Gutter downpipes are essential to the health and safety of your home, so when they get clogged or damaged it’s important that you take care of them as soon as possible. Taking care of the downpipes on your home is important because they are meant to collect excess rainwater from your roof and move it far away from the foundation. This helps prevent water damage to the wood and stonework in your basement, which can be expensive to repair if it gets out of hand.
When you notice that your gutter downpipes are no longer moving water away from your home as they should, you should consider replacing them. Here is how to replace the gutter downpipe.
If your gutter downpipe is old or damaged, it may need to be replaced
It is typically easier to replace the downpipe by removing it from above, so you should remove your gutter before making any repairs.
You will need a ladder and wrenches. If you do not own these tools, hire someone with them for this job. Carefully remove the old downpipe out of the gutter. Make sure that it is in one piece and free of any other debris before moving on to the next step.
If the downpipe has a pipe clamp, remove it and discard it. If there is any excess water in the downpipe, drain it out to avoid accidentally flooding your yard when you move onto the next step.
Clean out the gutters
Use a roof rake to pull down any remaining debris on the gutters, or use your hand to reach up and pull out the debris. You should be careful not to damage the gutters while you are doing this, particularly if they are old or made of wood.
If you are working with a wooden roof, do not use the rake too hard or it may damage your gutters. If there is an excessive amount of debris in the gutter and you cannot remove it with ease, call a professional contractor to have them remove the debris after they install your new downpipe.
Clean the inside of your gutters. Use a pressure washer if you have one, or a water hose and long-handled brush to remove any additional buildup that has accumulated on the insides of your gutters. This could include tree sap or algae depending on where you live.
Once everything is clean and dry, go ahead and install your new downpipe.
Measure the height of the downpipe
Use wrenches to remove the flange from your existing downpipe. Place it in an area where it will not get damaged or dirty while you are working with the new downpipe.
Remove the screws from the existing downpipe, and lift it out of your gutter carefully. Lay it on the ground underneath so that you can measure it once more to ensure that you are placing your new downpipe in exactly the same spot as before.
Slide the new downpipe into place. Use a level to make sure that it is straight and secure, and secure the flange back onto your downpipe with locking nuts. If you do not have any extras on hand, use an adjustable wrench or screwdriver to tighten them as much as you can so that they stay in place until you can get some new ones.
Put the downpipe into place and make sure that it is secure
Use a level to check your downpipe. If everything looks straight and secure, attach any clamps or screws you have removed previously back onto the new downpipe or tighten them as much as you can with an adjustable wrench. This will keep the downpipe in place until you can take care of it properly.
Once everything is secured and straight, go ahead and put your gutters back into place, making sure that they are secure on the ground so that they do not move while you make any repairs to them. You may want to hire a professional contractor if there was a great deal of debris in the gutters that will need to be removed now.
If you are working with a wooden roof, be careful not to damage the roof while you are working on it. If necessary, hire someone with professional tools or experience for this job so that they can do it safely and efficiently.
Add additional downpipes if needed
If you need additional downpipes for any reason, you can simply repeat the steps from this process to install another one. If you want more than two downpipes on your roof, it is usually considered better to have an architect or contractor draw up blueprints as part of the architectural design process so that everything looks aesthetically pleasing and is safe from a structural standpoint.
Measure down the distance of your downpipe to ensure that it is straight and level once you have installed it. Run an ice pick or metal coat hanger along the exterior of the downpipe if necessary to make sure that there are no obstructions inside. If there are any problems with the downpipe itself, you may need to replace it or hire a professional installer if you do not want to risk damaging your roof.
Measure the downpipe to make sure that there are no obstructions inside
Check that your new downpipe is securely attached to your gutter and clean away any debris by hand as well as you can before attaching gutters back onto the roof. This can help to prevent rust or additional debris from getting into your new downpipe as well as make the roof more appealing.
If you do not want any additional downpipes on your roof, simply return gutters back to their original positions and fill in any missing screws or clamps with a screwdriver. If there is any rust or debris in your downpipe or gutters, you may need to go back and clean it out before being able to properly secure the gutters so that they do not damage your roof.
After everything is complete, inspect the exterior of your home thoroughly and remove any additional tools from your property. Check all of the roof joints for any loose screws, and clean away any debris you come across on a regular basis so that your downpipes are kept in good condition.
If everything is secure and clean, ask someone to take a walk around the exterior of the house with you before calling it a day.
Secure everything in place using screws or nails
Be sure to use your level to check up on the gutter downpipe once it has been installed so that it will be straight and not damaged over time. If things are off by more than a few angles, you may need to get some assistance with these repairs or hire a professional installer to make sure the downpipe is installed correctly.
Once your downpipe is secure, it’s time to put the rain gutters back on top of the downpipe and hang it at a height that will most often be just above your head when you are standing in front of them. The gutter should extend upward so that any water will run down into the funnel-shaped part near the bottom of the downpipe and be caught by the drain. Once you have it where you like it, the last step is to measure your existing gutter downpipe height so that you can cover any seams with some aluminum or other lightweight metal for a finished look.
Tips on what to do after installing a new pipe
Measure the new downpipe to make sure that it is completely straight before securing it in place. Run an ice pick or metal coat hanger along the exterior of the pipe and check for obstructions before you secure it in place. If there are any problems with your downpipe, replace or hire a professional installer who can do it safely and responsibly for you.
After everything is secure and in place, inspect the exterior of your home and clean away any debris inside your downpipe or on the roof using a broom or shop vacuum. Remove any tools from the area on your property, and call someone to check around with you before you begin hammering nails or screwing things into place.
After you have cleaned away any debris and removed the tools from your property, call someone to come around with you for a final assessment of your new downpipe. Make sure it is secure and inspect for any problems that may need more attention before calling it a day on this project!