How to Install a Downpipe in Australia

Are you a fellow Australian that needs to install a downpipe in your gutter?  Not to worry, I’ve installed many downpipes over my time so to assist I’ve provided a step-by-step guide to the installation of downpipes.

Metal downpipe going into a soak well
Example of surfmist colourbond downpipe going into soakwell pipe

Step 1: Purchase your downpipe, pop, bracket, fixings, and silicone

A zinc downpipe pop for gutters
Example of a rectangle downpipe pop from Bunnings

The first step will be to ensure you have the downpipe you wish to install, along with the relevant accessories to install and fix to the wall.

Depending on your requirements there are a number of different downpipe types and styles available within Australia.

When purchasing your downpipe you will need the following:

  • downpipe
  • downpipe pop
  • downpipe brackets
  • a packet of rivets (if you’re installing a colorbond downpipe then purchase a colour to match or similar)
  • screws or wall plugs
  • gutter silicone

See also: Downpipes types in Australia

Step 2: Tools for installing a downpipe

Right…once you have purchased your downpipe and the required materials, the next part is to ensure you have the right tools.  For downpipe installation, I would recommend the following:

  • Tin snips (left and right) to be able to cut the downpipe to length;
  • An electric drill
  • 1/8 drill piece (suited to rivets)
  • a small spirit level (magnetic spirit level)
  • a rivet gun

If fixing the downpipe to a brick wall then:

  • A hammer drill (if fixing your downpipe to a brick wall); and
  • Masonry drill piece.

Step 3: Install the pop in your gutter

Before you can fix your downpipe to the gutter you need to install a downpipe pop.  What is a pop you may ask?  This is the spout as such, that is installed in the base of your gutter, allowing the water to exit the gutter and run into the downpipe.  Pops come in different sizes and profiles depending on what type of downpipe you’re installing.

Follow the below step-by-step instructions on how to install a pop:

  1. Place the pop on the bottom of the gutter and trace around the inside of the pop;
  2. remove the pop and using your tin snips, cut out the rectangle or circle you’ve just marked on the gutter (note, cut the whole a few millimeters bigger than the line you’ve marked to ensure the pop can easily slide into the hole);

Tip: Use your drill bit to drill a couple of starter holes in the bottom of the gutter.  From here you can then insert your tin snips to cut out a hole according to the size of the pop;

  1. Once you’ve cut the hole for the pop, drop it into your gutter, using your 1/8th drill bit, drill a couple of holes through the edge of your pop into the gutter;
  2. From here you are now ready to fix the pop in place.  To ensure no leaks in the future, put a ring of silicone around the edge of the pop hole and then insert your pop;
  3. Once the pop is inserted, grab your rivet gun and using the pre-drilled holes, insert rivets to fix the pop to the gutter;
  4. After the pop is inserted, there will be excess silicone squeezed out from around the pop.  Using your finger (wearing gloves) smooth out the silicone around the edge of the pop.

Step 4:  Measuring and cutting your downpipe to length

First, you’ll need to measure the distance from the base of your gutter down to the ground.  Depending on whether it’s a single story or two story you may need a ladder for this.

Once you have your measurement it’s now time to make up your downpipe.  As the standard length of a downpipe is 1.8m, you usually require two or three pieces of downpipe joined together to make up the distance from the gutter down to the ground.

Using a couple of saw horses (or perhaps a table), peel the plastic off your downpipes and slide one piece of downpipe into the other to make up the length of downpipe you need.

Note: One end of a downpipe is smaller than the other.  The smaller end is usually marked with an indent (small dot).  Slide this end into the larger end of another piece of downpipe to make up the length you need.

How much do you slide one piece of downpipe into the other? Depending on the fit I usually aim for around 200 – 250 mm which gives you the ability to slightly adjust the downpipe to suit once it’s fitted to the wall.

Now, once you have your downpipes joined together it’s time to cut it to length.  To do this, measure from the wide end of the top section of the downpipe downwards and mark your downpipe for cutting.

Once marked, grab your square and run a line around your downpipe.  Once marked you can either use a metal grinder or your tin snips to cut off the unwanted section of the downpipe.

Tip: If you’re using a grinder, be sure to remove any swarf or rough edges at the bottom of the downpipe as if left, this exposed metal may lead to rust forming on the bottom of the downpipe.

Step 5: Bending the bottom of the downpipe

Once you’ve got the downpipe cut to length your next step is to cut and bend the bottom of the downpipe to length.  For this, please check out the link below on how to bend a downpipe.

Step 6: Fixing your downpipe to the pop

Right…now you’re all ready to fix your downpipe to the gutter.  To do so, follow the below steps:

  1. slide the downpipe up over the pop;
  2. Using a 1/8th drill bit, drill a hole in the side of the downpipe and into the pop (can be the left or right side); and
  3. Grab your rivet gun and fix a rivet into the pop.

With the gutter fixed to the pop, you can now move on to the next step which is to align your downpipe and fix it to the wall.

Step 7: Fixing your downpipe to the wall

Now your downpipe is in position it’s time to adjust it to the appropriate height and fix it to the wall.  To do so, follow the below steps:

  1. First, you want to ensure the downpipe is at the right length.  Therefore, as there is a lap over in the downpipe check how high the bottom of the downpipe is off the ground and slide the bottom section up or down until you are approximately 50mm off the ground (Or if you want the downpipe to sit higher or lower it’s up to you though 50mm is what I aim for);
  2. Place a spirit level on the side of the downpipe (a little magnetic spirit level is great for this!);
  3. Move the downpipe left to right until the spirit level aligns vertically.  Grab a pencil and mark the wall on the side of the downpipe;
  4. From here you now need to get a couple of downpipe clips.  Using the mark on the wall, align the downpipe to that mark and fix it to the wall using the clips.  Note, when installing the clips I usually place one 300mm off the bottom and 300mm off the top.

Step 8: Stand back and admire your work!

Congrats – you’ve hung your first downpipe:)  I hope you found this article helpful and all the best with future work.

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