Installation of gutters is not an easy job and it is best to entrust this task to an experienced roofer. However, after thorough familiarisation with the manufacturer’s instructions and with great attention to detail, we can try to do it ourselves. Find out how to properly gutter your house and what mistakes to avoid.
To begin installation of the gutter system, it is necessary to determine where we want to place the outflow from the gutter to the downpipe. This will be the lowest point of the guttering. After installing the drain, we must appropriately place the hooks. Their location determines several conditions that must be met for the proper operation of the installation.
The first is the maintenance of the gutter slope. The slope should be 3-5 mm for every running meter. This will ensure effective and efficient water drainage into the outlet. The recommended solution is to install the two outermost hooks at heights appropriate for the required gradient and to lay a string between them to mark the position of the intermediate hooks.
When installing hooks, remember that they cannot be further away than 15 cm from drains, connectors and corners. Therefore, it is advisable to lay out the gutters along the wall in advance and plan the positioning of all elements. In other places, the spacing of hooks may be up to 60 cm. Lesser spacing may cause deformation or damage to the gutters. If the gutters are expected to be subjected to significant snow and ice loads, this distance can be reduced to 50 cm.
At what height should I install the gutters?
Another thing to watch is to place the hooks at the right height. If the gutter is placed too high, water may not find its way to it, thus splashing on the façade and the space around the house. If, on the other hand, the hooks are mounted too low, the guttering will be damaged by snow sliding off the roof and falling straight into it. Correctly installed gutter system should extend beyond the end of the roofing at least half of its width, and the line extending the roof plane should go about 1-2 cm above the gutter. This way, the water flowing from the roof will be able to get to the gutter without any problems.
Once the hooks are ready, the installation of the gutters can begin. To do this, cut them to the appropriate length and cut round holes of the downpipe diameter in the places where the outflows are to be located. The seals of the fittings must be lubricated with a lubricant to allow for gutter movements due to temperature changes.
The expansion joint between the gutters is important.
Remember that gutters have to withstand extreme weather conditions, especially in the Polish climate. In summer, they are exposed to heat and high insolation, and in winter they struggle with frost, snow pressure and ice. As a result, the length of gutters changes throughout the year. The elements lengthen and shrink depending on the temperature, which is why it is so important for the gutters to be mobile (i.e. snap-fit, without gluing, screwing or welding), and for adequate expansion space to be left in the connector. Its absence may cause deformation of the gutters. Some manufacturers place special lines that indicate the mutual position of the elements, depending on the temperature that prevails during installation. Thanks to this, we do not have to think about how to choose the right expansion joint width.
After installing the gutters, we must not forget to finish them off with sealing plugs. It is also worth carrying out a test at this stage to check if everything has been done correctly so far. Water poured into the gutter should flow quickly to the drain and not create anywhere so-called stagnation, i.e. places where it will stop. If the position of the hooks needs to be corrected, it is better to notice it before installing the downpipes.
How to do the installation of downpipes?
To start installation of downpipes you need to bring the installation closer to the façade. To do this, two elbows with an angle of 45 degrees each are mounted to the drain. If necessary, a piece of straight pipe can be placed between them to achieve the expected distance from the house wall. Next, we install dowels with clamps to the façade. Their length should be selected individually according to the thickness of the building insulation. Downpipes are mounted in clamps, which must then be screwed together. However, it is necessary to choose the right tightening force so that the pipe is not damaged and at the same time to ensure its secure fixing. The distance between clamps should not be greater than 1.8 m.
Finally, the only thing left to do is to drain the water from the whole system. This can be done by draining into the sewer system or into the ground. In the first case, a settling tank connected to the sewerage system is placed in the ground, a hole is cut in it corresponding to the diameter of the downpipe and the whole system is connected together.
If you want the water to be drained on the ground, it is enough to end the downpipe with a spout or an elbow. Its end should be placed at least 20 cm above the ground.
The manufacturer’s instructions are a must read
At every stage of the gutter system installation, special care must be taken, especially at connections, drains and corners. This will result in the effective operation of the system for years. The time saved by inaccurate installation will be more than compensated by replacing damaged elements, removing stains or repairing the façade. Even if you have had to install gutters before, you should follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer, because each system differs to a greater or lesser extent.