• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to install an efficient rain-handling gutter system.

    1. Measure along the house fascia to determine the length of each piece of gutter.
    2. Apply a bead of silicone sealant along the inner edge of an aluminum end cap. Tap the end cap onto the end of the gutter, then secure it with a crimping tool.
    3. Cut the gutter to length using a hacksaw and tin snips.
    4. Fasten pre-mitered aluminum corner to the gutter end using sealant and aluminum pop rivets.
    5. Attach an end cap to the second length of gutter, then rivet it to the mitered corner to create the L-shaped gutter assembly.
    6. Use a hole saw to drill a 3-inch-diameter hole through bottom of the gutter. Attach an outlet fitting to the hole using sealant and rivets.
    7. Hold the L-shaped gutter assembly in place against the house fascia.
    8. Use a level as a straightedge to position the high end of the gutter. Be sure the front edge of the gutter doesn't protrude above the roof plane.
    9. Slip a gutter-mounting bracket into the high-end of the gutter, then drive a screw through the bracket and fascia and into a rafter tail.
    10. Adjust the pitch of the gutter so that rainwater will drain down to where the downspout will be installed.
    11. Slip brackets into the gutter and drive the screws through the brackets and into the rafter tails. Place one bracket at each rafter tail.
    12. Place two elbows onto the upper end of a length of downspout, and secure them with short sheet-metal screws.
    13. Screw two aluminum wall brackets to the house corner boards.
    14. Slip the elbow on the upper end of the downspout over the outlet fitting protruding down from the gutter above.
    15. To hold the downspout in place, drive short sheet-metal screws through the wall brackets and into the downspout.
    16. Dig a shallow trench from the lower end of the downspout out away from the house. 17 Use PVC primer and cement to assemble a rainwater drainpipe made from 4-inch-diameter PVC pipe and assorted fittings.
    17. On one end of the drainpipe attach an elbow and rectangular downspout fitting. On the other end, glue on an elbow and drainage cap.
    18. Slip the bottom end of the downspout into the rectangular downspout fitting attached to the end of the PVC drainpipe.
    19. Lay the drainpipe in the trench, then backfill.
    • 10 to 12 hours to install gutters and downspouts on an average-size one-story house
    • $1.50-$2.50 per foot for gutter, $12-$15 for downspout, $1-$2 for elbows
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      cutting and connecting the aluminum parts isn't too difficult, but climbing up and down ladders all day can be exhausting
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • end-cap crimping tool
        Crimping tool, used to attach end caps to the ends of gutters
      • hacksaw
        Hacksaw and tin snips, used to cut gutter and downspouts to length
      • caulk gun
        Caulking gun, used to apply silicone sealant
      • drill
        Drill, used to drill holes and drive screws
      • pop rivet gun
        Pop rivet gun, for riveting together the aluminum parts
      • hole saw
        3-inch-diameter hole saw, used to cut outlet hole in gutter
      • level
        Level, used as a straightedge to establish position of the high end of the gutter
      • flat blade shovel
        Shovel, for digging trench to bury PVC drainpipe

      Shopping List

      1. Aluminum gutters and downspouts with assorted fittings and brackets

      2. Silicone sealant, used to form watertight seal between gutter and fittings

      3. Aluminum rivets, for fastening together the aluminum parts4. Aluminum screws for fastening together the aluminum parts

      5. PVC pipe and elbows, used to create drainpipe to carry water away from house

      6. PVC primer and cement, for fastening together PVC pipe and fittings