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Gutter Installation Tips

Getting Started

I always like to start with a material list. Simple pictures will help you save money on a gutter job. Draw a separate line indicating each gutter you need to install. Mark how long each gutter will be above or below the line. This allows you to determining how much material you will need. Traditional aluminum gutters come in sizes ranging from 16 to 37 feet in size. The waste piece from one gutter may be enough for a smaller run on the other side. Plan your cuts and waste should be minimal. The pictures will also allow you to easily calculate end caps, outlet tubes, inside and outside miters, pop rivets, etc. Don't forget the special flexible sealant that you must use at each "seam". Don't experiment with silicone or other caulks! Use exactly what the manufacturer recommends!

Cutting Aluminum

I found that a fine tooth hacksaw (24 or more teeth per inch) works just fine. I also use my power miter box saw on occasion. However, the miter box saw sends shrapnel flying. It is dangerous, but fast. If you use sawhorses or other benches, cover them with carpet scraps or old towels. Without this covering you will scratch the prepasted finish. A gutter that goes around a 90 degree angle is made by assembling two pieces that have a 45 degree angle cut.

Assembling Pieces

Aluminum gutters are held together with pop rivets. They are made the same color as the gutter you are installing. End caps, outlet tubes, miter joints, etc. all come with predrilled holes from the factory. You slide these pieces onto (into) the gutter. Using a drill with an 1/8 inch bit, you simply drill through the hole into the gutter. After the first hole is drilled, install a rivet. If you don't do this, subsequent holes may not line up. Drill, then rivet, drill, then rivet.........

Sealants

Leaks are prevented by using the proper number of rivets and the proper sealant. Alcoa's sealant reminds me of liquid rubber. It dries very quickly, is sticky as all get out and stretchhhhhhs. If you get it on your fingers, watch out! You will stick to anything. The sealant is applied after all the riveting is done. You apply the sealant to the INSIDE only of the gutter seams!!!!! Apply a liberal amount as the sealant has a large volume of vehicle. This vehicle evaporates leaving the sealant behind. DON'T spread the sealant with a tool. Just let it flow over the joints. It will look messy, but heck, only the birds can see it. Gutters and accessory pieces must be dry. Wipe the dew off when working in the morning.

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