are too large unnecessarily raise the cost of the installation. Upgrading to a 6” or 7” gutter when you only need standard 5” guttering can also compromise the esthetics of a home. Too small, you run the risk of constantly overflowing gutters. Gutter size should be based on the annual rainfall for your local region.


In the process of installing gutters, several major calculations are required.

  • How much – number of linear feet of guttering
  • How many – number of downpipes and the proper placement
  • How many – number of hangers and their appropriate spacing
  • Pitch or slope – the amount of downward angle needed to direct water toward the downspouts

Any miscalculations can negatively impact the gutter installation, jeopardizing the longevity and functionality of the gutter system.


While the gutters should gently slope downward, the gutter section itself should be level. A common installation mistake is to install the gutter with a slight tilt, either toward the front or back.


Another often-seen installation mistake by contractors is the position of the gutter too close to the roofline. Gutters should hang several inches below the edge of the roof. This allows runoff to enter the gutter system and flow into the channel and toward the downspouts. When the gutters are installed up too high, there is the danger of water being pushed back and then spilling over the sides.

Too Many Seams

While gutter sections that are too long can be difficult for the do-it-yourselfer to handle, the number of seams should be kept to a minimum. Wherever two gutter sections are joined together, there is the potential for leaks. Too many seams weaken the gutter system’s ability to protect your home from water damage.