1. Get help! Getting your rain gutters installed professionally is a very good way of preventing damage to roofs and walls and ensuring your gutter system lasts a good, long time. If you are very confident at DIY and have a few friends to help then by all means give it a go. But do not try this alone – at the very least you will need friends to help you chalk the lines, remove the old system or just hold the ladder for you.
2. Remove the old gutters (if applicable) carefully. You can not only damage the roof and walls if you’re not careful, but also yourself!
3. Make a plan. Draw a map of your home and where you want the gutters to be, then work out what length each section should be and also what parts you’ll need. Don’t forget all the attachment points, hangers, corners, caps, screws, etc. It’s a good idea to get a couple of extra sections to use in case you damage something during the installation or need to replace a section at a later date.
Also during the planning you need to think carefully about where you want the water to go – the whole point of gutters is to divert water away from where it could cause damage to a place where it won’t cause any harm – where is that place? It could be a drain, a ditch or even storage so you can use the rainwater later, to irrigate your garden for example.
4. Mark it out. Using chalk, or something that you can rub off later, mark where you want the gutters to be on your house. Don’t forget that they must all be sloping downwards otherwise they will not serve their purpose and will just fill up with water! It should only be a slight incline, about 2cm for every 3 meters – hardly noticeable to the human eye, but just enough to drain properly. You might find it easier to use string for marking out these lines.
5. Once you have made a plan, marked it all out and bought the guttering, it’s time to cut the gutter into the correct lengths for the sides of your house. Use the chalk marks for guidance and don’t forget that the lengths should be long enough to reach into the middle of the downspout, not just to the edge of it. Always cut them a bit longer than you think they should be – you can always reduce the length more if necessary but can not add to it!
6. Install the downspouts first, then the hangers for the gutter lengths, then the lengths themselves. For the hangers, make sure you have at least one every metre along the length of the gutter for proper support. Once the hangers are up then work along the wall, installing the entire system as you go, starting at the highest point and working towards the outlet to the drainpipe.
7. Use some glue or silicon sealant at each joint to make the whole system watertight and prevent leaking and dripping.
8. The downspout is the hardest part and should be left until last so that it fits the rest of the system. You will need to cut a small length of pipe to fit between the outlet and the drainpipe and attach it using another corner section. Again, cut this length a little too long to start with and reduce the size until it is the perfect fit. Attach the drainpipe firmly to the side of your house, using brackets. This is more important than it might seem!
9. If you are replacing gutters, then consider doing some other work on the house while the gutters are not in the way – maybe the walls could do with a lick of paint or perhaps there are some parts of the roof that need replacing. Do this while you have the chance! If you plan to do a lot of work and think that the gutters may be off for a few days, then check the weather forecast before removing the system!
10. Finally, take care of your new gutters. Good maintenance and regular cleaning will make gutters last much longer and look a lot better.