"All you need to know is that water flows down hill and pay day is Friday. "
That is the self-deprecating and humorous way that a relative of my wife's explained his plumbing job on a recent visit.
As a branch of plumbing fixing plastic guttering is almost as simple.
There are only three things that you really need to know to get started on fixing plastic guttering to your shed:
What the main parts are and how they fit together
How to plan the guttering layout and order the right amount of material
How to fix the component in place on the eaves of the shed
There are six main components of plastic guttering; The guttering section, support brackets, the end blank, corner pieces, dropper section and connector piece.
The main component is of course the half round plastic pipe itself. This comes in standard lengths and you will need to cut at least one length per side of your shed to give you the correct length for your building. Cutting it to length is easy and can be done with a handsaw.
The gutter section is supported by brackets at typically 2 feet centres. The precise spacing of these brackets should be checked though as different systems do vary.
At the highest point of the guttering run you will need to place an end blank to cap off the end of the pipe and stop the water flowing out the wrong end of the pipe.
There are two types of corner piece, and internal and an external corner. For most small rectangular buildings only external corners will be required.
The dropper section has a vertical hole in the middle and a section of pipe connects on to this for the rainwater down pipe to connect to.
The final section is the connector piece. If you need to connect two pieces of plain guttering then this short component has a connector on each end to enable the connection. A bracket is needed within 6 inches of the connector on either side to strengthen this area.
Now you know what the main components are you need to calculate how many of each you will need to complete your guttering system.
The first step in planning your guttering layout is to draw the outline of your roof on paper. The basic component is the half round guttering pipe and you need to know the length of the roof perimeter that you are going to be collecting water from. This will give you the length of pipe that you need. It is likely that you will have to order the pipe in packs of 6 or more, so you may end up with more material than you need. If this is the case I always try to find someone else that I can share the extra with if they have a similar job on the go.
The number of support brackets will be the length of pipe divided by the maximum spacing of the brackets and add say three per side to account for corners and connectors. So if your shed roof had a perimeter of 12 metres then you would need 12/0.6 =20 plus 4 times 3 =12. Which is a total of 32 brackets.
For a simple system you will need 2 end blanks, three external corners and one dropper piece.
The number of connectors will depend on the size of shed and the length of pipe that you have bought but for the example here 1 connector is needed for each of the long sides.
The next step is to put your order in to the builder's merchant or online store and wait for delivery before you can start installation.
To enable the water to flow to the down pipe effectively then the dropper pipe will be installed at the lowest point of the guttering run and the blanked off ends will be at the highest point. In between these two points you should aim for the guttering to fall at a slope of about 1 in 50, this equates to ¼" every 10 feet or 6mm every 3metres.
Using the example that I had earlier the length of pipe from the top of the run to the outlet was 20 feet (6 metres) and so the total fall on this length is ½" (12mm).
Bearing this slope in mind mark the level of the dropper and the end bracket on the fascia board to which you will be fixing the support brackets. The support brackets fix on to the fascia with two ¾" long screws. Mark the position of each of the support brackets on to the fascia according to the paper plan that you made earlier and screw them into position.
The basic connection is formed by the underside of the pipe fitting against a rubber seal, there is a plastic clip that is part of the connector piece, corner piece or dropper that then pulls the section of the gutter section to it to make a water tight seal.
Getting this connection to work is quite simple but is a bit of a technique and it is worth experimenting with it at ground level before you start actually fixing it to the roof.
As the plastic guttering system is so light and quick to fix, once the brackets are in place and you can start installation. I would fix as many of the long lengths of pipe in position first and then measure exactly the length of cut pieces that you need. There is a bit of an allowance in the connector piece for this but you will need to be accurate to the nearest 5mm.
Get a watering can and pour it in to the gutter at the high end to see that it does flow smoothly along the gutters to the outlet point without any leak.
This test will also confirm something else that you knew all along.....water really does flow down hill.
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