How to Install Steel Gutters Part 1

Steel gutters are a durable and affordable gutter option for homeowners. Steel gutters are less likely to leak and can withstand corrosion and rusting better than gutters made from other materials. You do not need to hire a professional to install your steel gutters if you take proper measurements, check your work and are diligent about the details.

(This is Part 1 of a 3 part series. To move ahead to Part 2, click here.)

Materials Needed

(Sloping and Cutting)

  • Level
  • Nails
  • String
  • Chalk
  • Drill
  • Steel Screws
  • Tape Measure

(Bracketing and Installing)

  • Hacksaw
  • Metal Sheers
  • Sealant

(Connecting and Downspouts)

  • Corner Joints
  • Gutter Sleeve\Saver
  • Elbows
  • Elbow Extension
  • Metal Straps

Step 1 - Calculate and Mark the Slope

The first step in installing steel gutters is to properly mark the slope of the gutter. The slope of the gutter will determine how fast the water flows through your gutter system. By sloping gutters at an angle rather than installing the gutters level, the gutter system can utilize the force of gravity to gradually and naturally carry water and debris downwards and away fro the home. By sloping or angling your gutters, you can prevent clogging and excess corrosion from standing water.

The first step in marking your gutter slope is to know the total length of gutter needed in each separate gutter run. A gutter run is a section of the gutter installed in each segment of house, usually between two corners or from house segment to segment. Measure and document the length of gutter for each separate section or gutter run. Retain the length measurements for calculations later in the process.

The second step of marking your slope is to determine where the highest point of the gutter in this gutter run will be. You can use your level to properly determine the highest point of this gutter run. You need to mark the high point location by driving a nail 1/2 inch below the shingles where you find the highest point. Measure the space from the nail to the bottom of the fascia board (the fascia board is also called the trim board or face board).

Now you need to calculate where to mark the low end of the gutter run. You can do this by subtracting 1/4 inch for every 10 feet of gutter you are installing in this particular run of gutter. So, for example, if you are installing 20 feet of gutter in this run, subtract 1/2 inch from the distance between the high point mark nail and bottom of the fascia board. Once you have the correct calculation of distance, you can mark the low end of the gutter. Move to the lowest end of the gutter run and measure the calculated number of inches down from the shingles. Here you can drive another nail to mark the low end of this gutter run. The low end of the gutter run is where you will install downspouts for drainage.

Now that the high and low points are marked, create a line from one nail to the other with the string by running the string from the high point nail to the low point nail. Check your string line with your level to ensure that the line slopes downward from the high point to low point. Now you can trace the string line with the chalk onto the fascia board to create a chalk line for your gutter installation.

Step 2 - Attach Clips and Brackets

Once you have chalked your slope, you are ready to install the mounting brackets. The first thing to do when installing the brackets is to locate the rafter tails. The rafter tails are located behind the fascia, or trim board, and are spaced approximately 16 inches apart. Take your chalk and make a small mark in your existing chalk line over every other rafter tail in the gutter run.

Now you can prepare to install the mounting brackets by creating a pilot hole, 1/2 inch in diameter, through the fascia board where you marked your chalk line and into the marked rafter tails. Once you have predrilled your pilot holes, you are ready to install the mounting brackets. Using 1/2 inch diameter steel screws, install the mounting brackets to the fascia board, ensuring the screws are long enough to extend through the fascia and up to 2 inches into the rafter tail.

Now you are ready for cutting and installing your first piece of gutter run.