Home Improvement

A Guide to Painting Gutters

Gutters may be the trickiest of all the painting jobs that need to be done around the house. Even worse, if you don’t paint them properly, you will probably find that you to re-do them long before you have to paint your house again. Most mistakes are made by trying to cut corners or choosing the wrong type of paint and not properly preparing the surface. Before you even start painting you need to consider what gutters you have. Today most gutters are made from steel, aluminium or vinyl; and the material will affect some of the preparation that’s needed and the paints you will need to use.

Steel Gutters

Steel gutters are generally very durable; if not properly painted, however, they will rust, and the paint will chip and peel. Remember that new steel gutters have a thin surface treatment and this must be removed or the paint will not stick to the steel. Just wash them with a mild detergent and scrub with a mildly abrasive sponge. Finish by rinsing the gutters and letting them dry thoroughly. Finally, you should paint with a rust-preventive oil-based primer and oil-based enamel paint.

Guide to Painting Gutters

Aluminium Gutters

For aluminium gutters, you can use either oil or acrylic paint, but make sure you use the same type of paint for both the primer and the top coats. The most important thing to remember that the paint must not contain ammonia since this reacts with aluminium, creating a gas which creates paint bubbles. Another common mistake with aluminum gutters is to skip the primer — but if you don’t apply an undercoat of good quality primer, your paint may start to peel within a year.

Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl gutters do not usually need to be painted because they come in standard colors, but if you want to paint them, begin by rubbing the gutters down with denatured alcohol. Then paint the outsides only with a good quality exterior latex paint.

Now you are ready to begin painting or repainting, and there are seven basic steps to follow:

Prepare Your Gutters  

First, you must prepare your gutters so that they are ready to accept the paint. If you are repainting gutters, begin by removing the old paint using a paint scraper then going over it with a piece of sandpaper to remove any remaining pieces. From there, follow the guidelines for preparing the gutters based on the material they are fashioned from.

Clean the Gutters

Next, you need to make sure that the gutters are properly cleaned. The best way to do this is to use grout sponges. Using soap and water, scrub the gutters down and ensure that they are clean so that the paint will stick to them properly. This is a very important step because you need to make sure that the paint sticks to the gutters so it will stay on the gutters over the coming years rather than peeling off.

Rinse the Gutters

Next, you’ll need to rinse them off. If you can do so safely, take your hose and stand up on the roof and spray downwards. This will ensure that all the dirty water flows away and doesn’t pool up.

Apply Primer

Priming the gutters is essential if you want the paint job to last. You need to prime your gutters to help protect them and make them ready for the weather. Make sure that you use the right primer for the type of gutters you have and give the primer plenty of time to dry. Typically, this will be about 48 hours depending on the weather and climate.

Apply Enamel

Once the primer is dry, you can apply a coat of enamel. As far as the type of enamel, it depends on the material in your gutters. Enamel comes in either flat, satin or gloss; although many gutter experts recommend that you use either a satin or gloss enamel, as these are both non-porous, which will help your gutters repel water. Make sure that you apply the enamel evenly, picking up and smoothing out any runs that may occur.

Apply a Second Coat

Once you have allowed the first coat to dry, you can now go back and start on your second coat. Remember that where you live will affect the drying time and check the weather.

Paint Your Gutters

Now that you have done both coats of primer and enamel, you can now paint your gutters. Make sure to allow each coat of paint to dry completely, and just like with the enamel, you need to be able to go back and clean up any paint that has run to ensure a professional looking finish.

A few more tips: when you begin your painting, you should remove the braces from the gutters. This way you can freely paint the gutter without any problems. Also, unless you’re repainting in the same color, it’s best to remove the down pipes so you can repaint them thoroughly. It’s almost impossible to paint the backs of downpipes when they’re attached to the house.

When you need to repaint your gutters, you will need to follow the same steps, just with a little extra preparation. Scrape or sand off all loose, flaking, and peeling paint using a foam wet-dry sanding block. If it is adhering well, you may not need to remove it completely, but the glossy sheen will prevent the new paint from sticking to its surface, so a small amount of sanding is recommended. Thoroughly wash the gutters and soap it down with a mild detergent using a sponge and then rinse completely, from the top down. This way, you will be sure to remove all the debris and soap residue. If you prepare your surfaces properly and use the right paints, your gutters will stay looking good for years.


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