If you need to place or replace gutters on your home, it is not necessary to hire an expensive contractor. Gutters are an item that, with a little guidance, you can install on your own. If you have a "do it yourself" mentality and take proper safety precautions, you can have those gutters up in no time. You can purchase the necessary materials, essentially just the gutters and brackets to hold them, at your local hardware store or online.
Fitting The Brackets
If you are putting up new guttering, you should start at the drain into which the water from the downpipe will flow. Get up a ladder above this drain and, using a plumb line, mark the position of the gutter outlet, straight above the drain, on the fascia board. The next stage is to fit the gutter outlet on the fascia board close to the top. The guttering will need to have a fall to that outlet at the rate of 25mm every 15m, so allow for that in fixing the height of the outlet on the board. If you fix it tight against the eave, the water will not be able to flow down the gutter into the downpipe.
Now fix a gutter bracket at the other end of the fascia board. This is the bracket that will regulate the fall, so you need to do the sums. Measure the full length between the end of the fascia board and the gutter outlet â don't worry â a ground level measurement is sufficiently accurate. From this work out the position of this second bracket. Multiply your length, in metres, by 1.6 (this is the millimetre fall required for one metre) So, if you have 8.3 metres, you multiply 8.3 by 1.6, which equals 13.28. Even it up or down to a sensible amount -15mm or 1.5 centimetres would be fine. Having done this slightly complicated sum, place the gutter bracket on the fascia board 15mm higher than the gutter outlet. Run a string between the 2 brackets â make it taut. This string is the line along which you place the other brackets. They should be about 3 feet apart for plastic or UPV guttering, but should be more frequent if you are using the heavier aluminium guttering.
If your guttering is in standard lengths, they fit together at the ends. If some of the lengths need to be cut, do this with a hacksaw, ensuring that you have a straight, clean edge. It is easier to saw if you fix a loose bracket to each side of the cut before you start. This keeps it rigid. You can buy joints for raw ends of guttering which clip on in the same way as brackets and have a rubber seal.
When you are ready, lay the first length of guttering along the brackets, push its back edge up close to the eave and clip it into the rear of the brackets along its whole length. Once it is secured along the back, clip it into the front of every bracket. The next length is fitted in the same way but is slotted into the first length. Don't push it in the whole way â the guttering needs to be able to expand slightly in very hot weather. Make sure that the rubber seal is firmly compressed.
Once the guttering is firmly in place, you are ready to attach the downpipe. If the hole in the gutter outlet drops straight down to the drain, you are lucky. All you need do is measure the required length of downpipe, attach it to the wall with brackets, one at the top, one in the middle and one at the bottom â more if your wall is higher than a single storey - fit the top of the pipe into the outlet socket, and fit a shoe â a piece of piping designed to divert water flow - to the bottom of the pipe where it enters the drain.
If however, your house has wide, overhanging eaves, you will need to fit an offset to give the necessary kink in the pipe. This will normally have 2 bends, each of 45 degrees, and a length of pipe between. Further short lengths of pipe are added to either end and these are fitted into the outlet and into the top of the downpipe.
Start by hanging a plumb line through the hole in the outlet. Fit a length of downpipe to the wall with a temporary bracket. If there are two of you, this is not necessary â just hold the pipe against the wall. Measure the distance from the plumb line to the downpipe. This is how much your offset needs to cover. Assemble the pieces of the offset, a combination of bends and short pieces of pipe, on the ground before trying to fit it all together. Once you have checked that the offset will work, cement the joints together, and fit a bracket to hold the bottom of the offset against the wall before fitting the downpipe. Now just wait for the rain!
Where Can I Find Gutter Supplies?
Your first option for buying gutters should be your local hardware store. They can usually offer you additional guidance as to what you should buy, and then you don't have to wait for shipping as you would with an online retailer. Of course, if your gutter need is not urgent, then by shopping online you might be able to shave a couple dollars off of the total price tag. The choice is yours depending on your needs and budget.
You may be surprised to learn that Amazon, yes the Amazon that was once a bookstore, sells both gutters and the tools necessary to insall them. They are usually sold in packs of 10 (or multiples of 10), and cost about $10 per gutter ($100 for a pack). Prices will vary slightly based on materials, as galvanized steel is a bit more expensive than aluminum. You will have to wait for them to ship your gutters, but the prices might be well worth it.