What to Know About Installing Gutters
Installing your own gutters is a DIY effort that can save you heaps of money versus hiring a professional. It does take time and effort, and if this is your first gutter system, it might take a little longer to get the hang of installing gutter runs and fitting together downspout pieces.
But don’t sweat the process because even for beginners, installing gutters is relatively easy. What you save on labor you should spend on quality materials. So, let’s get started—here’s what you should know:
Save yourself on the countless trips to the hardware store by planning ahead. Draw a sketch of your house before heading out to buy your materials, that way, you know how many of each gutter system piece you’ll need. Here’s what you’ll need to focus on:
- The number and length of each gutter run
- The downspout locations, their height, plus an additional 4 feet
- The number of inside and outside corners and end caps
- The number of elbows needed per downspout—each downspout requires three, and there are two types of elbows; determine if you need front of side elbows
Once you’ve got your materials, it’s time for some pre-assembly. It’s actually easier to assemble your gutter sections on the ground than it is to attempt this while on top of a ladder. Caulk and rivet the gutter parts together, lapping all seams from 2-4 inches. When splicing gutter sections, try to place the more attractive factory-cut ends on the outside, and overlap sections so the inside piece is facing downhill to prevent the water from leaking out of an uneven seam.
First, you’ll need to establish the slope. Your gutters will empty water based on how many downspouts you have and their size, but sloping your gutters prevents standing water, a culprit of corrosion and seam leakage. You’ll slope your gutters toward your downspouts about a quarter-of-an-inch for every 10-feet of gutter. Sloping will ensure your gutter system functions properly.
You won’t want to forget the flashing when installing or replacing your gutters. Flashing is essential in preventing water from running behind your gutters, which can cause a whole mess of problems. Without it, you’re looking at water damage within your roofing system, and for you, that means costly repairs. When you insert flashing, it should ideally fit under the shingles and roofing paper or water/ice barrier. You can usually get pre-bent flashing from a local hardware store or home center that will do the trick.
Here’s what to know when you go to replace, upgrade, and install your new gutter system: don’t skimp on the gutter hangers. It’s an easy-to-do step that will offer extra support and strength to your gutter runs, ensuring that your hard work is in it for the long haul.
Install hidden gutter hangers every 2 feet on your gutter system to give support to its front edge. These hangers are made to slip over the gutter’s rear edge, but sometimes installation will cover this part with the flashing. Instead, you can hold the hangers level and drive the screws through the flashing, securing the gutter into the fascia.
The downspouts are a crucial part of your gutter system. They’re what direct the water away from your house, protecting it from water damage and standing water. When you screw the elbows together to the downspout outlets, allow for 1.5-inch overlap at each end. You’ll find that each length of gutter, as well as these elbows, are crimped. This makes it easier to fit the pieces together. You can find inexpensive crimping tools to do this job when you reach this downspout installation.
It’s easier to hang the downspouts when they’re attached to the wall of your house. U-shaped brackets will do the job, and if you can’t find them at your hardware store for whatever reason, you can actually make your own from the sections of your downspout yourself, with a hacksaw blade or circular saw.
Your Gutters Are as Good as Your Long-Term Care
You probably see this tip coming from a mile away: take care of your gutters and they’ll take care of you. That means cleaning them twice a year—or if you totally dread this chore, hire someone else to do the job professionally. Cleaning your gutters regularly (at least twice a year) can resolve common gutter system problems, too, like backed-up gutters and clogged downspouts. You’ll extend the lifetime of your gutter system, protect your roofing system and thus your home, and you can avoid having to install new gutters altogether.
Speaking of professional, you don’t have to install gutters yourself, either. If this project isn’t your thing, there’s a gutter installation company out there who’d be more than happy to install a new system for you. It beats the hassle of plotting out gutter runs, end caps, downspouts, and gathering all the necessary tools. Many gutter companies offer seamless gutters, which eliminates seams in your gutters completely for a cleaner look and more effective channel.
Are your gutters are old due to wear and tear and in need of a replacement? At Feldco Roofing we utilize the best in products and service. Get a free quote right now and see why so many homeowners count on us.