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How to Install an Alternative to Gutters | Ask This Old House

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva installs an alternative to a gutter when a traditional one does not work.
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Time: 2 hours
Cost: $50
Skill Level: Beginner

Tools List for Installing Gutter Alternatives:
Ladder [https://amzn.to/2zxIWcW] Hammer [https://amzn.to/2NR7TIT] Prybar [https://amzn.to/2NFD9KB] Drill driver [https://amzn.to/2ZB9WCN] Measuring tape [https://amzn.to/2zyXmcI]

Shopping List:
Aluminum rain dispersal system [https://amzn.to/2NFqR4U]

1. Remove the old gutter by prying off the spikes with a hammer and a prybar. Then, unscrew the gutter from the fascia with the drill driver.
2. Mark 10” from the end of the house, then 30” from the end of the house, then 50” from the end.
3. Screw the mounting brackets on your marks as far down the fascia board as possible. It should be at least 4” down from the roof edge and 1 _” from the drip edge.
4. Clip the louvres on the rain dispersal system into the brackets.
5. Repeat the process as necessary to cover the whole side of the house.

In most circumstances, traditional style gutters are the most effective at diverting water as far away from structures as possible, but they also require a downspout in order to redirect that water. In cases where large sections of roof require a gutter and there is no good place for a downspout, a rain dispersal system can be a viable option.

Tom installed a white aluminum rain dispersal system, manufactured by Rainhandler (https://amzn.to/2NFqR4U). The system comes with screws, brackets, and extenders if the fascia board is too short.

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Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we’re ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers—and we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O’Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.

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How to Install an Alternative to Gutters | Ask This Old House


  1. I wish Tom Silvia was my dad or grandfather. He's so cool.

  2. Don’t like this idea at all…Especially when snow is involved.

  3. This old house I love watching your shows and I learn a lot from it. I need gutters at home. Could you recommend a good contractor or help me install it. Thanks

  4. Yea, this is just straight up a terrible idea.

  5. Not legal where i am. Our city says in the charter rain water has to be removed past 8 feet from the house.

  6. seems like sponsored content… only really good for very specific circumstances… and I doubt Mr. DeSilva would be putting this on his customer's or his own houses.

  7. Is it possible to install a gutter on an existing facia with an 1.5 trim board? I would love to see a video on installing a gutter with a trimmed facia.

  8. What are these called exactly? Who makes them? I can't seem to find them.

  9. Sure, French drain no problem if you're rich!!

  10. Another TOH infomercial. Sorry, Tawmy; no.

  11. When it rains, doesn't the rain itself hit the side of the building, having the same effect as if you didn't have gutters?

  12. So if you use these louvered gutterless gutters, you would then need to work on your drainage. I believe gutters are the best choice… & direct the water away from the house. Less work.

  13. Does this work well on two-story houses?

  14. When there is a strong down pour this is useless

  15. Tom
    I've watched you for 20+ years and always believe in you. This gimmick is the absolute worst!

  16. Did NOTHING to fix his concern about water pooling up on the side of his house. In fact, YOU MADE IT WORSE!!!

  17. I was never sold on this idea even years ago. And that's without reading peoples opinions in reviews. Your still going to have an increase in dripping and puddling along the foundation, unless the slope is changed. But you can't do that easily if it's already paved. If I were still deadset on getting rid of excess water I would stick with quality gutters and put the downspout in another location and do a french drain or slope it into the lawn. I'm surprised this old house is endorsing this product in a scripted you tube video. I guess once you get famous, you endorse silly things for $$$. You gave in to the MAN….You could also think about removing the pavement in certain sections and laying concrete blocks that allow water to drain into the ground. Takes some effort but if you into doing those kind of things it's enjoyable. Tinkering with improving your own home and doing it right and not cheezy.

  18. Just remove the roof…let the rain in, that's an even better idea 😉

  19. Test the falling crab apples, ice sheets and the worst – falling walnuts! Mine fall hard from 75 feet up right above the house. Only the RAINDROP black plastic had been tough enough to take repeated beatings without damage or collapse. The thick black plastic gets warm in full sun and melts snow and ice. It's not a screen so some debris gets through. But who cares? Anything that small washes right down the drain pipe! Get RAIN DROP GUTTER GUARDS!

  20. The amount of times I’ve ripped this off homes is insane… never works 😂

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