(Updated, now I've actually tried it!)

When first introduced, domestic guttering was made of iron or other bulky metal. Iron rusts when damp, so one might ask why use it. However, this provides a wonderful opportunity for the handy DIYer - replacing iron gutters is an exciting, high-risk activity best undertaken with one or more friends.

Guttering tends to run above head-height. That's so the unsightly stuff is out of the way. If you're taking down or putting up guttering, you'll need a good, stable platform to work from. (Unless the idea of large lumps of iron dropping on your head sounds more fun.) Getting your friends to help at this point is a good idea.

Modern gutters are plastic, making installing the new system less exciting...

If you're going to put guttering back up (a good idea - it was probably there for a reason), you've some choices to make - style/colour and size. Basically, you need at least the same water capacity as the old system - if it's a new system, you can calculate the capacity required - check with your supplier. Remember when measuring up to round up to the size of the gutter and pipe lengths you'll need and to avoid joining lengths.

You'll want the water to run towards your outlets. Allow at least 5mm in 3m drop towards each outlet - use a spirit level to get the level, then adjust. Offer up an offcut of gutter and clip to see what height you need to start at. Check the line as you go - old houses can be at odd angles, so you may be getting too close to the tiles if you rely on a spirit level. Make sure you leave enough room to actually fix the clip!

Once you've got your line, fix your clips. Use non-rusting screws! Keep clips about 100mm from corners and ends to allow for these fittings. Check the fittings to see where and whether they want to be clipped. Clip at least once a metre along the runs.

Fix up an outlet. If you need to, fix up the corner you'll run to. Now measure up the gutter (leaving about 5mm expansion into fittings and allow 50mm beyond the fascia at an end), cut square, deburr and fit. Repeat until all your gutter is in place.

Fitting the drainpipe is slightly less straightforward. You probably got away with just a screwdriver for the gutter clips. You're going to need a power drill and wallplugs, too, for this.

First, and most obvious, site your downpipes vertically above your water discharge points (gulley, drain). Now, take a pair of 112°-angled connectors and join them with just enough pipe to connect from the gutter outlet to the downpipe. This should be neatly against a wall. Mark where on the downpipe needs to be cut (keeping the shoe 50mm clear of the ground). Cut, clip, fit.

Job done!

In comics lingo, gutter is the term for the white space between two panels. It may seem like a little thing, but the gutter is perhaps the most important element of comics.

Sometimes, when I'm preaching the comics gospel to non-believers, I bring up the point that comics as a medium can do things that other mediums can not. For some reason, I am almost always challenged on this point. After all, they say, what separates comics from books or movies? It's simple, really. Comics have interactivity to a much larger degree than other mediums. The beauty of comics is that ultimately, nothing happens in them without the reader. They are simply a series of still pictures placed side by side. But in the gutter, comics come alive.

Our brains are wired to fill in the gaps in our perception. This is called closure. And in between every set of panels in a comic, closure happens. It is up to the reader to determine exactly how Picture A became Picture B, and it's a different process for each reader.

This makes the gutter a very powerful tool for the skilled writer and/or penciler. A writer could never think up a situation or penciler draw an event that makes sense to or resonates with everyone. But if they only present a before and after, than every individual who reads it will make up their own occurence. The trick for a writer is to leave enough in that the reader knows what's going on, but not spoon-feed them the story.

One other application of gutters is to control the flow of time in a comic. Although this is generally accomplished using sound or motion within a panel, wider gutters imply a longer passage of time than thinner ones. Also, by having a character move across a continuous background separated by gutters (a device known as a polyptych), a writer can show their progress through the background over time.

For a much more in-depth discussion of gutters and their importance in comics, or pretty much anything else comics related, read Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (which, by the way, was my source for this writeup).

Gut"ter (?), n. [OE. gotere, OF. goutiere, F. gouttiere, fr. OF. gote, goute, drop, F. goutte, fr. L. gutta.]


A channel at the eaves of a roof for conveying away the rain; an eaves channel; an eaves trough.


A small channel at the roadside or elsewhere, to lead off surface water.

Gutters running with ale. Macaulay.


Any narrow channel or groove; as, a gutter formed by erosion in the vent of a gun from repeated firing.

Gutter member Arch., an architectural member made by treating the outside face of the gutter in a decorative fashion, or by crowning it with ornaments, regularly spaced, like a diminutive battlement. -- Gutter plane, a carpenter's plane with a rounded bottom for planing out gutters. -- Gutter snipe, a neglected boy running at large; a street Arab. [Slang] -- Gutter stick Printing, one of the pieces of furniture which separate pages in a form.


© Webster 1913.

Gut*ter, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Guttered (#); p. pr. & vb. n. Guttering.]


To cut or form into small longitudinal hollows; to channel.



To supply with a gutter or gutters.




© Webster 1913.

Gut"ter, v. i.

To become channeled, as a candle when the flame flares in the wind.


© Webster 1913.

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