Mega Guide to Replacing Gutters

Whether you’ve spotted some damage, your gutters have sprung a leak, or your current guttering system is simply in need of a refresh, replacing guttering is now far easier to do yourself thanks to smart modern design. Armed with the correct planning, techniques, and tools, you can easily upgrade your home’s gutters and keep your property free from expensive water damage.

In this helpful article, we will talk you through everything you need to know about replacing your guttering; including budget, materials, safety tips, planning, removal, installation, and more.

Table of Contents

Types of Guttering

Before you begin, a good place to start is familiarising yourself with the many different types of guttering available. The three main types of gutter include eaves gutters, parapet gutters and valley gutters.

Eaves Gutters

Eaves gutters are designed to fix to the bottom edge of a sloping roof. Generally, eaves gutters are fixed to a fascia board or supported on metal brackets. They are designed to carry water away from the eaves-drip, preventing water damage to the property.

Parapet Gutters

A parapet gutter sits at the intersection of a parapet wall, draining water from a flat roof. The parapet wall incorporates a gap or channel with the roof sloping towards it to allow drainage. The water travels down, draining into a hopper at the top of the downpipe.

Valley Gutters

A valley gutter is fitted where two sections of roof meet or where the roof direction changes. Lead flashing will run the full length of this valley, creating a completely watertight gutter so that water can drain into either the eaves or parapet gutters.

Word Bank

Keyword

Definition

Parapet Wall

The parapet is a wall that is constructed at the end of the roof or terrace. It extends above the roof level, providing a degree of protection.

Hopper

Hoppers, also known as ‘hopper heads’, sit at the top of the drainpipe to increase water flow during heavier rainfall. It is a fitting with an open top and open base, with the base opening generally smaller than the top.

Guttering Profiles

Guttering components are manufactured in a range of shapes or profiles to suit any kind of building.

Half Round

Half round or semi round guttering is one of the most popular guttering types seen on many properties across the UK. This variation resembles a tube cut in half and has a symmetrical U-shape to complement both traditional and contemporary homes. It is suitable for use on most houses and large detached garages.

Squareline

Holding up to 25% more water than semi-round, square gutters are ideal for use on larger properties, or buildings situated in areas with very high levels of rainfall. This guttering profile is very popular on modern houses thanks to its functionality and contemporary visual appeal. The structure incorporates a straight back, front and base and can be purchased in a variety of colours and materials.

Ogee

Ogee gutters can be utilised with both square or round downpipes and typically hold more water than semi-round gutters. They feature a straight back edge and fluted front edge so are wider at the top than at the bottom. They create a distinctive look, bringing fantastic curb appeal to modern homes. Most brands are not cross compatible due to their unique structure so this can be tricky when a singular element needs replacing.

Deepflow

Although similar in structure to half round gutters, deepflow guttering is usually around 20mm deeper in size to create a larger capacity for holding rainwater. This type of guttering can generally be fitted in any normal domestic installation and is subtle in its visual differences to standard sized half round, meaning it doesn’t look out of places on most properties.

Mini Guttering

Mini guttering is not suitable for use on a standard house but is a practical option for sheds and greenhouses as well as smaller detached garages and outbuildings. It is reduced in size for a more discreet look. Learn how to fit a gutter onto a shed.

Guttering Materials

Guttering systems are available to buy in a multitude of materials including plastic, aluminium, cast iron, copper, steel and zinc. Each material offers a range of benefits and drawbacks which make them suitable for different kinds of property. Below we have compiled a table of pros and cons for each material to give you a clearer idea of which could be best for your home.

Plastic

Advantages

Disadvantages

Very low-cost & affordable

Can deteriorate when consistently exposed to UV rays

Easy to handle, transport & install

Susceptible to denting on impact

Flexible & lightweight

Can be prone to cracking

Low maintenance

Some can be flimsy

No risk of rusting or corrosion

 

Available in a range of colours & profiles

 

Can withstand extreme temperatures

 

Durable & weatherproof

 

Can easily handle high volumes of water

 


Cast Iron

Advantages

Disadvantages

Weatherproof & durable

Pricier than alternative materials

Can last for over 100 years

Very heavy – hard to transport, handle & install

Low maintenance

 

Fire resistant for enhanced safety

 

Low noise pollution

 

Adaptable to all design styles/building types

 

Aluminium

Advantages

Disadvantages

Lightweight – easy to carry up ladders

Can dent on impact

One of the more affordable options

Can expand & contract with extreme temperature changes, causing cracking & splitting

Available in a wide range of colours

Requires maintenance to avoid corrosion

Simple to install

Enamel can chip over time, requiring re-painting

Can last over 20 years in any climate

 

Robust & weatherproof

 

Resists rust & thinning

 

Copper

Advantages

Disadvantages

Very sleek & stylish with a beautiful finish

Can be pretty pricey

Can last for up to 50 years

Can be difficult to work with & install

Adjusts to the environment

Most often requires professional fitting

Low maintenance & cleaning

 

Durable & corrosion resistant in most weather conditions

 

Minimises growth of moss & lichens

 

Steel

Advantages

Disadvantages

A more affordable option in comparison to alternatives

Can be prone to sagging over time

Low maintenance

Requires semi-regular inspection & maintenance

Environmentally-friendly with the use of recycled steel

Little flexibility – can make installation tricker & more time consuming

Usually protected by a strengthened magnesium zinc alloy for enhanced durability

 

Holds up well in virtually any environment

 

Top-coating provides scratch & corrosion resistance

 

Zinc

Advantages

Disadvantages

Available in a variety of styles & colours

Can be prone to staining when exposed to high salt contact in the air

Robust & durable

Can be trickier to install

More affordable than copper

 

Can last for up to 80-90 years with correct installation & care

 

Resists bad weather, temperature changes & UV rays

 

Eco-friendly

 

How Much Guttering Will I Need?

To ensure you purchase the correct amount of guttering for your property, it is important that you carefully prepare and calculate everything beforehand. You could simply measure the existing guttering and replace with exactly the same. However, if the guttering is pretty old or has been prone to damage, you may find that this guttering is slightly off in measurement.

Calculate the Surface Area

Generally, the size of guttering required is calculated using the surface area of the roof. To accurately calculate the surface area, you will need to get up on to the roof with a measuring tool and measure the length and width of each slope.

If you have a standard roof structure, this will entail simply measuring the two sloping sides and gable ends, then calculating the area. However, if your roof structure is more complicated, you need to measure each section and then add each area together to reach the total.

Learn how to calculate the area of a roof.

Measure the Pitch

After calculating the surface area, you will next need to measure the pitch of the roof. For this you will need a spirit level that is 12 inches or longer and a tape measure. Whilst on the roof, hold the level completely level with one end against the sloping roof. Measure the height from the roof to the level 12 inches away from where the level touches the surface.

This measurement gives you the rise. This is presented as (rise) in 12. For example, if the rise is 9 inches at the 12 inch level mark, then your pitch is 9 in 12.

Learn how to calculate roof pitch.

Pitch Factor

The following table will give you the pitch factor for your roof:

Roof Pitch

Pitch Factor

12 in 12 or higher

1.3

9 in 12 – 11 in 12

1.2

6 in 12 – 8 in 12

1.1

4 in 12 – 5 in 12

1.05

Flat – 3 in 12

1

Source: samsgutters.net

Find the Rain Collection Area

You now need to multiply the pitch factor by the roof surface area to calculate the rain collection area for your roof. From this you can figure out the correct size of guttering for your property.

Cost to Replace Gutters

A primary thought most have when starting any DIY project, is how much will this cost? The cost of guttering replacement depends on a few factors including style of guttering, material used, size and type of the property as well any extra tools and components needed for the job.

Gutters are manufactured in a multitude of materials, shapes, sizes etc, each coming in at a varying cost. Standard plastic guttering is typically much cheaper per M than copper or aluminium but does create a different aesthetic to the more costly items. It really is dependant on the quality you want, the visual aesthetic you are going for and the budget that you have for the job.

In the two tables below, you can see an estimate for cost in relation to property type/size vs material as well as type of material vs profile shape per M. These figures are estimated from average prices for guttering work based on quotes from around the UK (excluding labour costs).

Property Type

Plastic

Cast Iron

Copper

Steel

Zinc

Aluminium

Two-bed terrace (26m)

£50 - £70

£460 - £580

£650 - £750

£390 - £490

£490 - £590

£570 - £670

Three-bed semi (32m)

£60 - £80

£570 - £670

£800 - £900

£480 - £490

£600 - £700

£700 - £800

Four-bed detached (46m)

£90 - £110

£820 - £920

£1150 - £1250

£690 - £790

£870 - £970

£1000 - £1100

Bungalow (28m)

£50 - £80

£500 - £600

£700 - £800

£420 - £520

£530 - £630

£600 - £700

 

Material Type

Half Round Cost Per M

Square Cost Per M

Ogee Cost Per M

Plastic

£2 - £5

£3 - £6

£3 - £8

Cast Iron

£18 - £25

£23 - £28

£26 - £35

Aluminium

£22 - £28

£24 - £30

£28 - £37

Copper

£25 - £32

£26 - £32

£28 - £36

Steel

£15 - £20

£21 -£27

£28 - £38

Zinc

£19 - £24

£22 - £28

£24 - £30

Source: myjobquote

How Long Will It Take to Replace Guttering?

