Box Gutter Solutions Needed

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Box Gutter Solutions Needed

Postby John on Thu Jul 27, 2000 10:58 am


I was wondering if anyone can direct me to a place or book/publication that can tell me how to fabricate my own box gutters. So far, I have been unsuccessful in finding anything. I am gearing up for a major DIY slate roof removal and replacement because of the lovely ice dams that occur annually at my house. (Yes, insulating is part of the project too, but that will be after replacing parts of the rotten roof deck)

Now, here's my dilemma: My box gutters really aren't in that bad of shape after 110yrs of neglect. The only major problems are around the holes for the downspouts, there are lots of "extra" holes that let the water run directly into the soffit trim area and not into the downspouts like intended. I've done many "quick fixes" with great results but desire a more permanent fix. Since I'm replacing just about everything on my roof including all of the soffit and trim, I want to make sure I do the right thing for my gutters as well.

Should I: 1. Replace the box gutters with new. (Where can I find info on how to do this?) 2. Fix the problem areas and hope no new ones occur.(Again, where, oh where, can I find good info on doing this?) Or 3. Line the gutters with something(What are my choices for liners)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks in advance.

Leaking in Pennsylvania, John

Re: Box Gutter Solutions Needed

Postby Ken Holmes on Thu Jul 27, 2000 11:16 pm

Hi John,

As publisher hereabouts, I probably should know about just such a book (and may indeed have something tucked away at my home office; alas, I'm at our summer place in Maine for an extended stretch). So I'll leave it to others to suggest a book, if anyone knows of one, but am mildly curious why -- if the box gutters are still there -- why you can't take measurements and duplicate your originals.

I'm even more curious about a second point: Is the slate delaminating, so that it is soaking up moisture? If not, are you sure you really want to replace it?

Ken Holmes
Ken Holmes

Re: Box Gutter Solutions Needed

Postby Scott Frederick on Fri Jul 28, 2000 8:38 am

John, first of all, I am interested in knowing how much slate you are going to remove from your house, and where you live. I am looking for enough slate to redo my roof, which was originally done in slate, but has long since been replaced by shingles. How big is your house?

Now, on to the question at hand. I, too am going to redo my box gutters (which have been covered over). If you replace any wood, I recommend using pressure treated lumber, to prevent any future insect/rot damage. I am planning to line my gutters with roll rubber roofing. When you install this product, be sure to put it on the sheathing of the roof at least 2 feet up under the shingles and roofing felt. (do this before reroofing, of course) This will prevent the ice dams you have been getting. Be sure to run the rubber the length of the gutter from corner to corner to prevent any unnecessary seams. I would just cut the roofing in strips 5' wide (and the length of each gutter run), start the edge out at the top outside edge of your gutter, and glue it in place, pressing it flat inward as you go, and allow the excess to continue up on your sheathing, creating a waterproof seal where the gutter meets the house. Good luck, and let me know how it works.
Scott Frederick

Re: Box Gutter Solutions Needed

Postby John on Fri Jul 28, 2000 8:55 am

Thanks Ken!!

Yes, the box gutters are still there. The plan was/is to duplicate the originals. Since metal fabricating is something I am not familiar with, I just need a place to start. I'm not sure of the best way to bend the metal (bender/brake, really big hammer), which metal is the best to use, how do I secure the joints/corners/downspout attachments (solder, roofing cement)? I know that it is really not that difficult, but I need to to know the best way a DIY'er like myself can accomplish this. Over the past few years I've found just about everything I needed in books, but I've come up short in the box gutter publication area. (BTW, I won't be starting this project until april/may 2001)

Oh yeah, the slate shingles.... My roof still has the original slates from 1890. Well, most of it at least. There were a few minor modifications and changes that I plan on returning to their original state. Plus, I will be installing ridge vent(s) as well (The Slate Book -- au. Stearns, Stearns, and Meyer) The condition of the slate is not that bad, but it is not that good either. Some of the slate is in various stages of delaminating, cracking, and just at the the end of it's life. Also, most of the roof system is fairly steep pitched so it has prolonged the life of the slate quite well. After removing the slate, I predict that 66%-50% of it will be re-useable. BUT, does anyone know how long it will last if I put it back up there??? Another 100 years or only a few years until the salvaged slates fail. I am not opposed to "modern, hi-tech" solutions like the slate look-a-likes from Crowe Building Products. I am looking for a solution that is easy to work with and will alleviate me from doing any roof work on my house for the rest of my life (well, most of it at least, I'm only 35) except for cleaning the gutters a 2x/year.

