How to Install Gutters & Leader Straps

Gutters are plastic or tin troughs that attach to the fascia of a roof and collect water. Gutters are installed on an angle so they feed the water into a hole at the end of the trough and down a drainpipe called a leader. Mounting your own gutters and leaders reduces the cost of the project by saving the expense of a contractor. Measuring and affixing the gutters and leaders is not a difficult home project.


Things You’ll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Bubble level
  • Chalk line
  • Gutter lengths
  • Gutter hangers
  • Gutter corners
  • Gutter caps
  • Leaders
  • Leader troughs
  • Leader elbows
  • Leader straps
  • Drill
  • Phillips head bit
  • 2 1/2-inch deck screws

Measure the horizontal fascia along the base of your roof. That which leads to a roof ridge, ignore. Count the number of corners the roof fascia has. For every two corners, you need one gutter corner. One corner on each side of your house is the head. The other is the tail. The leader to drain water to the ground is at the tail end of the gutter.

Drill a screw 1/2 inch into the top of the fascia at one end of the roof. Tie your chalk line to it and measure 10 feet across the fascia. Stretch the chalk line taught. Put your bubble level on top of the chalk line. Raise or lower the line until the fall from the screw is 1 1/4-inch per ten feet, or 1/8-inch per foot. Snap your chalk line. The line represents the top of your gutter.

Add gutter hangers to a length of gutter at 2 1/2-foot intervals. Gutter hangers feature a tongue-and-groove system. The hanger latches onto one side of the gutter, spans across the top and fastens to the other side. One side of the hanger has a tongue with a hole in it to screw your gutter to the fascia.

Place a length of gutter under the chalk line, the top of the gutter butted up against the line. Hold the gutter in place and drill your screws into the gutter hangers. Make sure top of the gutter is adjacent to the chalk line.

Snap another line once you have the first section of gutter fastened to the fascia. Snap the line from the top of the first section, ten feet out, with a fall of 1/8-inch per foot. Add your hangers to another section and feed that section into the tongue and groove lip of the trough of the first section. Thread screws into the hangers of the second section. Move down the roof in this manner until you reach the end of the fascia or a corner.

Put a leader trough on the end of the gutter if it is at the end of the fascia or a gutter corner if it is at a corner. If the gutter stops at a corner, snap another chalk line and begin mounting gutter lengths on the fascia. If you are at the end of the fascia, put in a leader elbow.

Slide the tongue of the leader elbow into the bottom of the leader trough’s groove. Fasten the elbow to the side of the house using two leader straps. Leader straps work like gutter hangers. They wrap around the leader and screw into the siding. However, leader straps have two tongues, each with a hole so the leader is screwed to the house on both sides. Slide the leader into the bottom of the leader elbow. Fasten it to the side of the house with leader straps, one every 2-feet. You are ready to mount a gutter on the next length of fascia.

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