Overview

Anatomy of a Gutter
Illustration: Gregory Nemec
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Many homeowners nurse their battered, leaky gutters along because they just don’t see the reward of new gutters outweighing the effort required to replace them. That’s why we enlisted Agustin Crookston, owner of Classic Gutter Systems in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to show how attractive gutters can be—and how easy to install. His company makes distinctive, half-round reproduction gutters, which have been featured on several This Old House TV projects. The dark-green aluminum gutters used here ($2.75 per linear foot, materials only) were attached to the fascia with cast-aluminum, closed-curl brackets ($8 each), which the homeowners spray-painted antique gold. At the ends of the gutters are 4-inch-diameter corrugated aluminum downspouts ($1.75 per linear foot), which were ordered in white to match the house trim.

To ensure that gutters drain properly, make certain they slope (½ inch for every 10 feet) toward a downspout. For gutter runs longer than 40 feet, it’s best to pitch the gutter down from the middle to a downspout at each end. Or you can slope the gutters down from each end toward a single downspout placed in the middle of the run. Determine what works best for your house before ordering gutters and attachments.
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    Tools List

    • hack saw
      Hacksaw,
      for cutting gutters and downspouts to length
    • Nut screwdriver
      Drill/driver with nut driver,
      for driving self-tapping, hex-head stainless screws
    • pop rivet gun
      Pop-rivet gun,
      used instead of drill/driver and screws to join gutter sections and end caps
    • Aviation Snips
      Aviation snips,
      left- and right-handed versions used to cut gutters and trim aluminum strip miters
    • drill
      Electric drill with 4-inch-diameter hole saw,
      for cutting holes in gutter for downspout outlet
    • chalk line
      Chalk line,
      for snapping gutter layout lines on fascia
    • miter saw
      12-inch power miter saw with carbide-tipped finish blade,
      to cut gutters and downspouts to length
    • ratchet wrench
      Ratchet wrench with 7/16-inch socket,
      for attaching fascia brackets to house
    • Drill bit
      Assorted twist drill bits
    • needlenose pliers
      Needlenose pliers
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • ladder
      Ladders with ladder brackets and aluminum scaffold plank,
      all can be rented

    Shopping List

    1. GUTTERS

    2. FASCIA GUTTER BRACKETS

    3. DOWNSPOUTS

    4. DOWNSPOUT OUTLETS

    used to join gutter to downspout



    5. DOWNSPOUT ELBOWS

    6. DOWNSPOUT BRACKETS

    7. SPHERICAL END CAPS

    8. 1/4-INCH-DIAMETER STAINLESS STEEL LAG SCREWS

    long enough to penetrate rafter tails 2 inches



    9. 3-INCH-WIDE ALUMINUM STRIP

    to form a strip-miter joint at gutter corners; available from gutter manufacturer



    10. 3/8-INCH-LONG, SELF-TAPPING, HEX-HEAD STAINLESS SCREWS

    if using drill/driver to join together gutter sections and end caps



    11. 1/8-INCH-DIAMETER x 1/4-INCH-LONG ALUMINUM RIVETS

    if using pop rivet gun to join together gutter sections and end caps