How To Gutters

Whether you are a gutter installer, building contractor, plumber or home owner - you can learn how to install guttering on any residential property with this comprehensive explanation:

Contractor safety

Please take note of safety protocols. Use strong gloves to protect your hands and use a tool belt to keep your tools in, as you will be working from a height and this will save time and be safer, as you do not have to climb up and down the ladder each time you need something.

Make sure your ladder is secure whilst working or have someone support the ladder while working from it. Wear rubber soled shoes to prevent slipping and move the ladder frequently while you are working to stop the ladder from tipping over due to stretching or leaning to reach something. If you are installing gutters on a double story building, then you may need to erect scaffolding . You must be harnessed while you are working on the scaffolding for your own safety.


  • Gutter pipes (Large roofs need 100 x 75mm guttering) - you can use aluminium, plastic/vinyl, copper or cast iron. This tutorial is suitable for aluminium and plastic guttering.
  • Rivets (2mm and 3.2mm)
  • Timber offcuts
  • Stop ends (left and right)
  • Brackets (Dependant of the size of the area you are working on)
  • Downpipes (as many as you need for sufficient drainage)
  • Spouts for the downpipes
  • Gutter and roof silicone
  • Nails (40mm twist galvanized gutter nails)
  • Masonry anchors


  • Rivet gun
  • Drill
  • Screwdrivers
  • Measuring tape
  • Chisel
  • Hacksaw or tin snips
  • Hammer
  • Ladder
  • String
  • Toolbelt (optional)

Building measurements

When measuring the house it is best to draw it to scale and make note of all the fascia runs on the roof. Remember to add a minimum of 100mm extra length and double your width measurements for your guttering as you will lose some length when cutting. If you will be using returning stop ends then add the width of the gutter. This does not apply if using internal corners or pre-made stop ends. Long gutter runs will need to slope in both directions so get an extra downpipe in cases like this.
Step 1 – Gutter assembly

  • Use your hacksaw or tin snips to cut your guttering to the length of each fascia run. Predrill your overlap joins which should be a minimum of 100mm in the direction of the water flow. Silicone should be run over the base and sides of the overlap. Turn your guttering over, overlap the predrilled holes and, using your 3.2mm rivets, join them. Seal the seam and your rivets with the silicone. Smooth the silicone so that the water flow is not hampered.

Step 2 – Stop-end attachment

  • Position your stop ends and predrill 6 holes for riveting. 2 holes up the back, 2 across the base and 2 up the face side. Use your silicone over the overlap and again on your rivets after securing your stop end with the 2mm rivets.

Step 3 – Spout assembly

  • Your spouts must meet, or line up to, storm water drains or pipes. Trace the inside of the inside of the spout with the flange side down. Put some timber offcuts under the hole and, using the chisel, cut a V-shaped notch. Take the tin snips and cut 1-2mm outside of the lines. Pre-drill two 2mm holes on the short sides of the flange for rivets after slipping the spout into the outlet hole. Take the spout off and place silicone around the opening. Place the spout back and secure using your rivets.

Step 4 – Mitre preparation

  • Internal mitres have shorter face sides compared to the back and external mitres have longer face sides. Take the width measurement of the gutter and move it to the back or face top edge of the mitre. Mark and draw a 45 degree line to the opposite corner keeping 5mm length for the bracket. Test this with the corner bracket. Take your silicone and run it on the bottom edge of the gutter and the top edge of the lower bracket. Clamp and tighten the internal bracket temporarily. The top internal bracket piece must not be glued until you have positioned the second half of the mitre.

Step 5 – Gutter installation

  • Now that all your preparation is complete you can hang the gutter! Make sure to have a slope to avoid water pooling in your gutters. Drive a nail 10mm at the high end of the fascia just below the top end. Ideally you need a minimum gutter slope of 1:500 for 2mm fall of each gutter. Put a second nail in the low end. Tie a string between your nails and use a spirit level to gauge the slope. Using the string line as a guide, place your brackets with a maximum of 1200mm gaps. Stabilise them with your nails. Lift the gutter runs and get help as you will now roll the tip of the bracket strap over the rolled edge of your gutter. Use the nails to fix the back top edge of the gutter to the fascia.

Step 6 – Downpipe additions

  • Keep in mind that if the house has eaves then the downpipe offset must return the downpipe to the wall and you can buy these with a slip joint. Start with your lower offset positioning it against the wall to line up with the upper offset. Cut the downpipe face with this joint. Using a plumb line from the outside edge of the spout downwards to the side of the downpipe and mark it. Cut the downpipe seam with this joint. Take a second piece of the downpipe to join it to the storm water at a 45 degree angle. Measure the length required for the downpipe to meet the storm water and mark it on the pipe. For the 45 degree angle on the face, draw a line that is half the width of the pipe on either side of the first line you marked and then cut it as far as the lower offset. Slide the bottom half of the downpipe inside the top half make sure it is a tight fit between the gutter and storm water. Rivet down the back to connect the sections and then connect the downpipe to the spout with more rivets. Anchor the downpipe to the wall with two brackets and masonry anchors.

Builders Tips
You can save the water from your gutters in a water drum and use it for various garden uses. You can also install a gutter guard over your gutters in order to minimise the debris that ends up in your gutters over time.

Compiled by Sky Wolmarans for Builders’ Space. Source and pictures: Readers Digest.