How To Install A Gutter Downspout – Do It Yourself

How To Install A Gutter Downspout – Do It Yourself

Anthony Barnes

Need to Hire a Plumber?
Get a free estimate online from top local home service pros in your area.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases.

Gutters are important parts of your home. They collect water from rain or snowmelt and direct it away from your house.

The problem is that gutters can get clogged with leaves, sticks, dirt, and other debris over time. 

If they become blocked, water can leak into your basement or crawlspace instead of flowing out through the roof.

This can cause serious damage to your home.

Installing a gutter (see also ‘How To Install Seamless Gutters‘) downspout is a simple project. In this article, we’ll show you step-by-step how to install a gutter system. You will need:

1) A 2×4 board for the top plate.

2) A piece of plywood for the bottom plate.

3) A level.

4) Some screws.

5) A drill/driver (or power miter saw).

6) A helper.

7) A hose or garden spigot.

8) A ladder.

9) Sandpaper.

10) A brush.

11) A few nails.

12) A pair of gloves.

13) Optional tools: screw gun, hammer, tape measure, etc.

14) Optional materials: gutter adapters, flashing, caulk, etc.

15) Optional extras: paint, stain, sealer, etc.

Planning

Home centers and hardware stores sell gutters designed for easy installation.

With just a little extra effort, you can make your gutters stronger and better looking, too!

Gutter replacements should be done by professionals. But if you want to do it yourself, inspect the fascia and soffits first.

Look for rotten wood. Don’t forget to prime and paint bare wood.

Rain gutters should be installed high enough to catch water off the roof, but low enough to prevent debris from entering the house.

Downspouts should extend 4 ft. away from the house. You should plan to install 3 elbows per downspout.

Downspouts should be located in unobstructed areas where rainwater can be directed away from your home.

Downspouts should be placed in inconspicuous locations such as under bushes, around shrubs, or out of sight.

Downspouts should slope downward from the center of the roofline and be installed on both sides of the house.

Roof hangers should be used to mount downspouts to the fascia board.

Step-By-Step Guide

How To Install A Gutter Downspout - Do It Yourself

Plan ahead to leave the best-looking factory-cut end on top if possible.

Lap the rain gutters so that the inside section faces downhill to prevent water from being pushed out the seams.

Cut off the end of the gutter as close to the fascia board as possible.

Then you should put an end cap with rivet joints and then seal them with gutter sealant from the inside.

Step 1

Measure and mark the location where you want the downspout to go. It should be at least 3 feet above the ground.

Mark on both sides of the downspout so that you know exactly where it needs to go.

Measure from the corner of the building to the center of the downspout. Double-check for obstructions.

Transfer the measurement to the gutter and then cut out an outlet.

Pro Tip

This method takes a bit more time than using the shorter section with an already installed outlet, but it eliminates seams and looks nicer.

Mark the center of the downspout outlet on the bottom edge of the gutter. Place the outlet, flange down, and over the mark.

Trace around the inside edge of the gutter and cut out the hole. A V-shaped notch is made using a chisel.

Two pieces of wood are used to hold up the gutter while the notch is cut.

Step 2

Attach the top plate to the wall using two screws in each corner. Make sure that the screws are going straight up into the studs.

Step 3

Use a level to make sure that the top plate is plumb.

Step 4

Cut the downspout to length using a circular saw or jigsaw.

Rain gutters should be cut into sections, then joined by making notches along the top edge.

This prevents water from flowing down the sides of the gutter. Snip the outlet hole with offset snips.

Pro Tip

Red tin snips cut counterclockwise. Green snippers cut clockwise. Use either type of snip to cut an opening in the outlet.

Make sure you’re cutting inside the lines marked by the manufacturer.

Step 5

Attach the downspout to the top plate using some screws. Lay a bead of gutter sealing along with the corner 1-in. behind the edge.

Hook the corner over the notch in the gutter and snap it into place.

Step 6

Attach the bottom plate to the downspout using screws. Join the gutter to the wall corner with 6 rivets in the locations as shown.

Drill a 1/8-inch hole in the gutter for each rivet. Install the first rivet with a rivet gun.

Now, drill the remaining holes and attach the other rivets.

Step 7

Attach the hanger brackets to the top plate. These brackets allow the downspout to hang freely without touching the wall.

Screws should be installed every 2 ft. Gutter hanger installation is very easy.

You need to screw the hangers into the fascia every two feet.

Make sure your hangers are level before driving them into the flashing and the fascia.

Pro Tip

Don’t try to slide the hangers over the edges of the gutter. Screws are difficult to start when using a hand-held power tool.

Use a drill press or an electric impact driver instead. Drill holes in the gutter and then use a hammer and nails to secure the screws.

Step 8

Attach the end caps to the bottom plate. Downspouts should be assembled with the crimped end facing down.

Sheet metal screws are preferred over rivets. Pre-painted 1/4-inch hex head screws are easier to use than regular screws.

