A residential roof needs to have rain gutters installed on the eaves to drain water away from your home. You can install rain gutters on your home as follows:  

Gutter Planning and Preparation:  To prepare for rain gutter installation, inspect your roof edges and eaves and remove any nails, screws, or other projections that would prevent a rain gutter from being attached flush against the roof eaves. 

  • Measure Your Roof Eaves:  Measure the length of the eaves of your roof where you wish to install rain gutters. 
  • Plan Your Downspout:   Decide where you will install your downspout and clear an area near the ground for drainage or to place a rain barrel to catch water runoff. 
  • Snap a Guide Line:  Snap chalk lines on your roof eaves to indicate where you will attach your rain gutters. Snap additional chalk lines one inch lower than your original lines to indicate where the ends of your rain gutters will slant down to attach to a downspout.  

Gutter Purchase:  You can buy metal or PVC rain gutters, inside and outside corner connections, joining brackets, downspouts, elbow connectors, gutter hardware, sealants, and other gutter supplies in home supply and hardware stores. Standard rain gutters are available in 10-foot lengths. If you have roof sections that are longer than 10 feet in length, you can join two rain gutters together with a joining bracket. 

Gutter Installation:  You can install a rain gutter on your residential roof in the following way:

  • Measure and Cut Rain Gutters:  Cut rain gutters to the lengths needed. 
  • Attach End Caps:  Attach end caps to the rain gutters and crimp and bend the joined edges to secure them. 
  • Apply Adhesive Sealant:  Liberally apply adhesive sealant to the insides of the rain gutters and end caps to seal them. 
  • Attach Gutter Brackets:  Attach gutter brackets approximately every two feet along the length of the rain gutters. Also, attach gutter brackets about six inches from each end.
  • Attach Rain Gutters to Eaves:  Hold the rain gutters in place and screw them into the roof eaves. It helps to have an assistant hold the gutters in place while you attach them to the eaves. Connect all rain gutters together with inside and outside rain gutter corners to create one continuous drainage channel. 
  • Cut a Drainage Hole:  Cut a drainage hole into your rain gutter with a jigsaw or tin snips. Place a drop flange around the drainage hole and rivet into place. 
  • Install a Downspout:  Screw an elbow connector onto your drop flange and connect it to a length of downspout pipe. Attach another elbow connector to the opposite end of your downspout pipe so that these three joined pieces can meet an exterior wall. Install a length of downspout pipe from these three pieces to the ground or to a rain barrel. 
  • Secure the Downspout:  Secure your installed downspout pipe along a vertical wall with rivets and/or screws and metal straps. 
  • Install a Downspout Extension:  If your downspout empties onto the ground, place a downspout extension at the bottom to carry water away from your exterior walls. 
  • Place a Rain Barrel:  As an alternative, you can have your downspout empty into a rain barrel to catch water to use in your garden. 

Gutter Cleaning:  Clean your rain gutters each spring after leaves have stopped falling from the trees. Leaves and debris in the gutters can be removed by hand, blown out with a leaf blower, or washed out with a stream of water from a garden hose. 

Gutter Screens:  A removable vinyl or metal gutter screen can be installed on top of your rain gutters to keep out leaves and debris. Gutter screens are perforated to allow only water to enter and then drain into a downspout. 

With careful measuring, planning, standard carpentry tools, and an extension ladder, you can install rain gutters on your home. You can also hire a professional building or roofing contractor to install these rain gutters for you. With rain gutters in place, your home will be safe from leaks and dripping water for many years.