The timeframe for replacing guttering will depend on a few factors including property type/size, ease of roof access, current state of the roof space and the level of experience the DIYer has. To be safe, it is best to allocate a full day of working time for most properties to ensure you can complete the project fully.

For less complex structures such as flats, garages and outbuildings, you may find that the replacement process takes up to 4 hours dependant on the points mentioned above.

It is important that you do not rush the process to ensure your new guttering system is completely safe and secure after replacement.

Guttering Components

Every gutter system is made up of a selection of different components. It is a good idea to plan the outline of your guttering system to ensure you don’t miss out on any necessary pipes or fixings. Generally, every style of gutter will incorporate the following components:

  • Stop Ends (Internal/External) – Stop ends are used to finish a run of guttering, bringing the gutter beyond the end of the tiles or slates. The stop end clips directly on to the gutter and creates a watertight end to the system.
  • Gutter – Available in a multitude of types, profiles, colours, sizes and materials, gutters are a main component for draining the rainwater.
  • Fascia Bracket – Fascia brackets, also known as gutter brackets, are fascia-mounted clips, designed to secure the run of gutter to the fascia boards.
  • 90° Angle – Angled gutter bends allow the guttering system to curve around the building structure.
  • Union Bracket – A union bracket allows you to connect the different sections of the guttering securely.
  • Running Outlet -  The running outlet component allows the water to drop out of the run and flow down into the downpipe.
  • Downpipe – A rainwater downpipe is used to direct rainwater down into a drain away from the guttering system.
  • Offset Bend –  An offset bend can be used to bridge the gap between the gutter and the wall.
  • Downpipe Socket – Pipe sockets are used to join two downpipes together in a vertical drop.
  • Downpipe Clip – Pipe clips are used to secure the guttering pipe to the wall.
  • Shoe – Downpipe shoes are fitted to the bottom end of the downpipes. They are short fitting components with a bend that helps to direct the water away from the building.

Safety

In any DIY project situated on the roof space, it is vital to that you take the necessary steps to ensure optimum safety for everybody involved.

  • To access the roof, you will require the use of a ladder. Place the bottom 1/4 of the ladder away from the base of the height to ensure optimum stability.
  • Always ensure that the ladder is placed on a safe, firm and flat surface with no tilting or possible movement from below.
  • Have a second person hold the bottom of the ladder securely and maintain a balanced centre of gravity inside the rungs.
  • If you are using an extension ladder, ensure that at least 3 rungs are overlapping.
  • Wear appropriate safety gear including gloves, goggles and clothing.
  • Wear sturdy flat shoes or safety boots with good grip.
  • NEVER lean or reach over more than one arm’s length away when up on the ladder.
  • Resting a ladder against guttering is very dangerous so always ensure you hook a metal stand-off to the top of the ladder. This will prevent the full ladder weight from resting directly on the gutters.

How to Remove Guttering

Before installing your brand new guttering, you first need to remove the existing system. Thankfully most forms of guttering are pretty quick and easy to take down. It is advised that you have a second person to aid you in the removal process.

What Will I Need?

  • Hammer
  • Large nails
  • Hacksaw
  • Nail punch
  • Sturdy rope
  • Pincers
  • Crowbar (if needed)
  • Filler
  • Paint
  • Ladder with metal stand-off

Removing Guttering Step-by-Step

  1. Work section by section to remove the guttering. Ensure you secure the fascia board beneath the section of the guttering you plan to remove to prevent it from falling. Fix this in place by hammering large nails onto the fascia board.
  2. Using a hacksaw, carefully cut through the bolts that fix the sections of the guttering.
  3. Use a nail punch and hammer to tap out the bolts.
  4. Securely tying a rope around each end of the guttering section, break apart the gutter joint.
  5. Unscrew the fascia brackets.
  6. Lower the guttering slowly down to the ground, securely holding on to the attached rope.
  7. Move across the gutters, carefully removing each of the sections and lowering to the ground.
  8. Work on the pipes, using pincers to remove the pipe nails. If the guttering is particularly old, you might find that the pipe nails are rusted. In this case, you may require a crowbar to pry out of the wall.
  9. Working from the top down in sections once again, remove all of the downpipes.
  10. Fill in the screw holes to repair the fascia boards and prepare for re-installation. You may need to remove any flakes and repaint or re-stain the surface to refresh the look.

