How to Install Rain Gutters
A step-by-step guide to a most diverting project
For homes in most regions of the country, rain gutters and downspouts are necessary to collect and carry away rainwater. Without them, water would erode the soil around the foundation, splash dirt onto the siding and likely leak into the basement or crawlspace.
Gutters are most often installed by professionals, but there's no reason you can't do it yourself. The all the materials and accessories are readily available at home centers, lumberyards and through roofing-supply firms. And if you're going to replace your gutters and downspouts, you may as well upgrade the entire look and performance of the rainwater system.
Here, we'll show how to install reproduction half-round gutters that are exact replicas of the size and style gutters found on older homes. This system features corrugated downspouts and decorative cast-aluminum brackets.
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.