Installing Gutters Yourself

If you’re a devoted do-it-yourselfer, when you need new gutters the obvious choice is to DIY. You’re confident that you can do a good job. Perhaps it won’t be on par with a gutter installation company with a 3-person crew. But you’ll save money while crossing off a major accomplishment on your home improvement list. To make your DIY project go as smoothly as possible, here are some tips for installing gutters yourself.

Choose a gutter system you can handle.

In order to decide what type of gutters you should purchase, take into consideration the annual average rainfall for your location, the size of your roof, architectural style, and the number of stories.

It can get confusing with such a wide variety of gutter materials, profiles, sizes, gauges, and thicknesses. Select the highest quality you can afford – whatever gutter material you choose, the thicker the vinyl or higher the gauge of aluminum will help extend the lifespan of your gutters.

In addition to being the least expensive, a vinyl gutter system is a popular choice for DIY gutter installations because it’s lightweight and easy to handle. Depending on the gauge, aluminum gutters generally last longer than a vinyl gutter system, but they can be dented easily both in transportation and during the gutter installation process.

For those who DIY, aluminum seamless gutters aren’t an option unless you own or have access to a seamless gutter machine. A gutter material you might want to skip is copper – copper gutters are expensive, require specialized installation techniques, and can be heavy to manage when on a ladder, depending on the length of the gutter section.

Correctly calculate the pitch.

From the ground, gutters look like they run in a straight line on an even level. But gutters should have a slight pitch so that rainwater is directed toward the downpipes. If the pitch is calculated incorrectly, it can cause problems such as standing water or overflowing gutters. To determine the proper pitch for your gutters, based on a ¼ inch of slope for every 10 feet of guttering, measure the gutter from one corner to the other; divide the number by 10; then multiply it by .25 (you can round it out to the nearest inch) – that will give you the total amount of pitch needed, from the beginning of one run to the end.

Ensure that there is enough support with the proper spacing.

A gutter system is typically attached to the fascia by a type of mounting system or hangers. If you’re using brackets, for example, they need to be spaced evenly, about every three feet. Sagging can occur if gutter sections don’t have enough support to prevent them from pulling away from the fascia.

Gutters need to be positioned properly beneath the roofline.

When gutters are secured in the wrong place, the rainwater coming off the roof can slide between the back of the gutter and the fascia. It might also overshoot the gutters. Gutters need to be positioned several inches underneath the roofline. This will ensure that the water will fall directly into the gutter channel.

Your gutter system might need more than one downspout.

A general guideline for working out how many downspouts you might need is one for every 25’ to 30’ of gutter. To ensure the downpipes can handle the volume of water flowing through the gutter system also consider: the size of the roof (roof area), the slope of the roof, size of the gutters, and the climate.