Installing and replacing gutters

ROOFING & Gutters & singles installation

Modify your standard gutters with less joints for a stronger assembly. This will not only improve their stability and performance by keeping the water flowing, but will also make them look better as well.

Here is a list of the tools that you will be needing

  • Crimper
  • Extension ladder
  • Offset snips (tin)
  • Rivet gun
  • Portable drill
  • Duckbill snips (tin)
  • Hex head driver

Materials that you will need are as follows

  • Elbows
  • Gutter flashing
  • Gutter sealant
  • Downspouts
  • Gutter
  • Hanging strap for gutters
  • 1/8 inch rivets
  • 1 1/4″ hex head screws (self-tapping)
  • 1/4″ hex head screws (zippers)

You can get the fully designed gutter system from any home center. But with a small amount of effort, you can do design a system that is far better in terms of strength as well as design.

Planning the replacement project for your gutter:

If you do this project yourself instead of getting professional help it is a lot cheaper. But there are a number of things that you need to look for. Identify any rotten wood on your fascia and replace it before the replacement of gutters. Make sure that the wood is in the form of a plane where you are going to install the new gutter system. It is also a good practice to paint the plane before.

A complete sketch of house with measurements:

Another thing that you need to is to lay down the whole plan on paper where the gutter is going to be installed. Note all the points where you will be putting elbows as well as the height of the downspouts. Once you have the measurement add at least 4 feet so that you can also add an extension to take the water away from your house. 

For every downspout, you will need 3 elbows. The elbows are either front facing or facing to the side. Although you can work with forward facing but there are chances that you might need a side facing as well. Few tips that will come in handy while planning are as follows:

  • Downspouts should be installed in areas with no barriers so that the water can flow away from house without any problems.
  • If the areas that need to be drained are very large or your area gets torrential rains, then you should always install 3×4 inch downspouts.
  • The gutters that run 40 feet or above should be sloped from both ends with a downspout on each end.
  • If your house does not has vertical fascia then you will also need mounting straps for roof hangers.

Detail of parts and mountings:

Here is a step by step guide on how you can prepare your gutters for winter and fall seasons.

Step 1

Always avoid working on heights because it increases the hazards for you. Instead of following the manufacturer recommendations of putting all parts together and then using seam cover to cover joints, if better to run all seams to around 4 inches. Now cut both ends using tin snips. Put a bend in the gutter and remove the bottom.

Step 2

In order to join the corner piece, put a cut on the front lip with the help of tin snips. The notch should be at least 2 inches long.

Step 3

Spread the sealant on the corner and leave 1.5 inches from edges. Snap the notch of the corner on the gutter.

Step 4

Put six rivets on the corner to join it to the gutter. First drill a hole of about 0.13 inches on the front to install the rivet using rivet gun and then move on to drilling the rest of the holes to install rivets.

Step 5

Put gutter sealant on the inside of the seam to completely seal it. Also put some sealant on the rivets as well.

Step 6

Use the process mentioned in step 2 to join different the gutter pieces but now, you should overlap 4 inches of pieces over each other. Try to keep the best looking piece that has been factory cut on the front to make it look better. You should also take care the rain gutters inner section faces downhill so that the water is not pushed out of the seam.

Also if you want to catch the water from the shingles, extend the end of the gutter about an inch from the fascia. Now join the end caps using rivets and use sealant to seal the joints.

Step 7

Measure the length from house’s corner to the center of the location where the downspout will be. Use this dimension to cut a downspout in the outlet. On bottom side of gutter, mark the middle of the outlet of downspout. Trace the inside with flange facing downward on the center of the outlet. Use an old chisel for starting hole and the use tin snips to cut a v-shaped notch. You can use 2 scraps on the sides to provide support while chiseling.

Step 8

Use offset snip for cutting the outlet hole. Cut at least 1/16 inch outside line.

Step 9

Force the outlet in the hole and drill for rivets. Now take off the outlet, use gutter sealant on the opening. Place it back and then put rivets in. 

Step 10

The drainage of the gutters depends on the number of downspouts that you are using as well as their sizes. In order for effective drainage, always slope them. For every 10 feet gutter, you need to slope at least 1/4 inch downspout. If the boards that are on the fascia are levelled perfectly, you can use them for reference of gutter slopes. You can use a level on the lower edge. In case they are not level, you can use a string line.  

Step 11

Put a nail about 0.5 inch below the shingle on the upper side of the gutter, then measure the distance from the nail to the bottom side of fascia. Keep subtracting 1/4 inch after ever 10 feet gutter from the measurement that you have taken and then mark the distance on the bottom end of gutter. Hammer a nail here as well and then make a line using a chalk between both the nails. Use the string again to make a slope with the bubble to the high side. In the end, mark a line on fascia board by snapping the string.

Step 12

Use 1-1/4 inches stainless steel hex metal screws to screw the backside of the gutter with the fascia. The screws should be two feet apart. 

Step 13

Use metal gutter flashing apron under the shingles as well as on the back edge of gutter, so that the water does not run behind the gutters. You can easily get this sheet bent from a metal fabricator or an aluminum contractor if you can’t find it at the local hardware store. The ideal location of this flashing is under shingles and roofing paper or between the ice-water barriers. Use on inch roofing nails to secure the flashing under shingles. The sheet should be two inches wide with nails two feet apart.

Step 14

Now that you have screwed the gutters, it’s time for the installation of gutter hanger. Hangers should also be two feet apart for increased strength and more support for the gutters. The hangers can be easily slipped over the rear gutter edge. But as this end has already been covered with flashing, screws should be driven from the back end and then through the flashing to the fascia.

In order to use the large screws that come with the hangers, avoid applying pressure while driving them to make holes. Once the hole has been made, then lean forward to put pressure on the drill.

Step 15

The process for 3×4 inch elbows is the same as the one for 2×3 inch standard downspout. The ends should be crimped and facing down while assembling the elbows so that the water does not leak from the joints. Instead of rivets, use sheet metal screws so that disassembling is easier when needed. Once you have screwed an elbow, hold another to measure the distance between both elbows. Only 1.5 inch overlap should be there. You can cut this length using a hacksaw. The downspout tubing can be cut with a 32 tooth hacksaw. 

Step 16

Use a sheet metal crimper to crimp an end of the downspout of shorter length. Hold the crimper with the inside of the tube between the three blades on it and then squeeze it. Crimp thrice on longer edges and two times on narrower edges. Attach two elbows on this section of the downspout using 2 sheet hex metal screws of 1/4 inches.

Step 17

After you have crimped or squeezed one end of the pieces as well as gutters and elbows, fit them together. As the downspouts that are of 10 feet lengths have been crimped on a single side, use any other crimped cutoff piece to fit it inside the next elbow or the downspout section.

You need to use a sheet metal crimper for crimping the short lengths on one side. Repeat the step 16 using the crimper.

Step 18

Now attach all the downspouts to the wall. Use screws on brackets and the assembled downspout. In order to complete assembly, add a downspout tube on the lower elbow so that the water is directed away from the base.

Step 19

In order to extend the life of your gutters, you need proper maintenance. It is advised to clean the gutters at least twice every year. You can also hire specialists for cleaning and maintenance of the gutters as well. 

This will add years to the gutters life.

Step 20

You can easily find the 10 feet gutter lengths from your local hardware store as well as all the accessories and downspouts. They come in brown and white colors. All the accessories, elbows and corners are also available. Always buy gutter sealants that are of the highest quality to avoid any leakages or problems in the future. You can find it 10 oz. caulk guns as well as in small tubes that are like toothpaste tubes.

With the help of the steps mentioned above, you can easily install your own gutters. A number of companies will also visit your home and sell you all the accessories as well. With a little extra money, you can also choose a number of colors for eliminating seams in the gutter runs as well. It will also save your time that you would have spent on finding the accessories yourself.


  • Aisha Nazir

    Aisha Nazir, a highly skilled freelance web developer, web designer, and SEO expert, stands as a luminary in the digital realm. Currently serving as the Chief Developer at SRS Roofing & Exterior, she is also a proficient content writer, blogger, and YouTuber. A gold medalist in MSCS from MAJU, Aisha combines technical excellence with a creative touch, ensuring pixel-perfect design and user-friendly interfaces. Renowned for her expertise in digital marketing, she goes beyond conventional boundaries to optimize online experiences.

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