Guttering: How to Install It

If you’re a homeowner who tries to avoid paying contractors for home improvements, hanging guttering is something that can be done yourself. But if you do a shoddy job, it can create major problems during a heavy storm: runoff water can overflow your gutters or pool near your foundation. So here is a checklist which will help you install your guttering the right way the first time.

Guttering Installation

  • First and foremost, enlist the aid of a helper! He or she will become invaluable by helping you hang guttering pieces or holding the ladder while you work high off the ground.
  • Get a cordless drill to bore holes and fasten screws. A screwdriver won’t do the trick, and an electric drill will be too cumbersome and restrictive when you’re working up on a ladder.

Cordless Drill

  • Be sure to pick out the material that best suits your budget and your aesthetics. Aluminum guttering is the most common because of its attractive price and moderate durability. But the overall look of your home’s exterior may call for copper or stainless steel.

Aluminum Guttering

Copper Guttering

Copper Gutter

  • Whichever material you choose, make sure that the tin snips and the blade on your hacksaw will cut through the metal easily. Otherwise, your project will take longer than it should.

Man Sawing Guttering

  • When deciding where to hang guttering on your home, ignore the edges at which the roof isn’t pitched toward the gutter area. Water won’t flow into guttering that is installed in these areas, so it’s useless to put gutters there.
  • Before you hang a single section of guttering, make a sketch of the roofline of your home to determine precisely where your gutters will go. Then measure these areas and record the lengths on your sketch.

Sketch of Roof

  • When figuring out where to put downspouts, estimate one downspout for every 20 feet of guttering. However, don’t make runoff water flow around a corner to get to a downspout; put in an extra one if necessary.


  • Add up the total linear footage of your guttering so you know how much material to purchase. Also, count the number of left and right endcaps, as well as how many inside and outside corners you’ll need.

Guttering Endcap

Guttering Corner

  • It’s not a good idea to hang your guttering exactly parallel with the ground. You’ll want to pitch it so that the water flows downhill toward each downspout. Try to incorporate as much pitch as you can; ideally, a quarter of an inch per 10 feet works best.
  • Once your determine your pitch, snap a chalk line to mark exactly where your guttering will go. You will install your gutter hangers along this line.

Measuring Tape

  • A good rule of thumb is putting up one gutter hanger for every three feet of guttering if you are installing five-inch gutters. For six-inch gutters, use one gutter hanger for every two feet of guttering.


  • Make sure to connect each section of guttering perfectly flush with one another. If needed, use a caulk or similar sealant to cover up seams.
  • After you are finished hanging your guttering, install each downspout and fasten the pipe to the side of the home with wood or brick screws.

Brick Screws

  • Using an elbow, run the bottom of the downspout as far away from your home as is practical. If you can’t install a lengthy pipe where the runoff water exits (like when a downspout would block a driveway, for instance), then consider buying a splash brick or other product to help keep the water from flowing back toward your foundation.

Downspout Elbow

  • If possible, test your finished guttering system by pouring buckets of water into each section and watching it flow downhill into your downspouts, and out away from your home.