How to Install Guttering

Now your property is ready for a brand new guttering system to be fitted. To make the steps clearer, we have broken the process down into outlets, gutters and downpipes.

What Will I Need?

  • Gutter components (see list above)
  • Downpipe components (see list above)
  • Plumbline
  • Builder’s line/string
  • Spirit level
  • Pencil
  • Hacksaw
  • Ladder with metal stand-off

Positioning Outlets

Before installing the pipes, you need to ensure that the running outlet/stop-end outlet will be placed directly above the drain below. You can use a plumbline to make sure the positioning is correct.

  1. Hold a plumb line directly over the drain.
  2. Mark the position on the fascia board.
  3. Fit the gutter outlet/stop-end no more than 50mm below the roof tiles level.

 You may find after positioning, that is easiest to start by fitting the downpipes instead of the gutters but this may depend on ease of access/the shape of the property. Steps to gutter & downpipe installation are both listed below.

How to Fit the Gutters

  1. Start by fitting a fascia bracket (gutter bracket) at one end of the guttering near the top of the fascia board.
  2. Tie a builder’s line/piece of string securely around the base of the fascia bracket.
  3. Stretch the builder’s line/string across to the gutter outlet and tie securely.
  4. Using a spirit level, check that the line slopes accurately to the gutter outlet. It is recommended that there is a slight fall of 10mm per every 6m of gutter to encourage effective water drainage.
  5. Moving along the line, measure and mark the positioning of the gutter pieces. Ensure that the gutters are spaced no wider than 800mm apart or 600mm if the roof pitch is very steep. Also make sure they are placed no more than 150mm from a joint or fitting.
  6. If the outlet sits in the middle of the guttering, repeat this process with a bracket on the opposite end.
  7. After carefully measuring and marking, move along the line securely fitting the brackets.
  8. Install a stop-end to the length of the gutter.
  9. Clip the gutter into position carefully on the fitted brackets. TIP! – The quickest & easiest way of fitting this is to tilt the gutter so it fits just under the back slip and the straighten under the front clip. Ensure the gutter end is lined up with the insertion depth marked on the bracket.
  10. Place a union bracket at the opposite end of the gutter length and screw into the fascia.
  11. Install another length of gutter into the bracket.
  12. When securely fitted, use a hacksaw to carefully cut to fit. Take your time doing this as it can be dangerous when on a ladder.
  13. Fit a stop-end to the end of the gutter. You must check that all joints are completely inline with the insertion depth marks on all fittings.

How to Install the Downpipes

  1. Use a spirit level or plumb line to mark out a line down the wall from the gutter outlet to the drain.
  2. You may find that the distance between the gutter and the wall may need to bridged using offset bends. Offset bends can be push-fit using a pipe clip, fitting the clip under the socket of the pipe below the offset. Leave a 6mm – 10mm gap at the top for downpipe expansion.
  3. If offset bends are not required, you can miss the above step.
  4. Hold a downpipe clip over the marked line and mark its place with a pencil through the screw holes.
  5. Repeat this step marking the pipe clip positions down the wall. You should ensure that the spacing is no more than 1.8m apart.
  6. Drill the pipe clip fixing holes and fit wall plugs into the holes.
  7. Fit the first downpipe into the socket at the top of the wall. Again, leave a 10mm gap between the outlet and the socket to allow for expansion.
  8. Secure the join by fixing a socket clip over it and screwing into the wall plugs.
  9. Secure the rest of the pipe by fitting the clips and screwing into the wall plugs.
  10. Move down the wall, continuing to fit the pipe.
  11. Install the shoe at the very bottom of the downpipe to ensure proper flow to the drain. To secure, fit a socket clip over the join.

In Closing

If this guide has inspired you to give guttering replacement a go yourself, why not take a look at the high-quality, affordable range of guttering supplies available on Roofing Megastore now to get your project started.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our award-winning customer service team. Call them on 01295 565 565, email sales@roofingmegastore.co.uk, or use the handy live chat.