The guttering is not a part of the home we often think about until something goes wrong. When gutters and downpipes become clogged or leaky, their functionality is compromised, resulting in water damage to walls and foundations. But because the gutters are hard to reach, maintenance is often neglected even though it is easy to keep them in good working order. Minor problems like small holes are easily repaired with a squirt of silicone while installing gutter guards prevents a build-up of leaf litter.
But if the damage is extensive and guttering is corroded or coming away from the wall, replacing the damaged sections or installing a whole new system is better. Begin by removing the old gutter and brackets, then repair and repaint the fascia before securing the new guttering.
The gutter system has to cope with the volume of water runoff that spills from the roof, so consideration must be given to rainfall intensity, roof catchment area, gutter size, downpipe parameters and overflow capacity. To calculate how much guttering you need, measure the lengths of fascia runs and sketch the house to scale, marking the required number of downpipes as discreetly as possible.
Your gutters must comply with National Plumbing and Drainage Code AS/NZS 3500.3-2003, which you can find in your local library. The minimum gutter fall to a downpipe is 1:500, meaning an extra 2mm of fall for each metre of the gutter. Before buying, talk with your supplier to ensure the gutter system you have selected meets the criteria.
Working up high is hazardous, so hire scaffolding on wheels to provide easy access and simplify the installation process. Always check with your local council before you start work as in some areas of Australia, gutters must be installed by qualified tradespeople.
Types Of Guttering
Several types of guttering are available, but some aren't suited to DIY installation:
- Plastic (or PVC) guttering is designed for DIY installation. It is easy to cut and designed to snap together.
- Aluminium or Zincalume guttering can be a DIY project. It is a little harder to install than plastic guttering, but it can be a DIY project if you have the right tools.
- Galvanised steel must be welded, so it is probably not good for DIY installation.
- Stainless steel lasts a long time but must be installed by professionals.
- Copper guttering is expensive and has to be professionally installed.
As a DIYer, your two choices are plastic or aluminium, but that's not all there is to guttering. The guttering profile is also important. Half-round guttering is suitable for areas where rainfall isn't heavy and, because of its "C" shape, can prevent leaves from sticking to the bottom of the guttering. However, quad guttering may be a better choice if rainfall is heavy. Quad guttering is known as "D" guttering and can hold more rainfall. In addition, it sometimes comes with overflow slots at the top of the guttering. The overflow spouts will prevent water from pouring over the edge in heavy rainfall. Some other profiles include:
- Fascia guttering is connected directly to a roof's rafters. Fascia guttering comes in powder-coated colours and may have different outside profiles to suit different styles of homes.
- Square gutters are rectangular in appearance.
- Box gutters are completely hidden but should be installed by professionals.
Half-round guttering may be the easiest to install. Still, quad and fascia guttering is also suitable for DIY installation, but be sure to find products designed for DIY installation, and the guttering should come with full installation directions. How Much Does New Guttering Cost? Outlines the prices of different types of guttering. PVC guttering is the least expensive, followed by powder-coated Zincalume guttering.
FAQs About Installing Gutters
Sometimes, it's obvious when gutters need replacing. Large holes and leaks are the giveaway signs of a dysfunctional gutter. At this point, it's wise to start planning how you will replace them before any this damage spills into your home.
Other signs of a faulty gutter are less obvious, making them easy to miss. Gutters will usually rust from the inside out, so when inspecting your gutters be on the lookout for evidence of rust such as blistering paint and rough surfaces. Also, be on the lookout for birds hanging around your roof—they may be taking advantage of pools of water to bathe in!
Although many gutter systems have been designed in pieces, often, it is necessary to remove much more than just the affected piece. The work necessary to remove just a single piece of guttering may involve taking down large sections of gutting around the house. With the time and cost of removing and refitting a new gutter section, it may be worth considering replacing the entire guttering system, especially if your gutters are more than ten years old.
Gutters are not just functional, but they also improve the look of your house! Consider what gutter shape and colour will match the look of your home.
Gutters can be made of varying materials of varying quality, such as steel and aluminium. Generally speaking, the higher the quality of materials, the longer your gutters will last.
Gutters also need to do their job: diverting rain to stormwater. This means that your new gutters and downpipes need to be the correct size for your roof and meet plumbing and building requirements, such as:
- Tiled roofs in Melbourne need at least one 100x50mm downpipe for every 50m2 of roofing area. However, it may be easier for older homes to increase downpipe capacity than installing new downpipes.
- All plumbing work over the value of $750 will need to be carried out by a registered plumber. This plumber will also need to issue a compliance certificate.
- Fixings need to be compatible with guttering material and galvanised or zinc plated.
There are several risks of a DIY gutter installation, especially if you are inexperienced. As well as safety issues, a faulty guttering system can pose a serious risk to the appearance and structural integrity of your home.
Installing new gutters means working at heights and using a ladder. Most people killed or injured due to ladder-related injuries were doing maintenance around the home.
A bad DIY gutter installation may end up costing much more than just going with a professional. Many expensive roofing faults are due to the improper installation of gutters.
Prosecution And Insurance Risk
Improper gutter installation can also have legal and insurance ramifications. For example, if compliance requirements are not met, such as plumbing requirements, insurance may be void in the event of water damage.
Getting Started With The Guttering Installation
The first thing you need to do is measure your roof. If you already have guttering installed, measure the length of the guttering and the length of the downpipes and the distance from the guttering to the wall. You will need this for buying the elbows. It's a good idea to draw a plan and mark where downpipes go. You can take the plan to the supplier to help you with your purchase. Guttering and downpipes come in lengths, so you may need to buy more than you need. Next, buy all your guttering supplies. What you need may depend on the type of guttering you buy, but they will include more than just the guttering. Some other products you will have to buy include:
- Elbows for downpipes
- Downpipe shoes direct water into drains
- Brackets bear the weight of water and should be installed every 400mm
- Stop ends prevent water from spilling out from the ends of guttering
You may need other materials as well. The supplier can help you choose everything, so you don't need to return to buy something you've forgotten. They can also help you choose DIY guttering. Look for good quality guttering that is not too hard to install.
Other supplies needed include:
- A ladder or ladders tall enough to reach the area you need to work without having to stand on the top steps of the ladder
- A cordless drill
- A hacksaw
- A string line
- Self-tapping screws or screws and the right size of drill bit for starter holes (stainless steel will not rust)
- For aluminium guttering, tin snips may be needed.
Working on ladders can be dangerous. Don't get a ladder; you have to stand on the top steps. The top of the ladder should be at least at a level where you can touch it with your hand or at waist level. This way, you can hold the top of the ladder with one hand while working. Make sure the ladder is steady before you climb it. It should be on solid ground, or it may dig into the ground when you are leaning over to reach something.
Existing guttering will have to be removed before installing new guttering. This can be more difficult than it appears to be. It's a good idea to purchase long nails and pound them in at intervals to hold up the guttering as you remove it. This will prevent the guttering from falling and make removal more difficult. In some cases, you may have screws to remove, but a hacksaw may be needed for some types of brackets. Also, think about buying some rope to lower the old guttering gently to the ground.
Generally speaking, guttering tends to get overlooked over the years as it is usually high up and not as easy to maintain as other household items. But sometimes, your guttering will need attention, and whether you are replacing existing guttering or adding new, you can follow the steps below to help you. If you have any questions or would like to speak to someone about your project, please don't hesitate to call us on 1300 886 944. For detail on our comprehensive guttering range, please click here
- Cut gutter to length for each fascia run. You can use tin snips or a hacksaw for this. Overlap joints by a minimum of 100mm in the flow direction.
- Run roof and gutter sealant (usually silicone) across the base and up the sides of the overlap. Turn the gutter upside down and join together with appropriate rivets. Ensure you seal around the rivets and along the seam with the sealant, smoothing so that water flow is not obstructed.
Attaching The Stop-Ends
- Position the stop-ends and pre-drill in readiness for riveting. It is best to make two holes on the back, two across the base and 2 (if possible) on the face side.
