How to replace guttering

If your guttering has seen better days, it’s essential to replace it to protect your home from water ingress

guttering

Efficient guttering is essential to keep rain away from the walls of your home which could cause damage to the masonry and damp problems inside the property.

The majority of rainwater systems are made from galvanised steel, PVC or aluminium, giving them a lifespan of around 20 years. If correctly maintained, they can often last as long as as 50 years – but eventually, they will need to be replaced.

If you’re experiencing issues such as blockages or leaks in your guttering, your first port of call should be our guide to repairing common guttering problems.

However, if your guttering is beyond repair, then it’s time to replace it with a new guttering system.

Guttering comes in a wide range of lengths, profiles, colours and materials, so make sure you choose a product that’s most suitable for your home. Pipes can be easily cut to size with a hacksaw, but be sure to de-burr any cut surfaces with sandpaper and wear safety goggles when sawing.

Before you begin, remove and dispose of all your old guttering at your local recycling centre. You can also upcycle it – guttering pipes are ideal for sowing seeds, as you can simply slide the seedlings out of the gutter and into a channel in the soil to avoid disturbing their roots.

Here we explain how to install standard half round guttering, which is lightweight, robust and suitable for most homes.

You will need:

  • Ladder
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Hacksaw
  • Plumb bob & line set
  • String
  • Combi drill
  • Drill bits
  • Spirit level
  • File or medium grade sandpaper
  • Guttering
  • Downpipe
  • Suitable screws
  • Suitable wall plugs
  • Lubricant
  • Safety goggles
  • Protective gloves
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Step 1

To work out the position of the running outlet or end-stop outlet, hang a plumb line from the fascia so that it hangs directly over the drain. Use a pencil to mark the positioning of the outlet and its fixing holes onto the fascia, making sure that it’s no more than 50mm below the level of the roof.

Drill pilot holes, then fit the outlet, making sure you use the screws recommended by the manufacturer and taking care not to over-tighten them.

Step 2

Measure from the outlet to approximately 100mm from the opposite end of the fascia. Position and fix a fascia bracket at this point, making sure that it’s higher than the outlet and the fall to the outlet is about 3mm per metre to ensure that rain water drains away freely. If your outlet is situated in the middle of the fascia, repeat this process at both ends.

Step 3

Tie a string from the fascia bracket(s) to the outlet and pull it tight. Use a spirit level to check that the string runs slightly downhill from the fascia bracket(s) to the outlet by roughly 3mm per metre.

From the fitted fascia bracket, measure and mark the position of the remaining brackets. They should be just touching the string to maintain an even fall and should be no more than 1m apart and no more than 150mm from any angle or end-stop.

Fix the rest of the fascia brackets as before, following the manufacturer’s instructions and not over-tightening them.

Step 4

Lubricate all the gutter seals with a silicone spray before you fit the guttering, as this will make fitting easier and aid with expansion and contraction.

Working from the outlet towards the highest point, fit the first length of gutter by tilting it so that it sits below the back clip, then push down at the front to snap it into place.

 

Step 5

At the end of the first piece of guttering, fit a union bracket by screwing it into the fascia using screws recommended by the manufacturer.

Fit the next length of gutter into the union bracket, making sure the joints line up with the insertion depth that’s marked onto the fittings. Continue to join the lengths of guttering in the same fashion.

 

Step 6

Measure the final gap, then cut a piece of gutter to length using a hacksaw.

Finally, fit an external end-stop to complete the run of guttering.

How to install a downpipe

Step 1

Using a plumb line that hangs from the outlet to the drain as a guideline, draw several marks onto the wall to show where the downpipe will run.

Using a straight edge, join the marks to create a vertical line that shows where the centre of the downpipe will be.

Step 2

If an offset is required, you can either use an adjustable offset bend or two offset bends and, if necessary, a short piece of pipe. Ensure a 6mm expansion gap is left at the top of the downpipe.

 

Step 3

Beginning at the top of the wall, position a downpipe pipe clip centrally over your pencil line. Use a pencil to mark the position of its fixing holes onto the wall. If offset bends are required, position a downpipe clip directly below the bend.

Repeat this process down the wall, allowing spacing of no more than 1.8m between pipe clips.

 

Step 4

Use a combi drill and the drill bit size recommended by the manufacturer to drill the fixing holes and insert appropriate wall plugs.

Step 5

Working from the outlet down towards the drain, install the first piece of downpipe. If you need to add another length of downpipe, join the two parts with a downpipe pipe socket and pipe clip. Leave a 10mm gap between the end of the pipe and the bottom of the pipe socket to allow for expansion. Then attach a pipe clip over the joint. Continue to attach the pipe clips down the length of the downpipe.

 

Step 6

If necessary, fit a downpipe shoe to direct the flow of water into the drain. Fix a downpipe clip directly below the socket of the shoe.

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Common mistakes when replacing guttering

  • Putting the guttering up in the wrong position. Guttering should be placed a few inches below the roofline. That way, runoff water flows into your gutter and doesn’t drip over the the back edge and onto the ground next to your home.
  • Improperly pitching the guttering. Gutters aren’t supposed to be level with the ground. They should be pitched slightly (about 3-5cm per 12 linear meters) toward the downpipes so the water runs downhill. Otherwise, the water will just fill up inside the guttering and spill over the sides.
  • Not spacing the gutter brackets correctly. Guttering is attached to your home with brackets that are positioned just under the roofline. If these brackets are placed too far apart, the guttering won’t get the proper support and will eventually sag under the weight of the runoff water. If this problem isn’t remedied, the guttering could be pulled right off of your home.
  • Having too many guttering seams. The seams are the weakest points of any guttering system, so aim to have as fews seams as possible when attaching the gutter sections together. The more seams you have, the greater the chance of damage from the elements.
  • Using the wrong gutter dimensions. If a standard size is not wide enough, or your gutter profile is too narrow, this will affect the gutter’s capacity to hold enough water to protect the foundations.

How much would it cost to get someone out to replace my guttering?

If you’re not confident enough to replace your guttering yourself and would prefer to get a professional in to do the job for you, you need to be aware of the cost.

According to checkatrade.com, the average cost of gutter replacement for 15-20 metres of guttering with three rainwater downpipes is around £900, covering both supply and installation. That will depend on a number of factors, but mainly the amount of guttering needed and the type of guttering material you use.