Usually, I suggest homeowners to hire experts to do this simple yet taxing piece of work. But since aluminum isn’t the hardest material to cut, even you could do it with a hand cutter.
This is a straightforward task that doesn’t need any “knowing” on your part. However, knowing how to cut aluminum gutters without the remote possibility of leakage is a whole other thing.
Many people have experienced leakage from the gutter, i.e., it wasn’t cut and fit properly. If you’re experiencing such issues or the gutter gets clogged up too frequently, you might be thinking about redoing the whole thing. That is a good idea, but it isn’t as easy as it seems to the eye.
You could be wasting energy, time, and money if you don’t follow proper instructions. More importantly, you could even injure yourself.
The good news is that when you know what exactly you need to do, things don’t seem too daunting. That is exactly what this article is all about.
Tools Required to Cut Gutters
Here are the tools you need to cut the aluminum gutter into shape:
- Pattern shear/Metal shear/ Jigsaw/ Miter Saw/Hacksaw
- Carbide-tipped blade
- Pencil for marking
- Fine tooth file
- Measuring tape (take a big one)
- Combination square
- Tin snips
- Protective gloves that can prevent cuts
Which Cutting Tool Should I Use?
As you saw, there isn’t a shortage of tools appropriate for cutting aluminum.
You have the option to choose from those tools above. All of them will do the job but you need to select the one that you’re more comfortable with.
As you can imagine, machine saws like Jigsaw or Miter Saw are harder to learn and control. But they are more efficient and take a lot less time.
They are also pricier and aren’t worth the one-time investment for a homeowner. If you do not have any else to do with a miter saw, then these do not seem like the wiser choice.
On the other hand, a Hacksaw is much easier to control, even for someone who has never cut something with a saw. It does take a lot more time to finish the job. But this tradeoff is worth it. I mean, you do have the time, don’t you?
Take time, because for someone amateur in this job, trying to complete quickly will cause you to mess up, you can trust me when I say this.
Then, you have pattern shear/metal shears. It’s quite common in workshops. But is it enough for this job? For me, it just isn’t enough, especially if the aluminum is thick. What is it good for? Pattern shear is suitable for cutting small parts of aluminum.
How to Cut Aluminum Gutters in 6 Steps
Step 1: Prepare the Work Table
Get the uncut aluminum gutter on the work table. The best way to place it is to keep the open side upwards.
The aluminum gutter has 3 sheets of aluminum; two vertical places and one horizontal plane. The other side is open, and this should be on top.
Step 2: Measure the Required Amount
Now, take the measuring tape and measure the path where the gutter will be placed. Do not forget to mark the points where you’ll put outlets.
If you’re just going to replace the old one, you could use it as the template. It’ll make things much easier. But, if the old one had leakage issues due to bad cutting and measuring, it’s not such a good idea.
Take the trouble of measuring the length of the pieces. It’ll only help you.
Step 3: Mark the Aluminum Gutter
After double-checking the measurement, it’s time to mark the unmodified piece of aluminum gutter. Use a carpenter’s pencil to mark the places where you’ll divide the gutter and the outlet spots.
Step 4: Complete the Marking
Use the combination square or a scale to turn the marking into a straight line. It’ll work as your guide when you’re cutting the gutter.
Depending on the position of the cut, you may need to cut it perpendicular to its length, or at a 45° angle. You need to mark the angle as well.
For the end of the gutters, mark the spot with a line perpendicular to the length. And in the corner spots, the gutter will be cut at a 45° angle.
Step 5: Cut the Gutter with a Tool of Your Choice
Now take any of the tools mentioned on the list above and start cutting. I’d prefer a mix of a hacksaw and a metal shear in the cutting process.
The cutting should start from either of the vertical planes. Follow the marked line and cut both vertical lines. Once you reach the horizontal plane from both sides, slightly bend the gutter along the marked line. It’ll give you space to with if you’re using a hacksaw or a metal shear.
For a miter saw and Jigsaw, the blades are big enough to cut through. You don’t need to bend it. It’s time to finish cutting.
Step 6: Make the Outlet Holes
When you’re done dividing the gutter into different pieces for all sides, it’s time to make the outlet holes. For this purpose, I’d like to use metal shear. Using a metal shear, poke a hole on the marked spot. Widen the hole using the shear and now cut it to create a round or oval-shaped hole.
Step 7: File the Gutter
There will be a lot of sharp edges once you’ve cut the gutter. It’ll cause injury if you’re not careful. So, it’s a good idea to file the sharp edges so that you can comfortably.
Take the fine tooth file and remove the sharp edges.
Safety Cautions When Cutting an Aluminum Gutter
- Working with metal can be injurious to health if you’re not maintaining safety. Don’t forget to use gloves and goggles from start to finish.
- Measure twice and cut once. It’s never a waste of time. A little fault in measurement will cost you a lot.
- When using the metal shear, be careful that it doesn’t hurt your fingers
- When using an electrical machine such as Miter saw, tread carefully.
Use a Carbide-Tipped Blade
What’s a carbide-tipped blade? It’s what it sounds like. The main body of the blade is steel, and the carbide tip is brazed onto the body along the edge.
A good carbide edge is not better at sawing, but it also increases the lifespan with 10-20 times more endurance.
If your choice of the tool is a miter saw or a jigsaw, I’d suggest getting a carbide-tipped blade for it. Due to the higher rate of friction, blades give out earlier and do not last well.
Take help from a user’s guide or an expert. It’s vital to know how to adjust the direction of cutting. Plug the saw in and squeeze the start button. Follow step 5 to complete your cutting.
What Gauge Aluminum for Gutters?
Gauge is the term used to refer to the thickness of the material. The industry standard thickness for aluminum gutters is 0.027-gauge. In the domestic stores, you’ll see 0.25 aluminum are sold.
I’d suggest using .032 aluminum gutters for maximum durability. This will be especially helpful if you live in an area that’s heavily affected by snow during the winter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you cut aluminum gutters with a chop saw?
Yes, you can use a chop saw to cut your aluminum gutter. It’s a widely used tool by professionals. If you have one and know how to use it, take advantage of it.
Will Home Depot cut aluminum gutters?
For those who don’t want to take the trouble of cutting their gutters, you can ask the folks at home depot to do it for you.
Which gutter material is the best?
Aluminum is the most popular material on the market. It’s light, easy to cut and customize. It’s durable enough for use in homes. Zinc rain gutters might be the better option, but it’s a lot more expensive.
If you chose aluminum as the gutter material, you’ve done half the work of cutting. It’s fairly easy to cut, even for amateur homeowners who don’t know how to cut aluminum gutters.
This might be a great DIY project that you can look back at after years. That could work out only if you follow the aforementioned process.
The good thing about DIY projects is that you’re in control. So, don’t stress and take time to cut the gutter. Maintain safety at all times and try not to use electrical saws.