How to Cut a Downspout


Guttering protects your home by capturing rainwater and channeling it away from the foundation. The downspout of your gutter is the section that takes the water down the side of the house to the out-flow. Cutting the downspout to position the out-flow where you want it only takes a couple of minutes, a few tools and some know how.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Rivet gun with 1/4-inch head rivets
  • Drill with 3/8-inch bi-metal bit
  • Tin snips
  • Leather work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Measure from the bottom of the main gutter to the ground. Place your tape measure at the flat of the main gutter, not the down spout connection, and measure down. Subtract 6 inches from this measurement to determine the length of your downspout.

  • Transfer your measurement to the downspout and make a mark on both sides with your pencil. Hook the tape measure on one side, stretch it down the downspout and mark the measurement. Make another mark 2 inches longer than the first. Make a third mark 2 inches shorter than the first. Repeat these marks on the other side of the downspout.

  • Cut the downspout with your tin snips. Begin your cut at one corner on the end you wish to make your cut. Cut up the corner to your closest measurement mark. Cut the closest corner to your first cut to the same spot. Make a cut between the first two cuts to remove the scrap.

  • Cut from your notch around the downspout with your snips. Cut to the far corner, around the other side (being sure to hit your other mark), and around the back to the far side of the notch. Discard the scrap pieces. Cut up each corner from your first cut to the next mark with your tin snips. This will give you four 2-inch tabs to insert into the out flow.

  • Slide the uncut end of the downspout up onto the connection on the main gutter. Drill through the side of the downspout and into the connector. Slide a rivet shaft into the rivet gun. Press the head of the rivet into the drill hole and squeeze the handle of your rivet gun to lock the rivet into place. Repeat the drill and rivet on the other side of the downspout to connect it to the main gutter.

  • Slide the outflow over the tabs and even with your top mark. Drill and rivet both sides to secure the out-flow to the downspout.

Tips & Warnings

  • After cutting and connecting the downspout and out-flow to your main gutter, you will want to secure it to the house with a strap or two. A strap every 6 feet will ensure the safety of your downspout.
  • Tin snips pose cut-and-pinch-point hazards. Use caution and common sense when using this or any other tool.
  • Metal poses a cut hazard. When cutting metal, take your time and use caution and common sense to ensure that you are cutting the metal and it is not cutting you.

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