How to Secure Aluminum Gutters to Your House

Gutter systems protect the home from water damage.
Gutter systems protect the home from water damage. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Gutters are a series of half-round drain pipes installed along the eaves of a home to carry the water that drains from the roof away from the home. They are created from a number of materials, including aluminum, which is one of the most common types of guttering. Installation is similar to most other gutter types, with the added bonus being that aluminum is paintable, making it more flexible than others when it comes to blending into the home’s color scheme.

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Part of the mounting process is proper layout to ensure that the guttering drains as opposed to holding water, which leads to sagging gutters, or gutters that eventually fall off the home. A crucial step prior to mounting the gutters is to determine the slope of your gutters to any drain pipes. As a general rule, this needs to be 1/2 inch for every 10 feet of run. For lengths longer than 40 feet, find the center point of the wall and slope the guttering downward to each corner and the drain pipes. Measure the wall and make your calculations standing on the ground, rather than on top of the ladder, for ease of installation.

Layout Lines

After you have determined the amount of slope needed for your particular run, mark the highest point of the gutter on the fascia of the home at least 1 and 1/4 inch down from below the drip-edge flashing of the roof. Use your calculations from earlier, and move to the opposite end of the fascia; mark the lowest point of the guttering to allow for slope. Measure down from the flashing for ease of use. If you are working alone as opposed to with a partner, sink a nail slightly into the fascia at your first pencil mark, then stretch a chalk line to your second mark to snap the line.

Bracket Installation

Visually inspect the fascia to locate the rafter tails, which are easily visible by the nails, which should be showing through the surface of the fascia, even if they have been painted over. Install brackets for the guttering system over these rafter tails, sinking the lag screws/mounting hardware through the brackets into the tails through the fascia. Every other tail generally is sufficient for bracket placement, although you can use every rafter tail if you desire extra support, such as in windy or stormy areas. Use the sloped pencil line as a guide when placing the brackets along the fascia.

Mounting and Caulking

Mount the aluminum gutters in the brackets. Place the guttering in place, then use the predrilled holes on the brackets to slot a drill bit through, and drill a pilot hole in the side wall of the guttering after it has been placed. From there, attach the aluminum guttering to the brackets with the associated hardware, usually a screw with a flanged nut on the end. Make sure to overlap any joined sections by at least 8 inches and coat them with silicone caulking. Also ensure end caps are coated with silicone above and beyond any mounting hardware.

Expert Tips

Opt for a snapped chalk line as opposed to trying to work with a bulky straightedge or level. Most roofs already have flashing installed. If not, install flashing under the last row of shingles. Lift up the last row of shingles and attach the flashing with roofing nails under the shingles. For extra support, add silicone caulking to the backs of the flashing pieces before nailing. Ensure they drop down into the insides of the guttering for proper drainage. For best results during cutting, use electric metal shears or tin snips.

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