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Your gutters and downspouts are the core of the drainage system that channels water off your roof and away from your house. Without this system, or if it's faulty that water can flow right from your roof to the foundation of your house, causing issues from mold to settling walls to cracks in the foundation itself. Take the time to read these tips and instructions on how to put up gutters and downspouts and protect your home.


Gutters and downspouts are constructed of many separate parts and pieces. Illustration shows the basic parts used in a typical installation. Metal guttering pieces are usually fastened together with sheet metal screws or pop rivets.

Spikes and ferrules hold the gutter to the wall of the house. The ferrule is inserted inside the gutter and the spike is driven through the rim of the gutter and through the ferrule to hold the gutter in place.

The slip connector is used to connect two pieces of guttering in the run. The connecting joint is sealed with mastic or caulk to prevent leakage. Some brands of downspouts and gutters slip snugly together and need no mastic or caulk.

The strap hanger is attached under the shingles or other roofing material and then to the outside edge of the gutter, providing support for the run.

In some cases, strap hangers are the wraparound type. The style of strap hanger you use is more a matter of choice or manufacturer's design than of function. The strap hangers shown both serve the same purpose–to hold the gutter in place.

An inside miter is used when it becomes necessary to make an inside turn in a gutter.

You can make outside turns in the guttering system by inserting an outside miter as illustrated. Use mastic or caulk for sealing the joint where either inside or outside miters are jointed to the gutter.

The end piece is available with an outlet for the downspout or for simply ending a gutter run.

The end cap ends the run of guttering and is available for left- or right-hand use. Some styles must be sealed with either caulk or mastic.

The downspout takes the water out of the gutter and down to the drainage pipe or splash block on the ground. It is attached to the gutter at the outlet in the end piece. Some downspouts and elbows are round instead of square.

The conductor pipe band, or clincher, is a strap used to hold the downspout in place. It is nailed or screwed to the outside wall to hold the downspout securely wherever necessary. This piece is available in various styles and types.

It sometimes becomes necessary to make turns in downspouts. When a turn is required to pull the downspout toward or away from the house, use square elbows. Two of these elbows used together, as illustrated, make an offset of several inches in the downspout. The crimp in downspouts and elbows usually makes mastic or caulk unnecessary at the joints.

To make a turn in the downspout either to the left or right, use the square elbows shown in B. Two of these elbows mounted together divert the direction of the downspout to the left or right by several inches.

Ball strainers can be inserted in the end piece to prevent leaves and other bulky material from clogging the downspout or drainage pipes. Several other types of gutter covers are available as well. While not absolutely necessary, strainers and gutter covers can be helpful.

A square shoe is used at the bottom of the downspout. This turns the flow of water onto a splash block where the downspout ends.

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