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How to Paint Your Gutters

Last Updated Jul 19, 2011 · Written by


Of all the painting jobs that need to be done around the house, gutters may be the hardest. To make matters worse, if you don't do the job right, you will probably find that you need to re-paint your gutters and downpipes long before you have to paint your house again. The two things most people get wrong when painting gutters are choosing the wrong type of paint and not preparing the surface properly before painting.

The three most common materials gutters are made from are steel, aluminium and vinyl. Each of these requires a different preparation treatment and different types of paint.

How to Paint Steel Gutters

Steel gutters, if properly painted, are very long-lasting. If not properly painted, rust will develop and stain the outside of the gutters and the paint will chip and peel. These are the steps you need to take when you paint new steel gutters:
  1. New steel gutters have a thin surface treatment. If not removed, it will prevent paint from adhering to the steel. This can easily be removed just be washing down the gutters with a mild detergent and scrubbing with a mildly abrasive scrub sponge like the one you use to clean non-stick pots and pans. Be sure you rinse the gutters and let them dry thoroughly before you commence painting.

  2. Apply an undercoat of good quality rust preventive oil based primer. Let it dry for 24 to 48 hours. One coat of primer should be sufficient.

  3. Use a good quality oil based enamel paint for your top coats. For best adhesion, apply the first coat within 48 hours of applying the primer. Apply two thin top coats, allowing the first coat to dry thoroughly before applying a second coat.

How to Paint Aluminium Gutters

With aluminium gutters, you can use either oil based or acrylic paints. Whichever you choose, use the same type of paint for both the primer and the top coats. The most important thing to remember is to make sure your paint does not contain ammonia in its ingredients. Ammonia reacts with aluminium, creating a gas. When this gas is released, it created paint bubbles. Another mistake many people make with aluminium is to skip the primer, thinking it's an unnecessary step, since aluminium doesn't rust. If you don't apply an undercoat of good quality primer, your paint will start to peel within a year.

How to Paint Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl gutters do not usually need to be painted because they come in standard colours. They can be painted, though, and more easily than steel or aluminium gutters. First prepare the surface by rubbing the gutters down with denatured alcohol. Then paint with a good quality exterior latex paint. Do not paint the interior of vinyl gutters.

Tips for Repainting Gutters

When you want to repaint your gutters, you will need to do some extra preparatory work:
  1. Scrape off all loose, flaking and peeling paint.

  2. Using a foam wet-dry sanding block, sand the sheen off of the remaining paint. If it is adhering well, you don't need to remove it completely, but the glossy sheen will prevent the new paint from sticking to its surface.

  3. Thoroughly wash the guttering. Soap it down with a mild detergent using a sponge and then rinse completely. If possible, get up on a ladder and rinse from the top down. This way, you will be sure to remove all the debris and soap residue.

  4. When repainting gutters, give them a coat of primer first, as you do with new gutters.

  5. Unless you're repainting in the same colour, 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.
If you prepare your surfaces properly and use the right paints, your gutters will stay looking good for years. While it may take longer initially, the results will be far more satisfying in the long run. To make sure you get the best paint for your gutters, talk to a paint supplier near you. If you don't want to tackle the job yourself, find a professional painter in your area and let them do the job for you.

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