How to Install a Rain Dispersal System

rain handlers in packaging

A bit of elbow grease and a few tools can fix your home’s drainage issues with one simple addition – a rain dispersal system. Knowing how to install a rain dispersal system is surprisingly easy. But first, let’s break down just what it is and why you might want one.

What is a Rain Dispersal System?

A rain dispersal system is a type of louver designed to send – or disperse – rainwater away from your home’s foundation and into the lawn or garden. Unlike gutters that collect water for downspouts, rain dispersal systems divide the streaming water into smaller streams or drops and spread it out.

It works like this: Sheets of water flowing down your roof contact the panels of the louver, which breaks up the flow and disperses the water harmlessly past the roofline as drops of water.

This is especially useful for areas that get a lot of heavy rains. They protect your home’s siding from damage, and they blow debris, dirt, and leaves away.

How to Install a Rain Dispersal System

If you’ve decided to install your own rain dispersal system, here’s the low-down on what you need and how it’s done.

Tools Needed:

Handyman with tool belt
Photo Credit: Spiderstock / Canva Pro / License

• Ladder

• Hammer

• Phillips screwdriver

• Drill (optional) 

• 6D nailer or drill bit (optional) 

• Sheet metal shears or hacksaw (optional) 

• Pencil

• Tape Measure

• Caulking gun

• Wood putty and a putty knife

• Rain dispersal system (with louvers, brackets, and screws) 

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Remove Old Gutters

Make sure you take off the downspouts first. This will help avoid having extra weight on the gutters after taking them away from the house. Loosen the downspout wall straps and disconnect them from the elbow below the gutter drop outlet.

After you’ve removed the downspouts, check to see if the gutters are attached with screws, nails, or rivets. You can easily remove any nails using a pry bar or a claw hammer. If you’re dealing with screws, use a screwdriver to take them off. And if rivets are your problem, grab a drill and start drilling them out.

2. Inspect Fascia Board & Adjust Drip Edge

drip edge on edge of a house
Photo Credit: sommersby / Canva Pro / License

Next, take a look at the sections of your fascia board for soft spots, rot, or other damage and repair or replace any damaged areas. Use a caulking gun to fill in any screw holes or nail holes. Use wood putty to repair soft spots or holes in wood surfaces. Here, you can opt to paint the patched area for a seamless look.

The drip edge is a piece of angled flashing used to keep water away from the fascia and running into the gutter. If your roof’s drip edge is too large (more than 2 ½ inches), you’ll need to use horizontal adapters. If it’s too small (less than 1 ½ inches), you’ll need a drip edge extender. This is a piece of flashing placed behind your drip edge in order to keep water from coming down behind the gutter.

3. Measure and Mount Brackets

To measure where each bracket should go, mark a spot 10 inches from the corner of your roof. Then mark spots every 20 inches from that point. Before you screw the brackets in place, prep screw holes using a 6D nail or drill bit if possible.

Screw the brackets into your fascia board at least 1 ½ inches from the drip edge and 4 inches down from the roofline.

Hang the brackets in place and position your roof’s drip edge directly over the third to fifth slat from the house for the best results.

4. Install Louvers

Now it’s time to assemble the rain dispersal system. Start by hanging the first section of the louver around and behind the last row of tiles on your roof and press down to snap it in place. If needed, you can adjust brackets or cut off the end with shears or a saw. For additional louvers, simply repeat the same steps. Make sure to space them at least 3 inches below the roof edge and under your home’s fascia board. 

Maintain a minimum of 4 inches between the top of your louver and the bottom of the roof edge. Make sure there’s an inch and a half to two inches of space from the fascia board and flash onto the louver as well.

For the final louver, if you need to cut it to size, mark where you’ll be cutting with a pencil first. Then use sheet metal shears or a hacksaw. Be sure to adjust any bracket positions accordingly. 

5. Test and Adjust Spacing

Ready to try it out? If you don’t feel like waiting for the rain, spray a stream of water on your roof. Make sure the water coming off your roof hits the center of the louver or as close to it as possible.

To ensure a good distance between the edge of your roof and the edge of your fascia board, consider using an extender or adjusting it as far down as possible. Lastly, create a gap at least the thickness of your finger between the roof and fascia board so that rain won’t stick to it and cause further damage. 

Tips for DIY Installation

  • If your roof has an angled fascia board, you may need to use angled fascia adapters. Alternatively, you can fit mansard or barn-type roofs without a fascia board with manacle brackets instead.
  • Install a drip edge designed to break up the flow of water coming off the roof every time you come across a transition from a vertical corner to the horizontal fascia. This will help prevent surface tension and keep water from sticking and running up onto the siding or fascia board, causing rot.
  • For narrow fascia boards that may not meet the manufacturer’s recommended inch-and-a-half gap, you can opt for a specially designed gutter bracket that you can screw onto the bottom of the fascia board and adjust accordingly.
  • For additional protection, fill any gaps between your roof and fascia boards with caulking. This is particularly important for preventing water entry into places it shouldn’t be going.

FAQ About Installing a Rain Dispersal System

Are rain dispersal systems effective in winter?

Yes, with the right system in place, a rain dispersal system can be just as beneficial during harsh winter conditions. Make sure to clear away any debris from the system prior to extreme weather arriving so that it won’t become clogged or damaged easily.

The snow should slide off the louvers instead of settling. However, if you have a particularly heavy winter or a lot of ice buildup, it can cause ice dams and clog the system.

Can gutters be removed and reinstalled?

Yes, you can take gutters down and reinstall them without any major consequences stemming from the process. While you don’t want to leave them off too long, as this can increase the chances of water damage near your foundation or walls, you can remove and reinstall gutters if needed.

How long does the drip edge last? 

Replacing your roof’s drip edge every 20 years or so can help protect the fascia board running alongside your roof from getting too worn out. Aside from that, with the correct drip edge in place, you won’t have to worry about substituting it anytime soon.

Can gutters support a ladder?

No, leaning ladders against gutters can cause them to bend and even break. To safely use a ladder around your house, make sure you’re propping it up against something sturdy before attempting any outdoor projects or repairs. 

DIY or Professional Installation?

If you’re feeling confident in your skills, installing a rain dispersal system on your own isn’t particularly tedious or complicated. However, if you lack the time or know-how to do it right, we can help you connect with the right professional in your area to install it for you.

No matter which you choose, as long as your rain dispersal system is set up properly, it’ll help keep your home and its surroundings safe from potential water damage.

Main Image Credit: Chris Young / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Adrian Nita

As an expert writer at Gutter Gnome, Adrian Nita applies his keen observational skills to smart gutter technology and effective rainwater management. In his free time, Adrian cherishes spending time with his family, exploring new hiking trails, and trying out home DIY projects.