Also, I'm looking for a reference for HVAC ductwork. i.e. location of vents and intakes, should they be installed on inside or outside walls, baseboard or ceiling height. How large should the ducts be and how do I zone the whole mess. And to complicate matters, I have not one, but two 100,000 BTU forced air furnaces.

Anyone know of any box gutter or HVAC references, printed or human will do;-)

Thanks, John Kapusta

Re: Box Gutter Solutions Needed

Postby Margaret on Fri Jul 28, 2000 6:29 pm

John, We recently completed a similar project. The contractor make the necessary repairs in the gutters and then lined then with a rubber membrane used in the roofing business.

Re: Box Gutter Solutions Needed

Postby Kim & Sean on Wed Sep 26, 2001 3:45 pm

What did you end up doing about your box gutters? Did you repair? Replace? Rebuild? We just got a $21,000 estimate for a roofer to reline ours with copper. That's steep. Did you do the work yourself? If so, how difficult was it? I guess I'm just looking for suggestions after hearing that horrid estimate. Thanks, Kim
Kim & Sean

Re: Box Gutter Solutions Needed

Postby John on Thu Sep 27, 2001 7:34 am

Kim & Sean

WOW!!! That is steep!!! I haven't done anything to my box gutters as of yet. I was planning on just relining them with rubber. However, that is just a small portion of the entire roofing/gutter/soffit/insulation/venting job I need to do. There aren't many people in my area that can and will do that type of slate roof/box gutter work, and I think that is true of most areas. So far my estimates have been "we don't do that kind of work" or "that would be REALLY expensive, why don't you just put on asphalt shingles." Personally, I would rather do the work myself but lack the time needed to do such a thing. I even looked into renting/buying the equipment to bend the metal myself, but still haven't been successful finding information on how to create the joints/corners/drain holes. (BTW Ken, did you ever get a chance to look in your library collection for info on box gutters?)

It's not that my roof and gutters are all that bad after 110 years. I'm just tired of the ice dams every winter. I thought of installing heat tape in my gutters/roof/downspouts but after hearing many horror stories of fires associated with those things, I'm very reluctant to install them. I'm insulating the attic this fall and I'm hoping that helps.

As the quest continues, I'll keep you updated as I hope you will too.

Good Luck, John

Re: Box Gutter Solutions Needed

Postby Dorothy on Thu Jan 24, 2002 5:48 pm

Well, I am another one with box gutters, in need of solutions. If I had an unlimited budget, I would probably want to tear them all off and replace them with new box gutters. I like the look, and they do give the house a classic feel. BUT, we don't have tons of money to spend, and are just trying to find a solution we can afford. These gutters have ben relined several times in 80 years, and there is a lot of rot that was hidden underneath the "repairs." So, does anyone know if it is possible to tear off all this rotten mess, and replace with more modern gutters? I can't seem to find any information on this, but there must be some way to do it. $21,000 is just not in our budget! (And I am pretty sure that copper is about the most expensive way to replace them. I remember getting an estimate of $3,000-$4,000 to replace or box gutters about 10 years ago, but they would have been built with wood and rubber lining, not copper.)

Re: Box Gutter Solutions Needed

Postby Dirk on Thu Jan 24, 2002 8:10 pm

Well, I think a lot of them, maybe most were made out of tin. It would be cheaper, but then there is the maintenance problem, and they would still be expensive because the material is only a fraction of the expense. You could always hang half-rounds.

Re: Box Gutter Solutions Needed

Postby Mike on Fri Jan 25, 2002 9:52 am

If you look closely at old houses you'll see that the majority of box gutters have been covered. Most do it by just adding roofing plywood over the top when redoing the roof and then hanging metal gutters. Usually you will have a somewhat noticeable change in pitch on the roof at this point and sometimes it looks OK and sometimes it looks quite noticeable. But the time to do this is when redoing your roof and the extra cost won't be much. I have kept my boxed in gutters (rubber lined) but only because I don't want to cover some trim details. But they are a big pain for several reasons.


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