Rain gutters are crucial to many properties as they collect and remove rainwater, ensuring no soil erosion around your property or unexpected leaks into your crawlspace or basement.
While you should always hire a professional to install gutters, it’s beneficial to understand the process. This way, you’ll be able to determine whether the process is being done effectively or if you might run into problems further down the line. When you hire an experienced, professional, and reputable contractor, you won’t find any flaws in the installation process. Without further ado, let’s look at the rain gutter installation process.
How to Install Gutters
Installing gutters is a technical process that requires knowledge, skill, experience, and certain tools. While each professional might make use of their methods and preferences, the gutter installation process should include the following steps:
First things first, it’s vital to prepare the surface. Before any of the hard work starts, it’s crucial to map out the project and outline the various steps that will be taken.
It’s vital to include how the old or existing gutters will be removed and the materials needed for the next system. During this stage, the contractor will also plan the slope line to ensure the gutters drain properly. The ideal slope will depend on several factors, including how many feet the gutter runs for.
Lastly, the professional will plan a day and time to carry out the project. They are likely to choose a day with dry weather. You might think that the preparation process is unnecessary; however, this is the best way to ensure the project runs smoothly, there are no unexpected expenses, and to reduce the possibility of mistakes or accidents.
2. Develop a Plan
Preparation and planning are two different things. When developing a plan, the technician will sketch a complete design plan, taking note of the gutter’s length and the positioning of any end caps and outside corners. The gutter must be attached to the fascia and run the entire roof length up to the downspout outlet.
Shorter gutter runs can slope to the left or right into a single gutter. However, if the gutter run needs to be longer than 40 feet, it should be positioned to pitches down from the center with downspouts on both ends. The contractor must correct these measurements to ensure the downspouts extend beyond the house.
Each downspout needs three elbows. Elbows give the downspout range of motion and enable them to turn to the side or front. All downspouts must be strategically located to ensure water can quickly and safely travel away from your property without coming into contact with electric outputs or meters.
During this stage, the professional will also take necessary safety precautions and ensure the area is safe.
3. Inspect the Existing Fascia
It needs to be in good condition to attach the metal gutters to the fascia. This means there shouldn’t be any decay or rot. Generally, this can be determined by poking the ends of the fascia boards or the area where two boards meet.
The boards must be replaced if they’re visibly damaged, spongy, or soft. Failure to do this will negatively impact the entire gutter installation process.
Rotting is often caused by old gutters, in which case there’s no problem with using wood fascia. However, if any other factor caused the rotting, vinyl or aluminum fascia might be a better option, as this will withstand any moisture from harsh weather conditions. A professional contractor can examine the area and decide on the best material for the job.
4. Mark the Layout Lines and Slope
Now, the manual labor can start. Always start by marking the layout of the new gutters on the fascia. Mark the slope’s highest point for each run by lightly tapping a nail into the area. This point should be approximately 1 1/4 inches down for the metal drip-edge flashing.
Depending on the downspout location, marking the lower end of the gutter rub is vital. When marking this, it’s crucial to consider the gutter’s slope – for every 10 feet of the gutter, there needs to be a minimum vertical drop of at least 1/4 inches. A simple way to measure the slope is by attaching a string to one side and measuring the level across the area. Use a chalk line to mark the space between the two points.
5. Attach the Fascia Brackets
Inspect the fascia to find the rafter tails. Generally, these can be identified by nail heads that are approximately 16 inches apart. Mark every second rafter tail with a chalk line and drill a 1/8-inch hole through each mark. Next, fasten the brackets. It’s best to use 1/4-inch stainless steel screws at least 2 inches long.
6. Saw the Gutter to Length
Cut each run to length using tin snips and a hacksaw. Things get slightly more complicated if your gutter is going to wrap around a corner, as the end needs to be cut at an appropriate angle. Square corners are easier to cut, as they need a 45-degree angle.
