Gutters are a key part of any home’s drainage system, and gutter installation is an important step in ensuring that they function properly. It’s a job that’s best left to the pros, however, as mistakes during gutter installation can lead to significant water damage on your property or cause problems with the gutters themselves.
The skills needed to install gutters include a variety of hand and power tools, as well as the ability to work safely on ladders. A strong and fit body is also a must for this career. An apprenticeship or certification in a technical school would be helpful, as would experience working on roofs and handling power tools.
Gutter installation begins with a basic inspection of the site to determine where a new gutter is necessary. This includes spotting areas of the existing system that need to be fixed, and identifying potential hazards. It also involves preparing time and material cost estimates.
Next, a gutter installer creates a slope on the fascia board that will guide water away from the house. Typically, a 1/2-inch fall is enough to provide proper drainage. To do this, start at the bottom of the eaves and make a mark at least every 20 feet down the fascia board. Connect these marks with a chalk line to form the slope for the new gutter.
When measuring for the slope, it’s a good idea to take measurements at different angles to ensure that you have the desired fall. This will prevent the water from accumulating on one side of the fascia, making it more likely to leak onto the other.
To ensure that the slope of your new gutter is correctly aligned with the ridge of your roof, you’ll need to use a level and a tape measure. The slope needs to be at least a quarter-inch per foot for optimal drainage.
You can also use a chalk snap line to draw the slope on the fascia board. To do this, attach the chalk snap line to a nail and run it with a vertical drop of 1/4-inch per 10 feet. When the slope is correct, snap the line and remove it from the fascia.
Once the gutters have been installed, a professional will clean up any construction debris that may have been blown around during the process. This helps protect the gutters from clogs, and also makes it easier to maintain them later on.
Depending on the type of gutter you’re installing, you might need to add downspout extensions at the corners of your home. This can help prevent water from pooling near the foundation and causing damage to the siding.
If your gutters are made of aluminum, crimp the upper section inwards before sliding the lower portion on top. You can then affix the sections together with self-tapping screws or rivets.
For vinyl gutters, slip joint connectors are an easy and affordable way to connect sections of gutter together. They’re available in a variety of sizes and styles.