Just as white blood cells protect us from disease, your gutters protect your roof from disaster. The gutters and downspouts attached to your roof are two of the most important, yet most overlooked components of the home. Sadly, if either are improperly installed or damaged, you are left with a very large repair bill.
Moreover, gutter installation costs are not cheap. According to our gutter installation cost estimator, the average price to install gutters is $827. As always, one way to eliminate much of this cost to install the gutters yourself. It’s a fairly involved project, but one many homeowners can accomplish.
Continue reading to see how to install gutters on your own.
What Gutters To Buy
Before you start such a project, you need to know how much material to buy. Before you head to the store, go outside and measure the outside of your roof. You will need this number as they help you choose the best material for your roof.
In general, gutters are sold in prefabricated lengths of five, 10 or 15 feet. Downspouts also come in various sizes to best fit your roof.
More often than not, homeowners choose metal for their gutters. Galvanized steel and aluminum are the most popular. They do great against rain, snow and hail. Even better, they can cost as little as $7 for 10’ of material.
Some homeowners, on the other hand, prefer vinyl and/or copper. Both are very durable and stronger than metal. But beware, each could cost up to five times more per section.
How To Install Gutters
The following steps should be used to install aluminum gutters.
- Measure the distance needed for each gutter.
- Measure the trim board or fascia, which will be behind the gutter.
- Make sure you measure around your entire roof before your purchase materials.
- Keep in mind, you will need multiple pieces around each corner.
- Make sure you have purchased long enough gutters to surround the entire roof. You will most likely have to cut a few pieces for the ends and corners.
Prepare the Gutters
- Moving over to your gutters, you must first install the end caps. This way, water will run towards your downspout and not down the other side. You can buy an end cap at the store.
- Add some sealant to the end cap and gently hold against the gutter.
- For extra strength, you can use small nails or a crimping tool as well.
- Measure the length of your first gutter and cut it if you have to. The store can recommend the best cutting tool based on your chosen material.
- Take your corner piece and put both together, but do not attach. Make sure the length of the two gutters match the length needed. The lengths do not have to be exact as the gutter will expand and contract due to weather.
- Add some sealant to the inside of your corner gutter and press the two together.
- Use a drill and drill a few small holes to connect the two pieces. You can use small nails or rivets, which are primarily used to hold two pieces of metal together.
- Next, we need a big hole for the downspout.
- Drill a large hole in the trough or bottom of the gutter. Some like to use a hole saw.
- Attach an outlet or metal surrounding to the hole using sealant and a few rivets.
Connect Gutter to the Fascia
- Hold the gutter up to the desired location and make sure it fits smoothly.
- Before fully attaching the gutter, you have to make sure the gutter has a pitch or slopes downward to make sure water runs towards the downspout.
- Also, make sure the gutter is a little below the roof. There should be a small drop from the roof to the gutter.
- Attach the highest end of the gutter, or section farthest away from the downspout, first.
- Measure from the bottom of the gutter to the bottom of the fascia.
- Head to the other end of the gutter. Make sure the distance to the bottom of the fascia is less (half an inch) than the other side. Now you know water will flow towards the downspout.
- Use your gutter-mounting brackets and long nails to connect the gutter to the house or rafter tails.
- You should notice nails or bumps in the fascia board. Install your brackets right above these bumps (think of a stud).
Connect the Downspout
- Attach the elbow joints for the pieces that connect the gutter and the downspout. You can use some sealant or rivets to help.
- Some homeowners add brackets to the downspout to make sure they are flush with the wall.
- Make sure the downspout faces away from the foundation.
- For extra security, attach a PVC pipe at the end of your downspout. This way, water will flow farther away from the home.
Installing your own gutters can save up to $800. However, know that your gutters can have a profound effect on the lifespan of your roof. If you’re not comfortable handling such a job, I highly recommend calling a local roofing pro near you.
To see how it’s all done, please see our friends over at This Old House.