How to Install PVC Gutters and Downpipes

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Do you need to install a PVC gutter or downpipe? Read on. This article is for you.

Start by measuring the length of guttering and downpipe you need for the project.

Make a list of any connectors, stop ends, set angle pieces of gutter, gutter outlets, clips/brackets (usually spaced around 30″ (760mm) apart) and fixings you will need.

You will probably need to use an extension ladder to reach the appropriate work height. Get someone to foot the ladder whilst you are working at height.

At the side furthest from the drain, hold a gutter clip/bracket against the fascia board in a position where, if the gutter was present, it would be just below the edge of the roof tiles.

Mark the clip/bracket fixing holes and screw, one screw into the wood for the chalk line.

Measure how far the screw is from the top or bottom of the fascia board, attach the chalk line to the screw and move to the other end of the fascia board.

A gutter needs to have a ‘fall’ to enable the water to flow down it. This ‘fall’ only needs to be around 3/16″ (5mm) over a distance of 3 ft (920mm).

Therefore if the gutter is 16ft (4800mm) long it will need a ‘fall’ of 1″ (25mm).

At the other end of the fascia board, hold another clip/bracket in place. This should be 1″ below the first clip position. Mark the fixing holes with a pencil, now ping a line between the corresponding fixing holes (if you put the screw in the top fixing hole, hold the chalk line against the top fixing hole you have just marked out).

You now have a guide-line for all your gutter clips/brackets, as shown in the diagram below, ensuring the ‘fall’ will be correct without any high spots that may cause water to pool in the gutter.

Chalk line on fascia board

Fit the gutter in place, which normally just clips in, with the appropriate stop ends, connectors and gutter outlet for the downpipe. Cut it to length with a hacksaw and remove any burrs with a half-round file. You can double-check the ‘fall’ with your spirit level.

The downpipe will probably require a couple of offset bends fitting just below the gutter outlet so the pipe can be fixed against the wall. Again, as with the gutter, this can be cut easily with a hacksaw and deburred with a half-round file.

Starting from the highest point on the downpipe, fix the clips to the wall using rawlplugs and screws. 1 1/2″ x 8s screws should be sufficient to hold the clips and pipe in place securely. Space these around 4 to 5 ft (1200 to 1500mm) apart. Use your spirit level to ensure the downpipe is straight.

The bottom of the downpipe may need one or two offset bends fitting to reach over the drain. If the downpipe does not push-fit together, you may need to use a PVC adhesive designed specifically for joining lengths of pipe together.

Make sure your pipe is cut to the correct length before applying any of the adhesives as it bonds joints very quickly.

DIY stores sell special paint for gutters and downpipes if the manufacturer’s PVC colour is not suitable.

Tools required to install PVC gutters and downpipes

  • Extension ladder
  • Power/battery drill
  • Medium screwdrivers
  • Hacksaw
  • Chalk line
  • Tape measure
  • Half-round file
  • Spirit level

Gutter aftercare and maintenance

When your new gutters are in place you will start thinking about aftercare.

Currently, you probably venture up the ladders once a year to clear out all the dead leaves, moss and whatever else has found its way into your gutter.

I’ve recently discovered a new product on the market that takes away the need to do that. It’s called Gutter Brush.

You may have heard the ads on the radio or seen them on TV? In case you haven’t, here’s a quick video which shows you what it can do.