Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Gutters can be cut in a wide variety of ways, and there isn’t one method that is always better than the others. Depending on the material and setup of your gutters, you might be able to use an angle grinder with a metal cutting blade when installing them.
You can cut aluminum gutters with an angle grinder. Angle grinders are electric-powered tools that have interchangeable blades for performing tasks such as cutting through all kinds of metals and types of tubing, but this task requires a metal cutting blade.
In this article, I’ll walk you through how to cut aluminum gutters with an angle grinder. Additionally, I’ll cover some additional tools that can help you complete the project.
What Type of Gutters Can Be Cut With an Angle Grinder?
You’ll need to consider the type of gutter you have and what kind of tools might help you best complete the job before buying a blade or taking on a project. If it doesn’t say “aluminum” anywhere near the product description, then your gutter’s probably made from galvanized steel or copper.
Gutters made of aluminum or other types of metal can be cut with an angle grinder. In fact, there’s a wide variety of blades designed specifically for cutting metal that will fit onto an angle grinder.
In many cases, you won’t even have to worry about any extra tools because most aluminum gutters already come with channels to prevent water from gathering between the seams where two pieces join together.
You should be able to cut any type of aluminum gutter with an angle grinder as long as it is less than one inch (2.5 cm) in thickness. This will allow the blade to fully penetrate the material and make a clean, straight cut through its structure.
Copper and Steel Gutters Require Different Tools
You’ll need a chop saw, or miter saw to cut through a steel or copper gutter. These two metals are much stronger and require a metal cutting blade to make clean cuts through them, which you can find at your local hardware store.
To cut a copper or steel gutter, you’ll also need a solvent to solder the gutter together after you’ve made your cut. This prevents leaks and makes repairs easier in the future.
Vinyl Gutters Can Be Cut With Standard Tools
Vinyl gutters are lightweight and can be cut with standard power saws. However, because these gutters are made of plastic, you’ll need to clean your blade before you make any cuts through the structure. Otherwise, leftover residue from previous jobs will make the project much more difficult, as it can stick to the blade and gum up the works.
How To Cut Aluminum Gutters With an Angle Grinder
Cutting aluminum gutters with an angle grinder isn’t only easy but also requires little to no extra tools. Here’s what you’ll need:
- An angle grinder
- A metal cutting blade for your angle grinder
- Safety equipment such as safety goggles
Step 1 – Prepare Your Work Area
Remove loose debris from the work area – If you’re going to use an angle grinder with a metal cutting blade on a roof, it is highly recommended that you wear a full-face shield and safety goggles. The sparks produced from this project can cause severe damage to your eyes. When moving around on a roof, it’s important to be highly cautious and vigilant of potential hazards such as power lines or other tools left lying around.
You’ll also want to remove any debris from your work area so you don’t accidentally step on anything loose and send it flying off the roof with enough force to cause injury, if not worse.
Step 2 – Disconnect the Existing Gutter
If you are cutting your gutters due to an existing structure that needs to be replaced, you’ll first need to disconnect the latter from the fascia board of your home. Use a hammer and pry bar to remove the clamps holding the gutter in place.
Step 3 – Cut Away Gutter With Angle Grinder
If you already have gutters installed that are less than an inch in thickness, then you may be able to use tin snips instead of your angle grinder. This can be especially effective on older gutters which tend to sag over time and become flimsy.
You may have to raise your angle grinder’s guard during this process, but only temporarily so you don’t burn yourself by coming too close to the metal housing of the tool. Just make sure that you’re always aware of your hand and body positioning in relation to where any debris might be falling or bounce off onto if it gets flung outwards.
Alternatively, a reciprocating saw or a circle saw with a metal blade works well when installing gutters as long as you can keep the blade flush against the side of the gutter, so it cuts through cleanly without getting caught on any imperfections.
Proceed With Caution When Cutting Aluminum Gutters
Use caution when cutting aluminum gutters, as you’ll want to avoid nicking the front edge of the cut as it can create a weak spot. In addition, keep in mind that unless you have a professional-grade angle grinder with a proper aluminum brush attachment, the metal can cause a lot of wear to your tool’s grinding discs.
This means your grinder’s quality might get compromised, affecting its durability and longevity. Clean the tool’s disc frequently during use with water or an approved metal dusting agent so it doesn’t become damaged from overheating or from flying chips getting stuck between its teeth.
Make sure you’re ready to replace as needed if you’re using a standard disc, and be prepared for a lot more sparks. As far as the method of cutting is concerned, aluminum gutters are usually installed with either vinyl or rubber sealing gaskets that will need to be removed before you can cut through the metal itself.
Cutting gutters can be a time-consuming project, especially if the structures are especially damaged or old. It’s always best to wear protective clothing and gloves while embarking on this project since aluminum can be sharp and move quicker than you’d think.
Depending on the material of your gutters, you may require a miter saw, reciprocating saw, or an angle grinder. Additionally, always make sure to use a low-speed setting on your angle grinder to avoid overheating the blade.
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