How to install rain gutters

Install rain gutters at home in 8 easy steps
Written by Talullah Blanco
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Install rain gutters at home by purchasing gutter material, fascia brackets, and downspouts at your local home improvement store.
Rain gutters and downspouts divert water away from the foundation of your home to prevent soil erosion, damage to your siding, and leaks into your basement. While gutters are usually installed by professionals, you can purchase the materials at your local home improvement store and replace them yourself.
Having your rain gutters installed by a professional can be expensive. That’s why
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and
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Jerry
has compiled everything you need to know to install your own gutters in this step-by-step guide. 

Why do I need functioning rain gutters? 

While it may be tempting to put off replacing your damaged rain gutters due to installation costs, functioning gutters protect your home from water damage.
Your gutters prevent rainwater from settling on your roof and direct it away from your foundation. Without a functioning gutter system, your home is at risk of rot, mold, and foundation damage.

Planning the gutter installation project

Before you begin installing your rain gutters you’ll need to inspect the fascia, measure the length of the roof, plan, and purchase the gutter materials you need. 

Inspect the fascia

Installing rain gutters yourself instead of hiring a professional will save you money, but only if they are hung on a sturdy fascia. The fascia is the wood board that lines the lower edge of the roof.
Before you begin, inspect the fascia for rotting. You’ll have to replace the rotted fascia before you install new gutters. 

Measure the roof

Measure the length of the roof you are working on to determine the amount of gutter material you need to purchase. Rain gutters run the entire length of the roof.
If the roof measures longer than 40 feet, the gutter should pitch downwards in either direction from the center aimed toward a downspout at each end. If the roof is shorter than 40 feet, the gutter will slope in one direction towards a single downspout. 
Key Takeaway You’ll need 1 downspout for gutters less than 40 feet and 2 downspouts for anything longer. 

Purchase the materials 

Head to your local home improvement store to purchase the gutter material, fascia brackets, and downspouts. The cost of materials varies depending on the size of your home and the material used.
Here are the four gutter materials you can purchase, how much they cost, and their typical lifespans:
Material
Price per linear foot
Lifespan
Vinyl
$3 to $6 per linear foot
10 to 20 years
Aluminum
$5 to $15 per linear foot
20 years
Galvanized steel
$6 to $12 per linear foot
20 to 30 years
Copper
$18 to $30 per linear foot
50 plus years
Once you’ve picked the gutter material, style, and size you want, buy enough gutter material to total the length of your roof, the correct number of downspouts, and end caps. You’ll need 1 fascia bracket for every 32 inches of roof length.
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How to install rain gutters 

Before you install the rain gutters, you’ll need to mark layout lines, attach the fascia brackets, cut your gutters to length, and downspout outlets. 

Draw layout lines

Use chalk to draw a sloped line on the fascia from the highest point of the gutter run to the lowest point. The line should slope 1/2 inch downward for every 10 feet of run.
If your gutter run is longer than 40 feet, you’ll mark the highest point of the gutter run at the center while the lowest points will be on either end of the fascia. 

Attach fascia brackets

Fasten a fascia bracket to every other rafter tail using a drill. Rafter tails are typically spaced 16 inches apart, so you’ll attach a fascia bracket every 32 inches. 
Pro-Tip Mark every other rafter tail with chalk before installing the fascia brackets.

Cut gutter to length

You can use a hacksaw, power miter saw, or duckbill tin snip to cut the gutter sections to length. If the gutter runs around a corner of your roof cut the end at a 45-degree angle, otherwise cut the end of the gutter straight. 
If the run requires two sections of gutter, overlap and connect them using screws or rivets, then caulk the seam.

Attach and seal end caps 

Fasten an end cap to each of the gutters. Hold the end caps in place and drill holes for rivets using a sheet metal screw. Install the rivets and seal with caulk for a watertight seam. 

Cut downspout holes and install outlets

Trace the downspout outlet at the low end of the gutter before you cut a hole. Using offset tin snips cut a hole for the downspout.
Place the outlet into the hole, and drill holes for the rivets. Remove the downspout outlet, and apply gutter sealant around the edge of the hole. Then, insert the outlet into the opening, and fasten the rivets into the holes. 

Mount gutters

Lay your gutter into the fascia brackets you attached earlier. Rotate the gutter upward until the edge slips into the hooks at the top of the fascia bracket. 
After that, use a drill to create a 3/16 diameter hole in the front edge of the gutter and secure the gutters to the fascia brackets using machine screws. 
Pro-Tip Push the gutter away from you to rotate it upward.

Form corner joints

You’ll want to wrap each corner of the gutter run with a strip of aluminum and secure it using sheet metal screws. Seal with caulk to ensure the joint is watertight.
Attach downspouts to the gutter.
Screw the downspout into the gutter outlet with the tapered end facing the direction that will divert water away from your home. Depending on the height of your house, you may need to attach an additional downspout and seal the connection with caulk. 
Repeat this step until all the downspouts are attached to your gutter.
Key Takeaway The height of your home will determine the length of downspout material you need. 

How to save on home and car insurance

After you’ve saved money by installing your rain gutters, find more savings by bundling your
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FAQs

The average cost to install 200 linear feet of sectional or seamless five-inch K style gutters on a one-story home can range between $1,000 and $10,000 depending on the materials you use. Most DIY projects using vinyl or aluminum gutters will cost $1,000 to $3,700 for a 200 linear foot installation.
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