How to Install Eave Troughs

Eave troughs or gutters serve multiple purposes on houses and other buildings.

Gutters or eave troughs are attractive and help route water away from the house to prevent damage.Gutters or eave troughs are attractive and help route water away from the house to prevent damage.
As rain cascades down the roof, it builds momentum. If it is allowed to pour off the edge of the eave, the water will create a trench along the line below the eave. This not only damages the landscaping but also allows water to seep under the foundation and even into a basement. The integrity of the building's foundation can be quickly compromised. Using eave troughs can help avert these pitfalls. Not all eave troughs are installed the same way. The following is one method of eave trough installation.

Measure the length of the eave where the first run of eave trough will be installed. Divide the number of feet in the run by twenty. Eave troughs need to be sloped downward one inch for every twenty feet of run in the direction of the downspout. Tap a small nail into the fascia as near to the top of the eave as possible. Leave most of the nail exposed so that a string can be tied to it.

Tie the end of a chalk line string to the nail. Move to the other end of the run for the eave trough. Measure down from the top edge of the eave the number of inches that you computed in the previous step, and mark it with a pencil. Stretch the chalk line taut, and hold the end against the mark. Reach out 18 inches from the end of the line, lift the line 2 inches from the eave, and let it snap back. This will create a mark along the eave for you to follow when installing the eave trough.

Remove the chalk line from the nail, and pull the nail from the fascia. If you did not purchase eave trough with the end already attached, push an end covering onto the end of the eave trough that will begin your run. Make sure that it snaps firmly into place. Lift the first piece of eave trough up to the eave, and position the starting end with the top of the trough against the chalk line. Make certain that the top of the trough follows the line the entire length of the trough segment.

Slide the first eave trough nail through the tube nearest to the end of the segment, and tap it into the fascia with a hammer. Do not fully hammer the nail in. Move to the other end of the segment, and repeat the process with another nail at that end. Snap a connector onto the first segment. Lift the second segment into position and snap the end of it into the connector. Install the nails into the segment in the same way as the first segment. Continue this process until you are ready to install the last segment in the run.

Measure the remaining distance in the run. Cut a piece of eave trough with the downspout opening to the correct length with either a pair of snips or a hacksaw. Make the cut on the end opposite the downspout opening. Push another end covering onto the end of the eave trough that is nearest to the downspout.

Lift the final segment into position, snap it into the connector, and nail it in the same way as was done in previous steps. Move along the eave trough run, and tap all of the nails in tightly to secure the eave trough firmly to the eave of the building.

Lift a segment of the downspout tube into place over the nipple that protrudes from the eave trough. Use self-tapping screws, and insert them through the downspout and eave trough nipple on opposite sides from each other. Measure the distance to the ground from the lower end of the downspout segment. Subtract 6 inches from this measurement. Cut a piece of downspout this length. Slip the segment over the tapered end of the downspout segment already installed. Use two self-tapping screws to attach the segment.

Attach the downspout boot at the end of the downspout with self-tapping screws to divert the water away from the foundation of the house. Use two metal straps evenly spaced along the length of the downspout to secure it to the house. Wrap the strap over the top of the downspout, and insert a screw in each end that goes through the strap and into the house. If the downspout is still not completely stable, insert an additional screw through the strap and into the center of the downspout.

Apply caulk to the inside of the end covers and joints of the eave trough to prevent leaks. Install each additional run of eave trough around the house in the same way. If a run is more than 40 feet in length, you should slope the eave trough downward from the middle of the run in each direction with a downspout on each end.

Things You Will Need

  • Ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Eave trough segments
  • Downspout segments
  • Chalk line string
  • End covers
  • Connectors
  • Hacksaw
  • Snips
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Caulk
  • Downspout boots


  • Have a friend assist you to make handling the eave trough segments easier.


  • Always make sure that the ladder is setting solidly on the ground before climbing up.

About the Author

Allen Teal was first published in 2002 in the "Adult Teacher" and "Adult Student" books for the Assemblies of God Sunday School department. He has also been published on various websites. He received an Associate of Arts in business from Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Mo.