Properly Installed Do it Yourself GuttersThere's not much glamour in gutter systems, but when properly installed, they do a great job of directing roof runoff away from your home. Flowing gutters drain hundreds of gallons of water away from the foundation. This keeps basements and crawlspaces dry, protects siding and windows from harmful backsplash, and prevents staining and rotting the walls of your house.
So, while they may not be flashy, gutters are an important feature of the home, which require a balance of practicality and aesthetics.
Size of the gutter
The first rule of selecting a new gutter system is to be practical. Gutters and downspouts are available in a wide range of materials, styles and prices. Choices include aluminum, vinyl, galvanized steel, stainless steel and copper.
Even wood is an option, but wooden gutters are rare and primarily used in restoration projects. Because of the moderate pricing, galvanized steel gutters are popular choices. Aluminum gutters are slightly more expensive but require less maintenance. Vinyl gutters are inexpensive and can be easily installed by a do-it-yourselfer in a single weekend. Copper gutters, on the other hand, are very expensive, but they have a handsome appearance, never rust and never need painting.
If replacing a gutter, then once the old gutter is removed, prep the fascia board with primer. If the fascia is damaged or rotted, replace it. Then determine the correct slope of the gutter, and snap a chalk line on the fascia to use as a reference. Gutters should slope 1 inch every 20 feet toward the downspout.
Gutters in excess of 35 feet long should have a downspout at each end, pitching the gutter from the center to each downspout. Measure and cut the downspout to length. Be sure to account for any elbows at the top of the downspout which may need to mount into the outlet tube. A second elbow at the bottom of the downspout should direct water onto a drainage system.
Vinyl elbow connections are made with vinyl connector pieces. Metal elbows are connected with slip joints, pop rivets or liquid solder. Fasten the downspout to the wall with straps at the top and bottom and at 6-foot intervals. If necessary, shim out the back of the gutter with wood blocks.
Final Guttering Tips
Be sure the ends of the downspouts drain into a proper drainage system, such as a drywell, or onto pavement or a splash block that routes the water at least three feet downhill from the foundation of the house and onto properly graded soil. Doing so will ensure your new gutter system sheds all the water it needs to protect your home from moisture and rot.
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