Rain gutters are a very important element of the roof on your house. You probably know this already, but if it wasn’t for rain gutters, rainwater would simply pour down the outer walls, rotting away any woodwork foolish enough to get in the way. Then, if no drain was present at ground level, the water would just sit there, soaking your home from beneath, causing mold and fungus in your walls, which would eventually make its way inside, making your home a very unhealthy place to be. But hey, good thing your rain gutters are in top shape, right?
If they’re not, don’t worry: With a tool called a sheet metal brake – some folks call it a sheet metal bender – you can make your own rain gutters. It’s not too hard if you think about it. Rain gutters are really just sheets of metal with a few bends in them, and with the right equipment, it is quite possible for you to make them yourself.
You will need:
- Sheet metal of your choice, whatever matches the gutters you have. Common choices are copper, zinc and aluminum, and these can be easily bent in the gauges normally used for gutters. Steel is also used, but is not as suited for diy, as steel gutters have to be zincplated, painted or enamelled completely to prevent them from rusting rapidly.
- Sheet metal shears.
- A sheet metal brake. Go for a model specifically made for roofers, as these have the necessary working length needed for making gutters in a meaningful way (4-6 ft minimum). They are also a lot lighter and more portable than a workshop model of equivalent length.
The next thing you need to do is take down an intact piece of the existing gutters on your house, and take a good, hard stare at it: You are going to replicate it, so get hold of a ruler, pen and paper. Now set the guttering down on the paper in a way that allows you to draw its outline with the pen. Be as exact as you can, you need to get that profile right. Next thing to do, is to take measures between the bends in the profile. You want to know exactly how long every one of those stretches of material are. Now use those measurements to correct your outline drawing if necessary. You should now have an exact drawing of the profile of your existing gutter, and are ready to do some sheet metal fabrication.