Cutting metal gutters isn't the easiest task, as it requires a good amount of physical strength and time. That being said, the process itself is relatively simple, and your efforts will be rewarded when you have new gutters that can last over 20 years. While you can always hire a professional to install your gutters, doing it yourself will save you money and provide you with a sense of achievement.
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How to Cut Metal Gutters
Step 1: Select Your Cutting Tool
Metal gutters can be cut with tin snips, aviation snips, a hacksaw, or a jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade. Many people already own tin snips and are inclined to use them, but these are the most labor-intensive of the options and may place strain on your wrists and hands. For steel or zinc gutters rather than aluminum or copper, it's best to skip the tin snips and select a stronger cutting tool. If you want to make the work go more quickly, stick with a power saw.
Step 2: Measure and Mark
Set up a worktable and then set the gutter upside down on the table with the convex interior of the gutter facing the surface of the table. Use a tape measure to measure where the gutter should be cut on one corner of the gutter and then mark this distance with a pencil. Measure the other corner and mark it with a pencil. Then, use a combination square to line up the pencil marks and draw a line around the sides of the gutter. Flip over the gutter and trace the line around the back.
Step 3: Cut the Gutter
Put on safety gear, including thick leather gloves and safety goggles. If using tin snips or aviation snips, hold the gutter so you can access the front edge with the tool. Start at the front edge and cut downward along your line until you reach the flat bottom of the gutter. Repeat along the back side, cutting all the way to the flat bottom. Bend the cut section back to create a fold along the bottom, then cut along the fold from either side to complete the cut.
If you are using a jigsaw, secure the gutter on a work surface, with the aid of a helper or some clamps. Set the saw for zero oscillation — so the blade cuts straight up and down, not in an elliptical pattern. Cut along the line, working one side at a time.
Step 4: Cut the Downspout
Cutting a downspout is different because there's no edge to start your cut from. Mark a cutting line along all four sides of the downspout, using a combination square, as with an open gutter. Downspouts often are easiest to cut with a hacksaw, simply by securing the piece to your work surface and cutting across one of the wide sides. To cut a downspout with snips, you have to punch the point of the snips through the metal to start the cut, or you can drill a hole with a drill or cut in from a nearby end of the downspout, whichever is most convenient.