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Day 681 – Life in the gutters

May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012 – Spring has finally sprung in the Northwest, or at least until the rain comes back again. And what better way to celebrate the lack of rain than by putting up gutters! Yes, those two things don’t logically go so well together, but dry weather makes for much easier work outside doing just about everything.

Ever since our porch collapsed last year and subsequently got rebuilt, we’ve been making due without gutters. Instead, we’ve had large 6 mil sheets of clear plastic serving to keep the weather off the porch. Aside from being really noisy in the winter wind, the plastic worked great, but didn’t let in a lot of light and certainly inhibited the view.

With the weather being what it is, we thought it would be really great to start to using the porch space. We have a few things to do to the raw structure to get it “complete”, and one of those was gutters. The porch is only about 10×14 or so, and our builder let us know that for a gutter contractor to come out to install on the space that small, it would likely cost several hundred dollars. Instead, we went to Home Depot and priced our their do-it-yourself aluminum “K” style gutters and found their pricing to be something we could more easily budget for.

First step was getting the fascia boards up on the rafter ends, so last weekend we went to Parr Lumber and got the same primed Cedar we’ve been using elsewhere for trim, and used that for the fascia (our builder used the same stuff too, so we knew we were probably okay with keeping it consistent). It was up fairly easily, and nailed by hand because it wasn’t really worth breaking out the compressor and nailer for just eight nails.

Last week, we went back to Home Depot and picked up our gutter supplies  – two 10′ runs in 4″ depth; a corner piece for our only outside corner; two end pieces to terminate the gutter sections; some seam sealant; two 10′ downspout lengths; screws (not nails) to anchor them up; and two downspout sections. And yes, like most of the rest of the raw materials else we’ve needed to buy, it all fit in our minivan. Swagger wagon to the rescue!

Like a lot of the other work we’ve been doing on our house, hanging gutters was something I had never done. Cleaned? Yup. Fixed? Sure. Just never had to install them. Luckily, for people in my situation, Google is there to help, and there was a wealth of info on what to do.

I first took measurements of the corner piece, as it was one of the critical pieces that would help determine the overall length of the main sections. I added .25 inches to it’s size to accommodate for the wrapper section that would join the corner piece to the main gutter run. (Wrapper? Oh yeah, I forgot to buy that. ) I then measured the overall run, minus the corner, and cut the first gutter section.

Slope is critical in a gutter because without it, water won’t drain. Heck, even with slope, water still doesn’t seem to drain the gutters I already have, but that’s another post. I opted for a slight slope of .5 inch per 10 feet or so, which on my small porch, I just simplified into .5 inches per side, leaving the end of the gutter with the downspout a full 1 inch lower than the other end on the gutter on the opposite side.

Hanging wasn’t too bad of an experience, once I got the vertical placement correct. I pre-drilled the holes for the hanging screws ahead of time, so mounting them was a bit easier.

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From → Porch

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