Gutter Installation Planning Guide

Gutter installation planning requires being clear on how much of the rain gutters are to be replaced. This means a thorough inspection of the entire system. Many problems can be repaired easily, avoiding total replacement. However, after identifying problem areas, learning whether each section can be repaired or whether it needs to be replaced, is important to the functioning of the rain gutter system.

Importance of Planning Ahead

Do-it-yourself or DIY projects can always be made easier if the required materials and tools are close at hand. Getting and organizing them takes some preparation prior to starting the project, but proper set-up can save time, patience, and can decrease risk of injury for the first time installer or any other person who will be involved in the installation process. It is worth to mention that metal rain gutters are recyclable.

Materials and Tools Checklist

Aviation or compound leverage snips are needed for cutting sheet metal, and have a serrated edge which grip and cut lengths of guttering. With scissor-like cuts, precision cutting is made easier with this tool. Most major gutter replacement will require these snips for proper fitting of gutter lengths. These lengths will fit together using a pop rivet tool. Pop rivets are secured into the adjoining sections for a secure fit.

A tape measure is crucial, to know what lengths of gutters are needed, measuring for sizes, and allowing for clearances with adjacent structures. Hangers, screws and other hardware are available in most home improvement stores. You can also buy these tools directly from respective home improvement online stores. Note where existing hardware on the old gutter system is located, for needed replacement. Caulking most certainly will be required, to water seal the seams. A caulk gun and silicone caulk will be needed, to prevent the gutter system from leaking.

Rain gutters can be painted to match or contrast with the color of the structure, so plan ahead to paint them ahead of the installation itself. This requires choosing the paint specifically intended for the type of gutters chosen, whether they be metal or plastic. Be sure there is a space where they can dry after painting. Choose brushes carefully, if used, and make sure spray-on paint is right for the job.

Safety Issues

Having a ladder that is tall, stable, and versatile enough to allow for the inspection and installation of the gutters is paramount. Mid-project is not the time to discover there are inaccessible areas. Work gloves are also important, to avoid serious cuts. Wear solid shoes, and avoid sandals or other flimsy footwear, to protect the feet from dropped and sharp materials.

Clear the work area of pets and children, and ensure that there is room enough for the longest lengths of guttering needed. Clearing a passage to the work area is helpful. Avoid working during questionable weather, as lightning is a real danger when working outside with metal. By the same token, be sure there are no electrical wires or other cables interfering with the work to be done.

Simplify the Planning Process

Shortcuts in rain gutter installation sometimes work and sometimes don’t, so if in doubt, replacement may save time and trouble in the end. Home improvement stores can assist the installer in selecting the correct parts, materials, and appropriate tool selection. Gutter installation instructions or booklets may also be found there.