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Gutters and Gutter Hangers Installation

Gutters and Gutter Hangers - Installation

Continuous aluminum gutters are absolutely the dominant rain handling device in the USA today. It is no wonder, as they are virtually maintenance free. You never have to worry about rust. They rarely require painting, unless you change the color of your home. They are indeed a great product.


I prefer to use Alcoa aluminum gutters. These come preformed from the factory and are available in lengths up to 36 or 37 feet. That is one long gutter. They come in smaller lengths as well. But don't think you are going to strap these things to the top of your car and drive home. They need to be supported and preferably protected from the wind. They will bend back on themselves if you drive too fast. I have transported them on top of a long ladder. Perhaps the best way is to simply pay the roofing supply company a reasonable delivery fee to bring them safely to your home.

Cutting Gutters

Believe it or not, I use my power miter box saw and an older somewhat dull blade to cut aluminum gutters. It makes a painful sound but the job gets done and the cut edge is very crisp and square. You can use a traditional hacksaw but be sure you use a blade with many teeth instead of an aggressive blade that has fewer teeth per inch.

If you use a power miter box saw as I do, be sure to bring the blade up to speed and drop the blade SLOWLY into the metal. Do not cut quickly. You must wear goggles as little bits of metal go flying all over the place.

Other Tools

Assembling aluminum gutter parts requires a power drill with an 1/8 inch bit, a pop rivet gun with aluminum rivets that match the color of the gutters, a hammer, a 1/2 inch sharp wood chisel and a hex nut driving tool to twist the screw on the hanger.


I prefer to assemble the entire gutter on the ground and then lift it in place. You need to cut the gutter to length keeping in mind the small overhang of shingles at the edge of the roof. I made a mistake years ago and stopped my gutter just beyond my gutter board. My shingles extended about 1.5 inches beyond the end of the gutter. Each time it rained I would get a drip, drip, drip from the end of the roof. It was a big nuisance!

The gutters come with left and right end caps. They already have pre-drilled holes for the rivets. Pop the caps onto the end of the gutter and drill through the holes to make a matching hole in the gutter. Immediately install a rivet before proceeding to the next hole. Make sure the cap is tightly fitted before you drill into the gutter.

The Outlet Tube

Installing outlet tubes is the hardest part of the job. You must make sure you locate them in the right place with respect to the downspout location. I typically use a framing square on the wall below to translate the center line of the downspout up to the gutter board.

Once you know where the centerline of the outlet tube is in the gutter you can mark its location. Use the actual outlet tube as your template to draw the hole shape. Drop it upside down into the gutter and trace the inside outline of the hole.

Slide a scrap piece of 2x4 or other wood under the gutter at the location of the outlet tube. Make sure the gutter is not on pavement that will scratch the underside of the gutter. The block of wood allows you to use the wood chisel to cut the hole.

Note that the wood chisel has a flat black side and a taper or angled face. The angled face always should be facing to the inside of the outlet hole. Use the hammer to tap the wood chisel. It will cut through the aluminum. It may also slightly bend the bottom of the gutter as you cut the hole. Don't worry about this. Be sure you are cutting the right sized hole. The tolerances are very tight. Cut too small and the tube won't fit. Cut too large and there will be no gutter left at the pre-drilled holes in the outlet tube flange.

Once you have cut the hole, put the block of wood inside the gutter and use the hammer to flatten the bottom of the gutter. The drill and pop rivets are installed now. I prefer to have the rivet heads on the bottom of the gutter. The little dimple points will stick up inside the gutter but who cares.

The Sealant

Alcoa manufactures a special sealant that makes their systems leak proof. This product comes in squeeze tubes and is very sticky. It contains very flammable solvents that evaporate rapidly. The product skins over in just seconds so you must work quickly. I prefer to squirt the sealant into the cracks of the end caps while the gutter is on the ground. You can tilt the gutter slightly to get the sealant to the top of the cracks. After the end caps are finished, apply the sealant liberally over the flange of the outlet tube. Be sure to have it span over onto the gutter and seal each rivet.

Start at the Middle

Believe it or not, you can carry and install a 35 foot piece of gutter by yourself. The trick is to hold it in the middle so it is balanced. Position the ladder in the right place. Be sure no overhead electric lines will come in contact with the gutter. The gutter needs just a little bit of fall as it heads towards the outlet tube. You can't slope the gutter as you would a plumbing drain line. If you do, it will end up hanging below the gutter board.

Always install the gutter hangers at a rafter tail, unless you are lucky enough to have solid framing behind the entire length of the gutter board. This is a luxury. If you can paint your gutter board before installing the gutter, do so. Paint the entire surface of the board.

For color photos of screw type gutter hangers, click here.

Stop - Check this out! Hi, it's me Tim Carter.
Do you want a bid on the same gutter guards I used on my home?
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If you do fill out the form at the MasterShield page, they pay me a very small commission.

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