How to Install Aluminum Gutters 9 Main Steps & Tips

seamless aluminum rain gutters on a white beautiful house

When they are installed correctly, gutters blend into the roofline of your home. They become barely noticeable but perform an important job. We’ll start with nine main steps and tips on how to install aluminum gutters on your home followed by a brief explanation of why you need gutters.

There a number of important reasons why you might want to add gutters to your home or repair the ones already there. They keep water from pouring off your roof causing damage to the side of your home primarily.

1: Prepare and Plan

Gutter installation isn’t a complicated process. However, good preparation and planning will help you avoid problems. Your gutters are designed to last for decades. Therefore, completing a few things prior to installation will prevent the need to take them down for repairs.

Planning and preparing ahead of time are important steps many people forego but end up sorry they did. Here are some necessary planning and preparation tips on how to install aluminum gutters, which will help the installation go smoothly and avoid problems.

Preparation Is Key

  • Clear and protect the area under your gutters. Cover ornamental shrubs and clear away as many things as possible. Your gutter installation will be a smooth, progressive process if you don’t have to stop and take care of problems on the ground. Plan ahead by clearing the area around your house to ensure a safe and efficient installation.
  • Make all repairs to your fascia boards and roof. If you’re removing old gutters, fill all preexisting holes from the old ones. If your fascia is aluminum, check for cracks or buckled places. Wooden fascia should be repainted with a durable, protective paint.
  • Your gutters are meant to last; make sure, your fascia is as well. Check the edge of your roof, fixing any problems you see. Trim any roofing that overhangs the gutter to allow for good flow.
  • Planning ahead is prudent thinking when learning how to install aluminum gutters. Even if you’re replacing old ones, planning is a critical part of the installation. As odd as it might seem, doing a quick cleanout of the old gutters before you remove them is a smart tip.
  • Once they’re clean, you can test your old gutters for problems. Run water through the system checking for low spots that hold water or places where the slope towards the downspout could be improved.

Draw Plans with Measurements

  • Make note of where the connecting joints are and if there have been any unusual problems in the past. Mark these areas and note them on your blueprint. Make a small mark where each rafter tail holds the fascia. Using these spots will help anchor your gutter more securely.
  • Making a drawing is another important step in how to install aluminum gutters. If your house has never had gutters, consider consulting a professional for advice on the slope, downspout position, and where connecting joints should be. You don’t have to draw an architecturally perfect blueprint. A simple pencil sketch will prove helpful.
  • Make notes about possible problems and list accurate measurements on your plan. Mark where attachment points and downspouts. When you have a blueprint of how you want your gutters, it’s simple to plug in a quick formula to calculate the correct slope.
  • The suggested slope of gutters is 1-inch for every 50 feet of gutter. If you have this calculated on paper, it will be much easier to double-check your work during installation.
  • A simple drawing will also help ensure you purchase the right amount of materials. You won’t end up short, or have an excess of waste left over.

Combining good preparation with a set of plans is the step you do not want to skip when learning how to install aluminum gutters. When you’re finished, and you step back from a well-done project, you’ll be glad you took extra time at this stage of how to install aluminum gutters.

2: Mark Out Your Gutters

Go along and mark all the downspout locations and snap brackets. You can use a permanent felt marker at all points along the fascia that will be hidden by the gutter. This is a smart tip for future reference. All of these measurements should then be checked against your drawing.

a worker installing aluminum gutters on a house roof

3: Drill Pilot Holes for Snap Brackets

You might assume that the snap bracket will screw in without a problem. This is not always the case. Mistakes will mean you’ll have to go back and make repairs to the roof fascia. Therefore, taking the time to drill a small, 1/8″ pilot hole can save you the headache of repairing.

Start with the far left snap bracket hole, and set a chalk line mark across your gutter to the next downspout. This will make sure you follow the slope you calculated on your plans. This is an important tip on how to install aluminum gutters.

4: Cut Each Section

When your plans match your roof marks, take one final measurement to double check your marks. By doing much of the work on the ground, you’ll find these next few steps much easier. Cut each piece of gutter to the correct length.

5: Cut Out Downspout Holes and Add Attachments

Once you have each section cut, measure the location of each downspout. Cut out the hole and insert the connecting piece for the downspout. Install the end caps at this time as well. Again, doing this before you hand the section of gutter is much easier.

6: Attach Fascia Brackets

Now that you have your gutters cut to the correct length, downspout attachments ready and end caps in place, it’s time to attach the snap brackets to the fascia. A useful tip for how to install aluminum gutters with fewer problems is to do one test run with each section.

Temporarily align each section of gutter and at each end. Mark each of the pilot holes you have already drilled in the fascia and mark them on the gutter. This will help make sure the final process of hanging the gutter goes off without a hitch.

Now, attach all your snap brackets to the fascia. One bracket should be 6 inches from the end cap, then every 16 inches across the roofline, so they match up with the end tails of your rafters. Use stainless steel wood screws and be cautious not to over tighten them. When the strip out, you have to adjust your pilot holes.

7: Hang the Gutters

Start at one end of the house, and proceed in whichever direction you prefer. If you have an end cap on one end of the house, it’s a good tip to progress towards that point.

If you follow this tip and you do run into a measurement problem, it will be at the end of the line. This is an easy place to make an adjustment in the gutter length and reattach the end cap.

8: Attach the Downspouts

From your plans, you’ll know exactly how tall each downspout is. Forego attaching the bottom elbows until you’re certain the downspouts lineup correctly. Drill one pilot hole on each side, and use machine screws to secure the downspout to the gutter.

Measure the distance from the bottom opening of the downspout to the point on the ground where you want the elbow. The slope for this drop should be steeper. For every 2 feet of downspout extension, figure the drop to be 2 inches minimum.

You want the water to flush out of the downspout with enough speed to move quickly out of the gutter. This is frequently missed tip on how to install aluminum gutters, which will create a backup problem during heavy rains.

9: Test & Adjust

Before you let Mother Nature supply the water, do a test of your new gutter installation. This will help you fix any problems ahead of a bad storm, plus you can adjust your downspout endpoints to put the water where you want it.

If you’re thinking about using rainwater conservation equipment, you can begin to prepare for how you want to funnel the water into holding tanks. If you’re going to keep the conventional system as it is, the final step will be to place your splash blocks under each downspout.

Why You Should Install Gutters or Replace Your Old Ones

Gutters channel the massive amount of water that comes off your roof. Rainwater, allowed to pour down the side of your home, can erode the foundation. Your gutters handle hundreds of gallons of water. Gutters catch this water, guiding it to downspouts so it can be diverted away from your home.

There are features you can add to your gutter system as well, to make use of all this water. Gutters help protect the exterior of your home, prevent foundation erosion, plus can be used to collect a free supply of fresh water.

Let’s Recap

Planning and preparation are where to begin every gutter project. This doesn’t matter if you’re replacing existing gutters or installing a completely new system for the first time. If you plan and prepare, you’ll avoid problems. Learning how to install aluminum gutters isn’t difficult if you follow these useful steps and tips.

If your old gutters aren’t working correctly or you’re tired of watching the water pour down the side of your house, install a new set of aluminum gutters now. Your house will look better, and you’ll prevent costly damage to your foundation.

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