How to Install Rain Gutters

A man hanging a gutter on the roofline of a house.
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Fascia brackets
Chalk line
Gutter sealant
End caps
Chisel or saw
Crimping tool

A properly placed gutter is an important feature on any home. Not only does it divert rainwater from the house, but it also protects the siding and soil around the foundation from damage. These easy steps will help you install gutters if your home does not have gutters or is in need of a repair.

Step 1 - Determine Length of Gutters

Using a measuring tape, calculate how much length you will need for the gutters. The gutters will run right below the shingle line and are attached to the fascia below the roof. You will need a downspout for every 40 feet of gutter. You also need fascia brackets to hold the gutter in place. These should be spaced about 32 inches apart.

Step 2 - Determine the High Point

Once you have all the gutter materials in hand, you need to determine the gutter line for each section. The gutter should be sloped towards the downspout so that water properly drains in that direction. Start by resting a level on the roof near the high point of the gutter. Allow the level to hang over the gutter. You want to position the gutter below the roof but not too high. If the gutter hits the level, then it needs to be a little lower. Once you determine the high point of the gutter, drive a nail to mark the position.

Step 3 - Find the Gutter Line

A man in a hardhat measuring a roofline for a gutter installation.

Attach your chalk line to the nail and run the line to where the downspout will be located. Using your level, make sure the line is at a slight downward slope. The slope should fall about a quarter of an inch for every 10 feet of gutter. If everything looks good, snap the line in place to mark the position of the gutter. Then use your measuring tape to get a final measurement on the length of the gutter, using the chalk line as a reference.

Step 4 - Prepare the Gutter

Before you mount the gutter, you need to seal the end caps with gutter sealant. After cutting the gutter to its proper length, secure the end caps with the sealant. Use a crimping tool to tighten the caps into place. Then measure and cut a hole for the downspout. You can use a chisel to cut out the downspout. A good hole saw will also do the trick. Apply the same sealant to attach the downspout to the gutter and screw it into place.

Step 5 - Position Gutter

Someone hanging gutters on a roofline.

Place the gutter several inches below the chalk line and temporarily secure it in place. This will allow you to easily place each fascia bracket in the gutter without damaging the roof. Some brackets attach independently to the fascia while others are secured from inside the gutter. Once the brackets are in place, raise the gutter to its correct location and screw into place. You want to make sure the gutter is securely screwed into the fascia or it will buckle and break under the weight of rainwater.

Step 6 - Attach Downspout Outlet

With the gutter in place, attach the outlet pipe that runs from the downspout to the ground. You may need several elbows to correctly position the outlet away from the house. Fasten the outlet in place with some mounting straps. Then attach a flexible hose at the end of the outlet pipe to direct water further away from the house.

Step 7 - Seal Seams

Gutters filled with leaves.

Any seams in the gutter should be sealed to prevent leaks. Simply apply a large bead of gutter sealant to each seam and let it dry overnight for a good seal. You can find the seams in long sections of the gutter or around the outside corners.