Another tip is that assembling all the runs that need to be joined on the ground is safer and more intelligent. Things get much more complicated when you want to install each component separately on the roof.
If two gutter sections are necessary for one run to reach the proper slope, they should be eight inches apart. Using a pop rivet gun to connect two rows of four pop rivets each together. Place these rivets in the gutter’s sidewalls as opposed to the bottom to avoid leaks.
7. Attach the Gutter End Caps
Next, use a rivet gun to attach an end cap to each end by drilling a hole for each pop rivet. In order to make them watertight, seal the area with caulk. There’s no need to place end caps where the gutter will turn a corner.
8. Cut the Downspout Holes
Turn the gutter over while it is still lying on the ground. Place an outlet wherever the downspout is going to be cut. Ideally, this should be at the lower end of the slope. To mark the downspout hole, trace around the interior. Then, drill a hole through the middle of the mark.
Cut the downspout hole with a drill and a 4-inch hole saw bit by flipping the gutter over. Place the downspout outlet in the drilled hole and use gutter sealant to seal the surrounding area. When it comes to this step, it’s vital to use only gutter sealant, not caulk.
9. Mount the Gutter
Now, it’s time to mount the gutters. During this process, the gutter runs must be carefully inserted into the fascia brackets to ensure they follow the slope line snapped earlier. The gutter needs to be rotated to slip the back edge into the hooks of each bracket.
Once it’s securely in the bracket, it’s time to drill holes into each screw mounting hole. Lastly, it’s time to secure the gutter to the bracket with screws and flanged nuts. If there are numerous sections in a run, it’s advisable to use gutter sealant to seal them together.
10. Attach the Strip Miter Joints to Each Corner
If two gutter lengths meet at a corner, the joint must be covered with an aluminum strip miter. This strip is wrapped tightly around the gutter’s underside and is secured with pop rivets. Next, the ends of the miter must be folded around the top edge of the gutter. To waterproof these joints, they can be sealed with caulk.
11. Connect the Downspout to the Gutter
Lastly, it’s time to screw the U-shaped downspout brackets at the top, middle, and bottom of the house’s corner board. To carry water away from the foundation, a drainpipe extension is added at the bottom to a section of downspout that has been cut to size and screwed into position. Pop rivets are used to tighten each component.
The Bottom Line
Gutter replacement and installation can seem like a daunting process. However, when hiring a trustworthy and experienced professional, the process will be simple and efficient. Installing rain gutters is a technical process that requires patience and skill. Fortunately, the contractors at Premium Seamless Gutters Austin contractors know the installation process like the back of their hands. They will do everything possible to ensure you’re delighted with your new gutter system.
Frequently Asked Questions
While many people attempt DIY gutter installation, this is not recommended. You should always hire a professional contractor to handle any home or reno project. These projects require specific knowledge, experience, and expertise that the average layman does not have. If you attempt the gutter installation yourself and make a mistake, this could cost you even more time and money than hiring a professional.
Generally, gutters are attached to the building’s fascia. They will run along your entire roof and end with a downspout outlet. Therefore, the fascia is a sturdy, long board that runs across the entire length of your roof. The gutters will be attached using fascia brackets, ensuring they are secured in place and will not fall off, even in a heavy storm.
When attaching the gutters to the fascia, it’s vital to attach them at an angle to ensure water flows through the downspout and drains appropriately.
Personally, this can differ depending on your property and unique circumstances. However, on average, you should aim for a quarter inch of slope for every 10 feet. While you might not realize it, the wrong slope can have severe consequences.
A sharp gutter slope results in reduced water capacity, water splashing out during rainfall, and it looks unpleasant. No slope, on the other hand, will cause water to pool in your gutters and not flow down the spout.
While you might not think it, there is a proper placement of gutters. Ideally, your gutters should be positioned behind or under your roof’s drip edge. Now, what is a drip edge? This is the outward projecting part that hangs over your roof. This is the best place to position your gutters because it allows water to follow through the drip line and into the gutter.