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How do I solder galvanized rain gutters?

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I know how to solder some metals, but I need to solder my new galvanized rain gutters. What do I use and how is this kind of soldering different from the soldering I do for plumbing applications? What materials do I need?

Jon Jager
- S. Bloomingville, Ohio


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As a homeowner in a historic home I would like to install roof mounted gutters. I have some experience at metal work and traditional soldering but need to know the steps of soldering end caps and collector tubes

vincent gatto
- indianapolis, Indiana


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It's probably 60 years since I've seen it done, but my father was a plumber-roofer and there were still a lot of galvanized and copper gutter systems in East Orange, NJ when I was a kid back then. To my recollection, there was nothing special--just sand only the area where you want the solder to stick, flux only the area where you want solder to stick, and solder it with a bar of 60/40 and a soldering bolt.

But, that was a long time ago and I was a kid.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


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Hi Ted,

The first writer and I are interested in knowing how to solder galvanized materials, like rain gutters. I am putting galv sheeting on a garden work bench, with L flashing on the edges. Should I be using an old fashioned iron to make the joints? Actually I am not confident about any phase of the process, or the materials required. Your advise will be appreciated.
Thank you,

Lee Parker
- Santa Rosa, California, USA


October 12, 2008

I'm not sure if the following info will help. If your (US) galvanized sheets are the same as ours, this is how to do it:

You need to have a reasonably grease free surface. It just needs to be wiped with a cloth. Make sure that before you solder, your piece needs no further adjustment, and that the surfaces are as flat and as close together as possible, thus encouraging capillary action.

I always use a clean copper bolt for the actual soldering, heated by means of a butane torch. Brush the area to be soldered with spirits of salts (hydrochloric acid). When your bolt is hot enough to easily melt and take the lead, place it on the piece to heat that and feed the led slowly keeping the bolt on the overlap. The solder should run underneath the overlap. If there are "hard edges" and it feels like the solder is not running easily, re-heat your bolt, or clean it.

When the solder has run, you can slowly drag the bolt further down the joint, feeding as you go, as long as its hot enough. The solder behind the bolt will solidify as the bolt moves away. If you have a stubborn lifting area, get someone to hold it down with a piece of wood. (Hammer handle), and then solder around it. To clean the bolt during soldering, there are rubbing blocks available.

Hope this works.

Richard Bailie
- Cape Town, South Africa

Gutter Screen




Gutter Blower


August 1, 2010

Please be careful galvanized metal is toxic when heated !

Laura Baikey
- Selma, North Carolina usa


August 2, 2010

Hi, Laura.
Yes, zinc fumes can cause "metal fume fever". I don't think soldering will usually raise it to the vaporization point, though. I think it's when you are welding galvanized metal that you must be very careful about the fumes. Regardless, good ventilation is important.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 13, 2010

Can aluminum gutter joints be soldered?

doris shutko
- Lombard, Illinois USA

December 13, 2010

Hi, Doris. Few things are absolutely impossible, but many things are impractical . . . and soldering aluminum gutters is probably one of them.

I think gutter sealant will be a lot more practical. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Gutter Sealant



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