Things to think about
When working on guttering, safety is the first concern. Gutter work should ideally be carried out from fixed scaffolding.
Guttering can be made from different materials, but you will find it most commonly made from UPVC. This type of guttering is lightweight, straightforward to fit and requires little maintenance. This leaflet shows how to fit this type of guttering, although the same principles can be applied to other types.
Guttering is supplied in standard lengths, normally 2 or 4m. It is easily cut with a hand saw. On a long run, where lengths require joining, use joint brackets. These wide support clips with rubber gaskets create a watertight joint.
Gutter profiles are commonly half-round in section, but other profiles are available, which are squarer or more ornate.
When fitting guttering base decisions on which way a run will flow according to the position of gullies and drains, because this is where the downpipes must be directed. Some downpipes will terminate above ground and others underground, so take this into account when deciding whether you need a downpipe shoe at the ottom, or just to let the pipe run directly into the drain.
Leaking, blocked or badly placed gutters can cause problems with damp. This is easily avoided if gutters are kept clear of debris, and loose joints are fixed as soon as you see them. Rain water is conventionally directed into underground drainage systems, but can be collected in water butts positioned below gutter downpipes and recycled for watering the garden.
Blocked downpipes often result from a build up of leaves and debris finding its way into the drainage system. Consider fitting leaf guards to prevent this from happening. A well-maintained guttering system will increase the efficient flow of water from roof to drain.
Guttering systems that recycle rain water for household use are available. This is eco-friendly and will save money on your water bill.
A gutter run must slope slightly so that water will run efficiently to the downpipes. The gradient needed to maintain this flow is 1:350 or 1cm in every 3.5m.
To repair a leak at a gutter joint, it is best to replace the joint than to use a sealant to patch it up
Fit or repair guttering
Fix the first support bracket high up on the fascia board, under the roof covering, at the opposite end from where the running outlet will be.
Fix a second bracket at the far end of the gutter run (where the running outlet will be). Position lower than the first bracket to create a drop of 1cm for every 3.5m along.
With both brackets in place, tie off a length of string line between them. The line should be pulled taut between the two brackets.
Check that the line is running downhill. Hold a spirit level against the taut line and check to see that the bubble is slightly off centre.
With the first two support brackets in place, you are now able to fix further brackets at 1m intervals between them. On a long run, where gutter lengths will require joining, you will need to fit joint brackets along with the standard support brackets. In this way a watertight joint can be made where needed, while at the same time ensuring that the longer gutter lengths are adequately supported from one end to the other.
Position the second bracket 1m from the first bracket, ensuring that the string line is just touching the internal edge of the bracket, as shown.
Fix the bracket in place. Make sure that it is vertical and double-check that the string just touches the bottom of the inner edge of the bracket.
If you have a long spirit level, you can lay it between brackets as another way of making sure you are maintaining the slight downhill gradient.
Continue on to the next bracket, another metre further down the gutter run. Repeat the fixing procedure until brackets are positioned all the way across.
With the brackets in position, you can now move on to fitting the guttering. Measure the full length of the proposed gutter run and mark off on a section of guttering. Fit the running outlet next to the lowest bracket. Take note of the guideline (marked as ‘insert to here’) inside the running outlet as these show where the gutter end should finish. At the other end, in this case at the edge of the roof itself, allow enough length so that the tile overhang is accommodated.
UPVC guttering may be cut with a hacksaw or fine tooth hand saw. File any rough edges on the cut ends to make sure it is perfectly smooth.
Simply clip the lengths in place inside the support brackets and running outlet. Fit a stop end on the open end of the run. If too long, trim and reposition.
At the running outlet, use offset bends to direct the downpipe towards the wall above the gulley or drain – the place where the water will run away.
Cut the downpipe to length. Fix brackets at the top, bottom and at 1.8m intervals in between. Use a downpipe shoe at the base of the pipe if required.
With the gutter run complete, be sure to test the flow of the water by pouring a bucket of water in at the high end. The water should drain easily down to the running outlet and into the downpipe. If a joint bracket has been included in the run, check whether this leaks or not. If it does, unclip it, make sure that the rubber gaskets are positioned correctly and reassemble. Consider fitting a leaf guard over the outlet to help prevent blockages.
What you’ll need
Fixed scaffolding (if required)
Drill/driver and bits
Fine tooth hand saw
Common guttering components
Stopend outlet (A)
Joint bracket (B)
Support bracket (D)
Running outlet (E)
Gutter angle (F)
External stopend (G)
Downpipe branch (I)
Downpipe connector (J)
Downpipe bracket (K)
Adjustable offset bend (L)
Drain adaptor (M)
Drain pipe parts explained: