Roofing over a bad eaves trough gutter (C) Carson Dunlop Daniel Friedman Integral or Eaves Trough Gutters

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Eaves trough gutter replacement: how do we get rid of the flat slope provided by an integral gutter system that we want to abandon? The starting and ending structure is ullustrated below where we give the steps in this procedure.

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How to Abandon an Eaves Trough Gutter - Roof Over & Install Fascia-Mounted Gutters

Gutter and Downspout Details (C) Carson Dunlop Associates Roofing over a bad eaves trough gutter (C) Carson Dunlop Daniel Friedman

When the integral gutter system is in very bad shape or when people are just sick of repairing and re-lining the eaes trough, or where the eaves trough has sagged so that it won't drain properly, just saying "fix it" can lead to a restoration job (like mine above) that is quite expensive. Then owners may consider how best to abandon the existing integral gutter system.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Often when a home has built-in gutters such as the types I've described, the roof structure or soffit flattens out at the eaves in order to contain the gutter system.

Adding an aluminum K gutter at the edge of that won't work (as you realize), because we still have that too-flat and probably leaky or even leaky and rotted eaves trough in place.

But chopping off the roof soffit and built-in eaves trough just to add a K gutter is a lot of work that is unnecessary unless that structure is already so badly rotted that it can neither be repaired nor built-over (as I will describe below).

And chopping off the eaves trough structure or reducing the extent of eaves overhang at a home is usually a bad idea for various reasons:

  • loss of architectural detail that forms part of the value of the structure
  • overflowing gutters will send water right down or even into the building walls
  • there may be no remaining eaves overhang to use for roof ventilation intake openings
  • probably other complaints I've not thought of

9 Steps to Replacing an Eaves Trough or Integral Gutter with a Fascia-Mounted Gutter

Instead of hacking off a structurally sound (or easily made sound) eaves trough or integral gutter that is built into the roof surface you can just roof over it.

If the integral gutter is a nearly-flat extension out over the roof edge, also forming a soffit, I'd think about leaving the built-in or integral gutter system in place, removing any water and debris in the gutters, drying out what remains, and then building over the eaves trough as follows:

  1. Remove lower courses of shingles on the existing roof up to beneath an upper course of shingles that will remain in place on the existing roof. (For fire code and safety reasons we don't want to build multiple layers of roof structure leaving old roofing materials in place). Just how many courses of shingles need to be removed depends on the width of the new roof sheathing I describe next.
  2. Cover the existing integral gutter over with plywood that extends at least 4 ft from the outer roof eaves edge up the roof slope so that we get some pitch at the lower roof eaves.

    You may need to go more than four feet up the roof with new sheathing or to turn your plywood in the long direction and cut to length (six feet or use all eight feet along with added support below) if the integral gutter you are abandoning extends so far out from the sloped roof that you can't get enough new roof slope with just four feet of decking.
  3. Roof over that using matching materials to what's on the upper roof slope.
  4. Include ice and water shield,
  5. I'd be sure that I had a good drip edge, properly placed, so that roof runoff spills into the new fascia-attached gutter and downspout system.
  6. The upper most course of new shingles and underlayment must, of course, extend up beneath the existing roof covering, presumably shingles.
  7. If the existing fascia is rotted it should be replaced and painted on all sides before mounting the new gutter on the fascia board.
  8. Remove the old downspouts that were attached to the under-side of the old (now abandoned) eaves trough or integral gutter and seal the opening left in the underside of the old eaves trough so that you don't invite critters into the roof structure.
  9. Mount the new roof gutter to the fascia board, connect to a downsput system that empties well away from the foundation.



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