When was the last time you had a look at your gutters? Though we seldom think about them, gutters play a big role in boosting the curb appeal of a house. They frame the house beautifully and provide a subtle yet powerful contrast to the rest of the house.
When Should You Paint Your Gutters?
Save for a cleaning exercise every spring, we often don’t do much to maintain gutters. Truth be told, gutters need TLC just as much as other areas of the house. It is time to refurbish your gutters if:
- Regular cleaning does not return the gutters to their original condition.
- If the gutters are worn out or the paint is flaking.
- If you are repainting the house and you need the gutters to match the new color.
Before you embark on the task of painting gutters, decide whether you would like to remove them first or paint them where they are. The task of removing gutters is time-consuming but ultimately the paint job becomes easier. If you choose to paint them while they’re still mounted pay attention to the hard-to-reach areas like corners and braces.
How to Paint Gutters
1. Clean the Gutters
Start by removing all the leaves, dirt, and debris from the gutters. Use a power washer to force layered dirt to soften. If the gutters are still mounted, pay special attention to the areas beneath the gutters and around the braces.
Using a soft bristle brush and soapy water, scrub the gutters to remove all the stubborn dirt. Apply gentle circular motions while cleaning to ensure you don’t miss any spots. Rinse with clean water and allow to air dry for at least 4 hours. It is important to make sure the gutters are completely clean or the new paint won’t adhere.
2. Check for Signs of Wear and Tear
After your gutters are clean and dry, this is the best time to check for scratches and any sections that need replacing.
You are also advised to check for mildew and mold. If you find any mold or mildew, use a mold retardant to clean out the mold. You can obtain a mold or mildew remover from your local store. Ensure you wear gloves when using these chemicals.
3. Strip the Old Paint Off
Now is it time to strip all the old paint off the gutters. You are advised to use a plastic putty knife to strip the paint. A plastic knife will not further scratch the gutters. Also, keep a paint stripper handy to remove the paint left behind by the plastic knife.
When using a paint stripper use a rag. Dab a little paint stripper on the rag and use it to wipe off any remaining paint. Paint strippers are strong chemicals so remember to wear gloves and a mask.
Using a medium sandpaper, gently sand the surface of the gutters. Light sanding will smooth out the rough area and prime the gutters for painting. For gutters that are mounted, remember to sand the bottom and sides.
Finally, rinse the gutters with clean water to wash off all the sand and wipe with a rag. Wiping with a rag will help you identify areas that need extra sanding. If you notice the rag fibers tagging on the gutters it means you need to sand some more. Any areas that tag on the rug are likely to tag on the brush as you paint creating unattractive streaks.
5. Apply Primer
The best primer for gutters should be oil-based, rust resistant, and ammonia free. Professionals prefer a clear acrylic bonding primer so if you are pressed for a choice, use the acrylic bonding primer. Application of the primer is an important step since the primer prevents the paint from peeling.
If you have an airless sprayer, use the lowest setting to achieve a thin even layer. Remember to wear a mask when using a sprayer. If you don’t have a sprayer, use a regular paint brush to apply the primer.
Allow the primer to dry for at least 48 hours.
6. Apply an Oil-Based Enamel
Some people consider this step optional but it is an important one. Use a satin or gloss enamel. Gloss and satin paints resist water for longer and dry faster. Apply a thin initial layer and allow to dry for about 2 hours before applying the second coat.
7. Apply Paint of Choice
Now it is time to apply your final top coat of paint. Choose a color that compliments your house. You can match your gutters to your trim or the roof. Bear in mind that darker colors tend to look better for longer than light colors.
Apply a single coat and allow to set for about 24 hours before applying the second coat.
Once the paint is dry, inspect your finished product to see if you missed any spots. If you had removed your gutters, wait at least 48 hours after the final coat before beginning re-installation.