Replace the guttering and downpipes on your house to stop them clogging, leaking and overflowing.
The guttering is not a part of the home we often think about until something goes wrong. When gutters and downpipes become clogged or leaky, their functionality is compromised, resulting in water damage to walls and foundations.
But because the gutters are hard to reach, maintenance is often neglected even though it is easy to keep them in good working order.
Minor problems like small holes are easily repaired with a squirt of silicone, while installing gutter guards prevents a build-up of leaf litter.
But if the damage is extensive and guttering is corroded or coming away from the wall, it’s better to replace the damaged sections or install a whole new system. Begin by removing the old gutter and brackets, then repair and repaint the fascia before securing the new guttering.
Do the work DIY
The gutter system has to cope with the volume of water runoff that spills from the roof, so consideration must be given to rainfall intensity, roof catchment area, gutter size, downpipe parameters and overflow capacity.
To calculate how much guttering you need, measure the lengths of fascia runs and sketch the house to scale, marking the required number of downpipes as discreetly as possible.
Your gutters must comply with National Plumbing and Drainage Code AS/NZS 3500.3-2003, which you can find in your local library.
The minimum gutter fall to a downpipe is 1:500, meaning an extra 2mm of fall for each metre of gutter.
Before buying, talk with your supplier to ensure the gutter system you have selected meets the criteria.
Working up high is hazardous, so also hire scaffolding on wheels to provide easy access and simplify the installation process.
Always check with your local council before you start work as in some areas of Australia, gutters must be installed by qualified tradespeople.
When calculating how much guttering a house needs, allow a minimum 100mm extra for any joints and add at least twice the width of the gutter for external corners as length is lost in cutting mitres. At return stop ends, add the width of the gutter.
TIP Internal corners and pre-made stop ends don’t need extra length.
Apply the finish
Gutter styles range from the modern square and half-round styles secured on steel fascias to the traditional quad gutters with external brackets that adorn every Federation home.
Whatever the style, gutters should blend in with the home, usually in a colour matching the roof and fascia.
To finish bare zincalume gutters, wash with sugar soap, sand and apply a coat of etch primer, leaving it to dry. Apply two coats of specialised paint such as Metalshield Premium.
Keep gutters clear
Leaf litter clogs gutters, presenting a fire hazard and causing overflow.
Install a gutter guard to prevent water flooding the eaves and birds nesting, and to stop sediments entering water storage tanks.
Gutter guards usually come in sheet or roll form and are fitted inside or secured over the gutter.
TIP Choose a product that meets council regulations, especially if your home is in a fire risk area.
FOR AN EASY FIT use Fielders WaterGate Leaf Guard sheets. They clip into position easily and cost $45 for a pack of five 2m sheets.
INCREASE FIRE SAFETY with Whites Fire Guard Gutter Guard, made of fully hot-dipped galvanised mesh. It comes in a 190mm x 10m roll for easy installation.
TEAM A CORRUGATED METAL ROOF team a corrugated metal roof with GumLeaf Gutter Guard, made from Colorbond steel with a patented 3D louvre design for market-leading performance.
KEEP PESTS AWAY with Enovee Brushguard, made of plastic bristles in a roll that can be bent to shape for speedy installation as well as easy removal. It blocks debris while letting water flow and deters mice, birds and snakes from entering the gutters.
Designed to convey runoff from the gutters to the stormwater system via mitred joints called offsets, downpipes are usually 100 x 50mm rectangular section or 90mm round. To find the number you need, divide the roof catchment area by the allowable maximum catchment per downpipe.
Mark the gutter height with the back 20mm below the fascia top. At one end mark the base of the gutter bracket and use a water level to create fall, marking along the fascia every 3000mm and at downpipe positions.
Secure the brackets by setting a stringline along the fascia at the base of the gutter brackets with fall to the spouts. Secure the brackets with clouts at a maximum 1200mm apart. TIP The fall should be a 1:500 pitch.
Attach the stop ends at the end of gutter runs by drilling clearance holes for rivets then running a bead of roof and gutter silicone along the overlap. Secure the ends with 2mm rivets and waterproof with silicone.
Cut the outlet holes by tracing around the spout on the base of the gutter at the stormwater pipe locations, leaving room for the spout flanges. Drill starter holes and cut out using nibblers, a sharp chisel or tinsnips.
Add the spouts by positioning them in the outlet holes and drilling clearance holes in the short flanges. Run silicone around the hole on the inside of the gutter, press the spout in and secure with rivets from beneath.
Cut the end mitres with tinsnips, marking the gutter to length with internal or external mitres. Use a hacksaw to cut the bead then smooth the edge with a file. Secure with silicone and corner mitre brackets.
Hang the gutter on the brackets, pushing it onto the support lips. Use pliers to fold the bracket strap over the gutter. Midway between the brackets, secure the back of the gutter to the fascia using 40mm gutter twist nails.
Join the overlaps by positioning the high side of the gutter joint into the low side with a 100mm overlap. Open the outside bead with pliers and secure the overlap with rivets, sealing with silicone between the layers.
Connect the downpipes by adjusting the gutter offset for a neat fit between spout and wall then securing the downpipe to the spout with rivets. Cut the downpipe to length, securing it to the wall using gutter brackets.