Your gutters are looking sad and saggy. Is it time for new gutters, or will a coat of paint do the trick instead? If your gutters have rust or they are looking dirty and old, what are your next steps?
Making Your Gutters Look New Again
Do your gutters take away from your home rather than adding a finishing touch to your roofline? If you’ve been neglecting the gutters, then unfortunately, the answer is often a definitive yes. Old gutters can look new again. But instead of beginning with painting, you need to start with the old standby: gutter cleaning.
Gutter cleaning involves a number of different steps:
- First, you need to remove debris from your gutters.
- Flush the gutters with water and check the downspouts to determine if there is debris lodged there that could back up water.
- Make sure that the gutters are securely attached. They should not be loose or sag outwards, and they should not be lumpy.
- According to Bob Vila, your next step is to “Rinse toward the downspout with a high-pressure nozzle on your hose and scrub it clean.”
- What should you use to scrub? A scrub brush, a hose attachment, and some basic phosphate-free cleaner, cream of tartar, or white vinegar.
- If you have vinyl gutters instead of aluminum ones, use a detergent product like Dawn. Mix it with half a cup of bleach in two gallons of water and use the mixture to scrub your gutters clean.
- Look for signs of rust on the gutters
After this gutter-cleaning process, your gutters should look good. However, you might see stains from past residue or see rusted parts on the gutters. What are the solutions to these problems?
Working With a Rusty Gutter
If your gutters have a lot of rust on them, it could be time for a gutter replacement. This is true if your gutters are rusting through in multiple locations and don’t seem to have a lot of structural integrity. However, if your gutters have minor amounts of rust on them, then you can use a wire brush to remove loose rust and paint the area with rust converter paint to neutralize the rust. This acts as a primer or base coat. Spread roof cement over the rusty area, and press some aluminum foil or metal flashing into the cement. Spread another layer of roof cement on top. This can act as a temporary repair.
What About Painting My Gutters?
In addition to specialized rust paint, you might consider painting your gutters for the aesthetic effect as well. This allows you to get rid of unsightly problems such as tiger stripes.
Your gutters must be clean in order for you to paint them, so follow the cleaning directions above. You can then paint your gutters whatever color you’d like, provided that you follow the correct painting instructions.
According to Do It Yourself, you should begin by scraping off the old paint with a paint scraper. Wash your gutters clean again, and then use an oil-based metal primer on the gutters. Whatever you use, ensure that it does not contain ammonia, since “A primer with ammonia could react with the aluminum, causing gas bubbles to occur between the layers.” After about two days have passed, you can then apply a layer of enamel paint to the gutters. Add a second coat once the first is dry.
Avoiding the Need to Paint
Often, problems with gutters sagging and getting full of debris begin with gutter clogging. If you can prevent your gutters from clogging, then you can stop a lot of those gutter problems in the first place, and you won’t need to worry about gutter painting or gutter replacement. It’s important to clean your gutters seasonally to prevent debris buildup. This debris buildup can lead to clogged gutters that then begin to sag under the weight of the sticks and leaves in the gutter. They can bend outward as well, spilling water onto siding and onto the ground.
Clogged gutters also grow algae and can become very hard to clean over time as debris sticks to the sides of the gutter. If water sits in a gutter and spills over the side on a regular basis, this leads to rust.
If you want to troubleshoot your gutters, you can either clean them seasonally or add a gutter cover. A gutter cover is a simple structure that usually sits over top of your gutters. Effective gutter covers allow water to slide into the gutters while debris moves toward the ground below. This prevents gutter sagging and staining by circumventing the problem of accumulating gutter debris.
At Harry Helmet, we value your home. We want to make sure that you have a home that works. From gutter replacement to roof installation, we can help you make the most of the place where you live. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate.