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Installing a vinyl gutter system

Vinyl is a bit easier to use than metal: You won’t cut your fingers on the edges or have to try to squeeze a piece just right to get it to slip into another one. Like metal gutters, vinyl gutters must slope from one end or the other so that water will flow down them. Unlike metal gutters, a fair amount of expansion and contraction occurs with changes in temperature. Each manufacturer approaches slope and expansion differently, so follow your product’s instructions carefully.

MATERIALS: End cap, hangers, gutter, connectors, drop outlets, corners, elbows, downspout, screws

TOOLS: Ladder, chalk line, tape measure, drill with screwdriver bit, hacksaw or chop saw

SNAP-TOGETHER GUTTER SYSTEMS are assembled from preformed parts. Typical parts include gutter hangers, gutters, end caps, gutter drop outlets, elbows, downspout diverters, gutter guards, inside and outside corners, and splash blocks that sit under the downspouts and help divert water away from the foundation.

Assembling And Hanging Vinyl Gutters

1 AT THE END OF THE GUTTER RUN FARTHEST FROM THE DOWNSPOUT, measure down 1/2 inch (or as directed by the manufacturer) from the eaves and make a mark. At the other end, measure down at least 1/2 inch plus 1/8 inch for every 10 feet of gutter in the run. Snap a chalk line between these two points.

2 WHILE THE GUTTER IS STILL ON THE GROUND, ASSEMBLE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. Install the end cap, corners, and outlets. Put hanging hooks on the gutters, spacing them every 2 feet.

3 WITH A HELPER, HOLD THE GUTTER IN PLACE. Starting at the middle, screw the hanging hooks into the chalk line on the fascia. Vinyl expands and contracts, so after screwing each hook in place, make sure the gutter will move in its brackets. If not, the hook is either too high or low. Reposition it as needed.

IF THE GUTTER GOES AROUND AN INSIDE OR OUTSIDE CORNER, START AT THE CORNER. Put a corner piece, instead of an end cap, on the first piece of gutter you install. Hang the rest as described previously and on this page.

4 ATTACH THE DROP OUTLET TO THE LAST SECTION OF GUTTER BEFORE HANGING. Then measure for the piece that extends to the corner. Cut a piece to length and put it in the drop outlet. Attach the hangers and hang the drop outlet on them.

5 JOIN THE SECTIONS USING THE APPROPRIATE CONNECTORS, and adjust for expansion according to the manufacturer's directions.

6 INSTALL ELBOWS AS NEEDED. Sometimes an elbow directs the flow to the side and into another elbow, as shown here; if the the roof overhangs the wall, the elbow will direct the flow toward an elbow against the wall. Assemble the elbows and the piece between them. Measure from the lower elbow to a point 6-8 inches above the ground and cut a downspout to this length. Test fit the entire assembly.

7 ATTACH THE DOWNSPOUT TO THE HOUSE. Mark a spot a few inches above the end of the downspout and move the spout out of the way. Screw a hanger to the house at the mark. Attach the downspout to the hanger and attach an elbow and a section of downspout to direct the flow away from the foundation.

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