How To Add A Downspout To Your Gutters

Our watery climate here in the Pacific Northwest means that our gutters have to function at peak performance in order to keep up. If you get regular cleanings, but still notice that your gutters are overflowing or are struggling to keep water flowing, then you may want to consider adding a downspout. Here’s a guide to adding a downspout to your existing gutters.

What You’ll Need


A Downspout

Downspout Elbows


Seam Sealant

Mounting Brackets

Rivets and Screws



A ladder

A drill with both drill bits and driver bits

A hacksaw

Tin snips or a small straight hacksaw

A rivet tool

Tape Measure

How To Add A Downspout To Your Gutters

Where Should The Downspout Go?
There are a few factors to consider when deciding where to place your new downspout. Depending on your current setup, one location may make more sense than another. If you only have one downspout, on a stretch of gutter, then you may want to add a downspout on the opposite side. It’s important to note that the pitch of the gutter should be sloping toward your existing downspout so water will flow in that direction. If you add a downspout on the opposing side, then you will need to adjust the pitch accordingly. This means that the gutter should now be raised in the middle and slope downward toward each side so that the water will flow equally into each downspout. Correcting the pitch of your gutters can be a serious task, if you’re not up to it, you can always call in the pros.
If you already have a downspout on each side of your gutter, then you could choose to put the downspout right in the middle of them for maximum drainage. This also involves correcting the pitch so that water will flow into each downspout properly. Another option, if you notice you have a specific problem area for drainage, is to add a downspout closer to the problem area, and depending on the situation, you may get away without having to adjust the pitch of the gutters.
The last thing to consider is aesthetics. It wouldn’t make much sense to put your downspout right in front of a door or window, or a porch opening. So if your ideal spot for your downspout would block prominent features of your home or building, then you’ll have to compromise on the placement a bit.

Time To Get Started
The first thing you’ll need to do is add the outlet in your chosen location. This means cutting a properly sized hole in the gutter to place the outlet into. The best way to do this is to make a template so you make sure that the hole will be correctly sized. A piece of cardboard should work fine. Cut the hole in the cardboard and make sure the outlet has a nice fit into it, make sure there is enough overhang of the flange on the outlet so you can securely fasten it to the gutters with rivets. Then use the template to draw an outline of where you will cut your hole. Make sure the hole is centered on the gutter so the outlet will sit as flat as possible within it.
Drill holes in the corner of where your holes will be and use your tin snips or straight hacksaw to connect the holes (depending on the material your gutters are made of, this may be a real challenge and worth calling in the professionals). And there it is! The perfect hole for your outlet. The edges may be sharp, so be aware of that. Drop your outlet into the hole and drill the holes for the rivets using the existing holes on the outlet. Now pull the outlet back out and apply sealant all the way around the underside of the lip. Reinsert the outlet and secure it to the gutters with rivets, and you’re done with the outlet!

Mind The Gap

How To Add A Downspout To Your Gutters

If you have a roof overhang, then you’ll need to install some elbows so that you can securely fasten the downspout to the exterior of your building. You’ll need two elbows and you can adjust the width by how far you force them together, just make sure to leave enough room to rivet them together. If you find that the elbows alone won’t reach far enough to make it to the exterior of the building, then you’ll need to add a section of downspout in between them. A good rule to follow is to make sure that pieces that are higher up should funnel into lower pieces, so you don’t get leaks. Once you have a good fit, rivet the pieces together securely.

Adding The Downspout

Time to screw in the brackets that hold the downspout firmly in place. Install one bracket about a foot from where the top of the downspout will be and the other about a foot and a half from where the bottom of the downspout will be. They need to be perfectly lined up with where your outlet opening is. Place the elbow you will use to guide water away from the house on the ground below the elbows that you’ve already installed and measure the distance between them. If the distance is shorter than the 10’ lengths of downspout that you can buy from the store, then cut to length. Make sure to add about an inch and a half to account for insertion. If the length is greater than 10’, then you will have to connect pieces of downspout together.

How To Add A Downspout To Your Gutters

Once you have the right length of downspout, then you’ll want to fasten the top of the downspout to the elbows coming from the outlet and then fasten the downspout to the brackets. Connect your elbow at the bottom of the downspout and you’re done! One last thing to consider is to add a downspout extension to get water even further away from the building.

That’s Quite A Bit Of Work!

Adding a downspout can be a serious undertaking, especially if you need to correct the pitch of the gutters. It may be a wise choice to save yourself the time, energy, and potential mistakes, and call in the pros! SNUGS has been cleaning, repairing, and installing gutter for over 25 years. We have gutter installation crews with the latest equipment and knowledge to install a gutter on a new building or replace the full gutter system. We specialize with 5K, 6K, and Fascia gutter types. We only use aluminum gutter materials for longer life of your gutter system. Our gutter systems come with corrugated downspouts for optimum flow and less clogging.

Snugs Pro Wash, Inc, dba SNUGS Services, has been providing high quality Pressure Washing Services in Portland, OR since 1995. Started as a residential pressure washing and roof cleaning service, SNUGS is now one of the leading exterior cleaning companies in the Northwest. From our humble beginnings as a man with a truck and a trailer we have grown to become a multi-million dollar company serving corporate customers, name brands, and mom and pop companies alike.

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