A hacksaw works well for cutting downspout tubes. A circular saw works best for cutting gutter and downspout tubes.

Pro Tip

Wear safety goggles, leather gloves, denim pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when using a hacksaw or circular saw.

Step 9

Fill any holes in the bottom plate using wood filler.

Step 10

Using sandpaper, smooth out the surface of the downspout.

Step 11

Paint or stain the downspout if desired.

Step 12

Attach the gutter adapter to the downspout. This allows the downspout to fit into different types of gutters.

Step 13

Attach the guttering to the downspout by pushing it onto the gutter adapter.

Pop rivets should be used instead of screws when securing a downspout to a gutter.

A downspout elbow must be attached to a downspout outlet before being attached to the gutter.

Two downspout brackets are needed for a one-story house, while three are needed for a two-story house.

Step 14

Attach the downspout to the top plate. Gutter jobs should be done as soon as possible.

You may need to hire someone to do this work. Use U-shaped brackets to attach downspouts to walls.

Screws should be used to secure the brackets to the wall.

Downspout tubes should be added to the elbows to redirect water away from the foundation of your house.

Step 15

Attach the down pipe to the downspout with some screws.

Step 16

Run a hose or garden spigots into the downspout. You can also use a pressure washer to clean out the downspout.

Just remember to shut off the water before cleaning!

Step 17

Remove the downspout and replace it with a new one.

Step 18

Repeat steps 1-17 until all of your gutters have been installed.

Step 19

Enjoy your new gutter system! Cleaning gutters (see also ‘How To Clean Gutters From The Ground‘) twice a year is a great idea because it prevents clogged pipes and other problems.

Hiring a company to clean gutters is also a smart move because you’ll avoid the hassle of doing it yourself.

Gutters are important pieces of your home. They help keep your home dry during heavy rains or when there’s a lot of snowfall.

However, gutters can become clogged with leaves, branches, and other debris over the years.

When this happens, water can leak into the basement or crawlspace instead.

This can lead to serious problems such as mold growth and rotting wood. 

What If You Don’t Have Gutters?

How To Install A Gutter Downspout - Do It Yourself

Rainwater should be diverted away from your house. You need gutters to protect your house from the rain.

Basements should be waterproofed. Gutter systems should be designed to drain water away from homes. 

Gutters should be installed so that they slope (see also ‘How To Fix Gutter Slope – Do It Yourself‘) down towards the downspout.

Gutter systems should be made out of durable material. Aluminum is recommended as it will last longer than other materials.

Vinyl Gutters

Gutter systems made out of vinyl are affordable, but they are not as durable as other types of gutter systems.

Vinyl is the lowest-priced option, so it is usually the first thing people replace if it gets damaged.

This type of gutter system does not last very long. They are cheap, lightweight, easy to install, and available in different colors. 

However, they have a lack of durability, may become brittle or crack in heat, and have increased maintenance and replacement costs.

Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum gutters are lightweight and easy to install. They are also inexpensive. Their lightweight makes them vulnerable to damage.

Repair costs could be high if you choose to replace them. Steel is a metal used for making many things, including cars and buildings.

It is strong and reliable. But steel is also prone to corrosion. This makes it more expensive to replace than other metals.

Steel Gutters

Steel gutters are typically made out of steel, but they can be made out of other materials too.

Steel gutters are more durable than aluminum ones, and they last longer. Steel gutters are also easier to install because they don’t bend easily.

Steel gutters are usually used for homes in areas that experience harsh weather conditions.

Steel is more durable than aluminum, and it lasts longer.

Steel gutters resist damage and dings better than aluminum ones.

Steel is also a great option for places where there is a lot of activity, such as basketball courts.

They are durable and strong, corrosion-resistant, low maintenance, and have an attractive steel finish.

The downside to them is that they have an increased price compared to vinyl or aluminum. They are difficult to install and lack color options. 

Copper Gutters

Copper gutters cost per linear foot. Downspouts start around 17 dollars per foot. Copper is very durable and effective.

Over time, copper can turn greenish-yellow if exposed to sunlight. You should consider this when choosing your gutter material.

Copper gutters are very attractive and long-lasting. But they were also expensive.

They develop an interesting patina over time, and the copper oxidizes over time if left untreated.

There are no guarantees about what the patina will actually look like. And copper gutters could be stolen.

Final Thoughts

If you have a basement, make sure that it is properly sealed off.

If you live in a region with heavy rainfall, you’ll want to invest in a good-quality gutter system.

Make sure that you get one that drains well, since it’s important to keep your home dry.

Choose a color that matches your home. A dark color might be best for your home.

Remember that gutters are meant to divert water away from your home.

So, if you have any kind of problem with your gutters, call a professional immediately.

Need to Hire a Plumber?
Get a free estimate online from top local home service pros in your area.

Need help with a repair or install?

Free Online Quote

By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age