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8 Tips for How to Install Gutters on Your Own

Gutters can take quite a beating each year here in winter country. Snow, ice, and storm damage can bend, break, or simply wear down your gutters in short order, creating a not-so-amazing look to your home. 

Believe it or not, gutter replacement is a project that most homeowners can tackle with a few tips from our pros at Paramount Exteriors. If you have wondered how to install gutters, you’re not alone. In the following article, we’ll be sharing our best prep and install tips to bring your gutter back “up to snuff” in both style and function.  

The best gutters are the ones you don’t notice, and our tips will tell you how to install gutters that give excellent drainage and keep the ground under your eaves from getting pummeled in the next weather-surprise Mother Nature has around the corner.

Want professional guidance and installation with your gutter project? Our gutters are custom-cut and matched to your trim. Give us a call today at Paramount Exteriors for an estimate. 

Gutter Installation Tips

A big project, like replacing your gutter system, can seem intimidating. However, even the most novice handymen and women can save money by doing a gutter installation. Here are eight pro suggestions to help you gain confidence in your DIY skills.

Man working on Gutters on Ladder

1. Make a plan. 

Take a look at your house and yard. How many exterior walls need gutters?  If you live on a street where the houses are very close together (just a few feet of separation between the side of your house and your neighbor’s), you may only need to gutter the front and back of your home. 

If you have a large yard with ample space on all sides of the house, plan to gutter all four sides. Before buying any supplies or materials, you’ll need to measure precisely how many linear feet of gutter you’ll need, plus a little extra in case of the invariable “learning curve” mistakes that can happen with any new project.

In addition to knowing the number of linear feet you have, you’ll also need to list out the number of corners, feet of  the downspouts, and elbow joints to bend the gutters around the corners of your house and to drain rainwater out to where you direct it in your yard.

2. Set a budget.

How much can you spend on your project? Your budget should have a range, depending on the type of material you choose as well as the amount of product you need. For aluminum gutters, plan to spend $4-$9 per linear foot. For vinyl gutters (which can be easier to install), the price will range from $3-$5 per linear foot.  

Bear in mind that the “fancier” you go with unique trim or finishes or edge detail, the more you will spend on the entire project. So, for example, for 200 feet of vinyl gutters, you are likely to spend $600-$1000 on the project.  Costs can vary significantly by region, so use our recommendation as a rough guide only.

3. Cover the basics of the project.  

For gutter replacement, you’ll need a few essential tools that may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to make your list and check it twice so you won’t be caught mid-project running back and forth to the hardware store.  Here’s a general prep list:

  • Step or extension ladder, depending on the height of your roof
  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Power drill and two or more rechargeable battery packs
  • Permanent markers with a fine tip
  • 25-foot tape measure
  • Wood screws
  • Gutter brackets
  • Construction glue and gutter sealant 
  • Caulking gun (for the glue and sealant)
  • Tin Snips (for cutting gutter pieces)

close up of gutters on roof

4. Prep your fascia and soffits 

Fascia is the flat boards positioned just underneath your roof along the walls of your house.Soffits are the area underneath your roof between the gutters and the wall.

Before installing your gutters, perform a thorough inspection of the fascia and soffits.  Look for chipped, cracked, or peeling paint, as well as wood rot or missing pieces.  

You’ll need to clean up or replace any facia board or soffits that are rotted out, missing, or otherwise damaged. 

5. Get a helping hand 

We recommend having a friend or family member around to give you a hand holding gutters in place for drilling, or handing tools up and down to you on the ladder to make your tasks a little easier to complete.

6. Direct your drainage

All gutters must be installed with a slight angle for water to drain toward the downspouts and out to the yard.  For gutter runs of 40 feet or longer, set your highest gutter position in the middle of the run, and then slope downward toward downspouts positioned at both ends of the run.  

For gutter runs shorter than 40 feet in length, choose one direction for the water to drain, and pitch the “high” side of the gutter run on the opposite end of the run from the downspout.  Be sure to place your downspouts in a “hidden” corner of your house, where they are not the first thing you see from the curb.

In general, avoid draining water toward sidewalks, electric or gas meters, or other yard obstructions like fences. Do drain water away from your house, and if you live in a region where you can expect a lot of torrential rain, install and oversized downspout (3x4inches) over a standard size.

7. Measure twice, cut once

This age-old carpentry rule applies to your gutter project as well.  As you hang your gutters according to manufacturer instructions, be sure to measure carefully before cutting.  Even professionals occasionally make cutting mistakes, so imagine what that could mean for a DIY-er in increased materials costs and general frustration. It’s wise not only to measure at least twice before cutting, but to have a second pair of eyes on your work for extra confidence as well. 

man on ladder working on gutters

8. When in doubt, call Paramount Exteriors

If you’ve done all your DIY homework, but still want help with installation, we are here for you before, during, and after your project.  Our gutter systems are carefree, low maintenance, seamless, and custom-matched to your home exterior. Our competitive prices mean that you can save time and trouble by having us do the work for you when gutter installation may not be your “thing.” 

Call Paramount Exteriors when you need someone in your corner for gutter installation or replacement.  We’ve got you covered!

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