Replacing Rain Gutters and Downspouts
By: Pat Curry
Replace missing gutters and downspouts to prevent serious siding and foundation damage that may cost you $10,000 or more to repair.
Your home may be your castle, but if you’re missing downspouts and sections of gutter, you’ll certainly have a moat where daisies once flourished. Excess water near your foundation risks thousands of dollars in foundation repairs. The good news is that gutter or downspout replacement only requires about $15 worth of materials and three to four hours of your time.
Cost of Replacement Gutters and Downspouts
You’ll find aluminum and vinyl gutter components surprisingly affordable. Here’s what to look for:
•Home centers sell 10-foot sections of gutter for less than $8.
•A 10-foot downspout costs you less than $13.
•Clip-up downspout extenders that snap out of the way when mowing cost about $8.
•Gutter sealant runs about $7 for a 10-ounce tube.
•Buy additional hangers and clips ($2) — the damage may have occurred because there weren’t enough of them in the first place.
•In some cases, you’ll also need some end caps ($7 per set), joint connectors ($6), and a box of self-tapping screws ($6).
How to Replace Missing Gutters
More often than not, an entire 10-foot section of gutter will be damaged or missing. Use a hacksaw and tin snips to cut shorter lengths of replacement gutter.
•Grab two ladders and enlist a helper.
•Remove any old joint connectors and scrape any sealant or gunk off the existing gutter.
•Do a test fit with new joint connectors.
•Fill the ends of the new joint connectors with sealant before installing the gutter.
•Loosen adjacent hangers if needed to add the replacement section.
•Add hangers every 3 feet. Confirm that the gutter is pitched toward the downspout at a slope of 1/4-inch for every 10 feet.
Related: How to Save Money by Repairing Sagging and Leaking Rain Gutters
How to Add a Downspout
•Fit the new downspout up into the drop outlet (the piece at the end of gutter that feeds into the downspout). Notice that the drop outlet fits inside the downspout section to contain the flow and keep the jointing from leaking.
•Fasten the joint with two self-tapping gutter screws. Add additional sections as needed.
•Finish the downspout with an elbow positioned at least 6 inches above grade.
•Attach the downspout extender (it should extend at least 5 feet into your yard).
Adding All-New Gutters and Downspouts
If there are lots of missing or damaged pieces, you may decide it is time for a whole new set of gutters. Most residential gutters are made of lightweight and durable aluminum. Vinyl, galvanized steel, and even copper also are options.
Aluminum gutters can range from about $4.50 to $9.50 per linear foot installed. On a 2,000-square-foot house with about 180 linear feet of gutters, that’s roughly $800 to $1,700.