How To Install Vinyl Gutters: Step-by-Step Guide
If your home doesn’t already have gutters, then installing them is a must. Doing so will help you protect the investment that you’ve made in your home and outdoor landscape.
Vinyl gutters are a popular choice among homeowners across the country. If this is what you’ve chosen for your home, then you’ve come to the right place.
To install vinyl gutters, start by measuring out the gutter run, purchasing parts, and marking the slope on fascia boards. Then, use a drill to install downspout outlets, gutter hangers, and finally the gutter sections. You’ll finish the project by attaching drain pipes to your house and fitting them with gutter guards.
What Do Gutters Do?
Gutters are designed to safely move what would otherwise be standing water away from your home. If you don’t have gutters, rainwater can pool on your roof, causing damage.
Downspouts are an important part of any gutter system. These direct the water that your gutters collect away from your home. If you didn’t have downspouts, then the water from your roof would likely pool by your foundation, thereby damaging it.
What are Vinyl Gutters?
As you consider which gutters are right for your home, you’ll find that there are many options to choose from. While aluminum, steel, and even wood gutters were popular in the past, vinyl gutters have quickly become a favorite of homeowners.
The major difference between vinyl gutters and others is the material they’re made out of. Vinyl gutters are constructed out of PVC plastic. This provides several key benefits that are discussed in detail in the next section.
What are the Benefits of Vinyl Gutters?
Most people who choose vinyl gutters do so for the durability they provide. Most types of gutters are prone to eventually rust, corrode, or be dented. Vinyl gutters aren’t. Because of the PVC plastic, they’re built out of, vinyl gutters will never dent or corrode.
Ease of Installation
Another major benefit of vinyl gutters is their ease of installation. This is because vinyl gutters weigh much less than most other types of gutters. That means you can haul them up to your roof without even having to enlist the help of a friend. Vinyl gutters also tend to snap together more easily than most other options, making them even easier for DIYers to install themselves.
Perhaps the most important benefit of vinyl gutters is their price. Depending on your location and where you buy from, you can find 10-foot sections of vinyl gutters for $3 to $5 each.
Add in the costs of the other parts you need and you should be able to install vinyl gutters on your roof for $3 to $5 per square foot. Compare that to other types of gutters, which can cost anywhere from $5 to $45 per square foot to install.
What are the Disadvantages of Vinyl Gutters?
There really aren’t that many downsides to choosing vinyl gutters for your home. You just need to make sure that you stay away from vinyl gutters that are too cheap. If you see a price that’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Cheap vinyl gutters can give you a number of problems. They’re more susceptible to sagging, get brittle after a few years, and can be easily damaged by the cold. That being said, you shouldn’t have these problems as long as you make sure that you purchase from a reputable brand.
The only other potential downside to installing vinyl gutters is their look. Some homeowners prefer the way that steel or wood gutters frame their homes’ exteriors. If that kind of style is important to you, then you may want to look for another option.
Tools and Materials Needed for Installation
It’s worth taking a moment to make sure that you have everything you need before beginning the installation process. Doing so will make sure that you’re able to complete the project without delay once you’ve started it. Here’s what you should have:
- Extension ladder
- Tape measurer
- Chalk line
- Cordless drill
- 1.25-inch deck screws
- Vinyl gutter kit or individually purchase gutter sections and related hardware
- Hacksaw or reciprocating saw
How to Install Vinyl Gutters
1. Determine Where you Want the Water to Drain
You have two choices. You can either purchase a rain barrel and let the water your gutters collect drain into that. Or, you can create a runoff that takes the water far enough away from your home’s foundation to avoid any leaking issues. Either way, it’s important that you figure this out before starting, as this decision will form the foundation of your gutter system.
2. Measure the Gutter Run
This is the measurement of the parts of your house that will include gutters. You need this measurement to know how many gutter sections you need to purchase.
3. Purchase Either Separate Parts or a Vinyl Gutter Kit
Vinyl gutter kits come with everything you need to install vinyl gutters on your home. However, they often cost a bit more than what you would spend if purchasing the parts separately.
If you decide to purchase parts separately, you need to buy the following things:
- Enough gutter sections to cover the gutter run measurement from step 2
- Connectors, corners, end caps, and a gutter hanger for every 2 feet of gutter
- Drainpipe, elbows, hangers, and outlets for every 30 to 35 feet of downspout
4. Mark the Slope on Fascia Boards
You should slope your vinyl gutters about 1/4 to 1/2-inch for every 10 feet of gutter. It’s a good idea to mark these measurements on your fascia board before you begin the actual installation process. Doing so will simply make things easier on you as you work.
5. Begin Installing Your Downspout Outlets
These are meant to go on the edges of your house. You’ll attach them there with the 1.25-inch deck screws that you purchased.
6. Attach Gutter Hangers Along the Marked Fascia Boards
These should be spaced two feet apart and hang about an inch away from the edge of your roof. Use the deck screws you have to install them.
7. Hang the Gutter Sections
Begin this process by placing the gutter sections into the outlets and supporting them with the hangers you installed. Then, you’re going to use a plastic slip joint to attach the end of each section to the one next to it. As you work, add a cap to any areas that won’t have outlets to prevent water from flowing toward the downspout.
8. Attach the Drainpipes to Your Home
Use your cordless drill to do this. You should secure the downspout outlet to the gutter and then connect the downspout elbows to the outlet and the outlet tube that comes from the gutter. Make sure that these connections are tight. Otherwise, you could end up with a leak in your drainage system down the line.
9. Fit Gutter Guards On
You probably have these if you purchased a vinyl gutter kit. It’s a metal mesh that’s meant to fit over your gutters. Gutter guards prevent debris from clogging up your drainage system and allow your gutters to function as they’re supposed to.
Maintaining Vinyl Gutters
Instituting a proper maintenance schedule will help you extend the life of the vinyl gutters you just installed. Doing this isn’t very challenging, so it’s something every homeowner should implement into their maintenance routine.
Maintaining your vinyl gutters is mostly about clearing them out periodically. Most experts recommend that you get the leaves and debris out of your gutters once in the spring and once in the fall.
As you do this, you may also want to flush the gutters with a running hose. This will help you to clear away any debris that you may have missed while clearing out leaves by hand. Get in the habit of doing this twice a year and your vinyl gutters should last for a very long time.
How long do vinyl gutters last?
The amount of time that your vinyl gutters last depends both on where you live and how you install them. In dry locations with proper maintenance and installation, vinyl gutters can last as long as 20 years.If you live in a wet location, your gutters will last for a shorter amount of time. In these areas, vinyl gutters can last between 8 and 10 years depending on how well you maintain them.
How do you clean vinyl gutters?
Experts say that you shouldn’t use liquid detergent alone when trying to clean vinyl gutters. Instead, consider creating your own cleaning solution. You can do so by simply mixing half a cup of liquid detergent with a half cup of bleach. Then, place that mixture into two gallons of water and get to cleaning.
Can you clean vinyl gutters with a power washer?
It is possible to clean your vinyl gutters with a power washer. However, in order to do so effectively, you’re going to need to purchase the right attachment. Look for a hook-like curved attachment and place it on your pressure washer. With that, you’ll be able to simply walk around your house and clean your gutters without having to even climb an extension ladder.
Kellan is a content writer who specializes in everything DIY. When he's not behind the keyboard, he enjoys spending time with his pets, playing music, and geeking out about basketball. He hopes to make your home improvement projects a little bit easier to accomplish.
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