How to Assemble Metal Gutters

Lead Image
  • 8-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 300-2,000
What You'll Need
Metal gutter system
Measuring tape
Sheet metal screws
Offset tin snips or duckbill tin snips
Sealant caulk

Gutters are an important but often overlooked necessity. Without a proper gutter system, the roof and structure of your home can suffer from water damage. Even the foundation of your home can be damaged by water that sheets off a roof and falls straight down to form puddles and erode the ground. Metal gutters are an inexpensive solution that is easy to purchase and assemble yourself.

Step 1 - Prepare

First, it is important that you only attempt to install gutters if you're comfortable working on a ladder. It may be best to have another person there with you to help as longer pieces can become awkward to move around while on a ladder.

Plan where your downspout will be before you start working, and make sure the spout or the water that comes from it won't interfere with your electric meter or any other things necessary to get to outside your house.

Examine the fascia and soffit to make sure the wood is still in good shape. If molding is mounted below the shingles, you can remove it or install a board over it so that you'll have a flat place to mount the gutters. Paint the wood before mounting to protect it from rot.

Step 2 - Measure and Cut

If you didn't have gutters already cut to the correct size, then measure the length of the fascia where you want to mount the gutters. Use a saw to cut gutter pieces to fit allowing 3 to 4 inches extra for overlap when joining pieces together. Allow an extra inch for the cut end of the gutter to stretch past the end of the fascia. This allows it to catch water from the overhanging shingles.

Step 3 - Assemble the Gutters

Assemble gutters by overlapping seams anywhere from 3 to 4 inches or by the extra amount you allowed for during cutting. When you're assembling them, make sure that any factory cut edges are on the outside whenever possible for a neater appearance. Then use rivets to join the pieces and caulk to seal the seams. As you're doing this, also plan so that the piece of gutter that's on the inside is at the top of the slope when you install your gutters to slope slightly downward toward the downspout. If you hang gutters with the inner piece on the lower end, water traveling down the gutter can be forced into the seam and erode the seal much easier.

Step 4 - Attach

Use rivets to attach an end cap on the cut end and caulk the joint on the inside.

Step 5 - Measure

For the best appearance of your gutters, measure from the corner of the house to the center of the place your downspout will go. Then place that measurement on your gutter. Using tin snips, cut an outlet where the spout will go.

Step 6 - Assemble the Downspout

Once the gutters are up, attach the downspout with the crimped parts of the elbows facing down. Instead of using rivets, use sheet metal screws so that it can be removed later for cleaning if necessary.