- Run a bead of sealant along the overlap, position the stop-end, fix securely using rivets. Finally, add a small touch of sealant to the rivets.
- Note: Left and right stop-ends are available, so please ensure you have the correct items
Assemble The Spout
- Downpipe spouts must line up with stormwater pipes. Mark the centre of the outlet on the base of the gutter. Place the spout, flange side down, and score around the inside with a pencil. Put timber blocks under the hole and cut into the gutter with a chisel enough to enable you to get tin snips in to shape the hole. Then, cut 1-2mm outside the line you drew with your tin snips.
- Note: Red snips cut right-handed, and green snips cut left-handed.
- Place the spout into the hole and pre-drill all four holes on the short sides of the flange for rivets. Once drilled, remove the spout and run a bead of sealant around the opening. Place the spout into the sealant and secure it with rivets.
Preparation For A Mitre
You will undoubtedly need to mitre your gutter at some stage. To do this, accurately measure and mark up the mitred corners.
Note: Remember, for internal mitres, the face sides are shorter than the back. For external mitres, the face sides are longer than the back.
- Measure the width of your gutter and then use this measurement along the back or face top edge. Mark this point and draw a 45º line to the cross to the opposite corner. It would be best if you allowed 5mm length for the bracket.
- Check the mitre fits in the corner bracket before you secure it. Once you are happy, run a bead of sealant along the bottom edge of the gutter and the top edge of the lower bracket only. Temporarily clamp and tighten the internal bracket in place.
- NOTE: Do not secure the top internal part of the bracket until the second half of the mitre has been positioned.
Hanging The Gutter
- To set the required fall of your gutter, put a nail 10mm below the top edge of the fascia at the high end. Calculate minimum gutter fall of 1:50 (that is for 2mm of fall for each metre of the gutter.) then, put a nail at the lower end, fix a string line between the nails, and check fall with a spirit level.
- Place your brackets along the string line at a maximum of 1200mm centres and secure them with Bugle Phillips head screws.
- You may need help to lift longer gutter lengths. With external brackets, roll the tip of the bracket strap over the top rolled edge.
- NOTE: alternatively, you can use suspension clips to give you the desired fall you need.
- Buildings with eaves need a downpipe offset to route the downpipe to the back to the wall. They can be purchased with a slip joint. Prepare the lower offset first and place it against the wall in readiness to align with the upper offset.
- To do this, use a plumb line from the outer edge of the spout down the side of the downpipe (that is coming out at an angle from the wall.) and mark it. The lowest point is the centre point of the upper offset cut.
- The second piece of the downpipe is then used to connect the downpipe to the stormwater at 45 degrees. Measure the length required to bring the downpipe inside the stormwater and mark this around the downpipe. (To set 45 degrees on the face, draw a line half the width of the downpipe on either side of the first line and cut out as far as the lower offset)
- Finally, put the bottom half of the downpipe inside the upper section. Position for a tight fit between the gutter and stormwater. Secure downpipe sections together (using rivets) at the back, then rivet the downpipe to the spout. Fix the downpipe to the wall with two brackets and masonry anchors.
Some types of guttering come with guttering fascia that directs water into the guttering. Install this last. It usually fits under the roofing material and is designed to make water flow directly into the guttering. It is unnecessary in every case, but maybe necessary for some roofs.
Depending on the amount of guttering you need, installing guttering may not be a weekend project. Only install guttering when you are confident rain is not coming soon. If you think the rain may come, remove the old guttering one side at a time so the old guttering can collect the rainwater. You don't want water pouring off the roof, damaging your garden, or even undermining the house foundations.
Different types of guttering may have different installation instructions, but whatever type of guttering you choose, start from the downpipe end of the guttering. A string line will help you install the guttering properly. It should have a slight slope towards the downpipe to prevent water from pooling. 10mm for every 6 metres of lengths should be enough and noticeable after the guttering is installed. The stringing will help you get the right slope, and you can follow the chalk line as you install the guttering.