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The 411 on Painting Your Gutters

Snow may still cover the ground, but if you’re like most people, you’re already thinking about what projects you’ll tackle in the spring when the snow thaws.  Maybe a new brick walkway?  Some new landscaping perhaps?  A new deck?  One project that can enhance your home’s curb appeal is painting your gutters.

Yes, your gutters can be painted.  Why paint them?  If after they’ve been professionally cleaned, they still look shabby and old, a new coat of paint can make them look refreshed and new.  Or maybe you’ve recently painted your house and now your gutters don’t match.   Or you just want to give your house a whole new look.  Whatever the reason, painting your gutters is a relatively easy way to improve the look of your home’s exterior.

Before you begin, make sure that there are no restrictions on painting them.  Some towns or homeowners’ associations have restrictions on what colors you’re allowed to use on your exterior.  Next, look at what material your gutters are made from.  While any material can be painted, you should never paint copper gutters.  People do choose copper gutters for their strength, but they’re mainly chosen for their natural beauty and patina.  Scraping the paint off to get them back to their natural look would most likely damage the finish, so it’s not advisable to paint them.  Enjoy the warm and rustic look they give your home.  

Now, the paint color.  What color would look best?  You could be bold and choose a color that is nowhere on your home’s exterior, but most people will choose to match it with one of three things:  the roof, the trim, or the siding.  If you match the color of your roof, your gutters will blend in nicely.  If you have a black roof, black gutters accentuate it and give a dramatic look.  Matching to the trim is most common.  Painting them the color of you trim helps to make the trim color stand out and creates a nice frame around your house.  If you’re painting your gutters the same color as your siding to make them blend in, make sure they’re low enough so the visible color behind them is the siding.  Or you can paint them a bold but complimentary color to stand out.  Darker colors will look fresher longer and lighter colors may become dingy-looking.  Choosing the right color for your gutters is all about aesthetics and what is pleasing to you, but don’t forget that roof!  Many homeowners forget that the color they choose should be complementary to all sides of your house, even the roof.  You may want to consider painting your downspouts a different color than the gutters.  Most people paint them the same color as the siding so they aren’t noticeable, but if they run along the trim, paint them to match.  

Before you paint, have your gutters professionally cleaned.  Gutterpros can clean and inspect your gutters so any repairs can be taken care of before you paint.  If you choose to clean them yourself, there are several cleaners on the market that will help dissolve the dirt.  Use a car-washing brush with bristles to loosen the dirt without scratching the surface.  Rinse as you go so the dirty solution doesn’t dry on the gutters.  Allow them to dry completely before you move onto priming them.  

Aluminum gutters are relatively easy to paint, but first, you must prime them.  Use only regular oil-based primer or clear acrylic bonding primer.  Both bond well with clean aluminum.  Whichever you choose, make sure that it is ammonia-free.  Ammonia can cause unsightly gas bubbles beneath the surface of the paint.  After priming, leave for 48 hours before painting so you know it has thoroughly bonded.  After it’s dry, apply a coat of enamel paint.  This step is not a required one, but the hard enamel will prolong the life of your gutters and will create a better look when you paint. Choose latex or acrylic paint in your chosen color to paint your gutters, also ammonia-free, allowing ample drying time between coats.

Vinyl gutters are a little different.  After cleaning them, apply a light coating of sanding solution which is designed to remove the gloss coat from your gutters so the paint sticks better.  Wipe away the excess solution.  Prime with a primer that will specifically bond with vinyl.  Next, add a flex additive to your latex paint which will help keep the paint from cracking.  Allow time to dry between each coat.  Two coats should do the job.

No matter what type of gutters you have (except copper!), painting them will improve your home’s curb appeal.  But sometimes, your gutters are so old they’re outdated and beyond repair.  Gutterpros can install new gutters in a myriad of colors to match your home or give it a bold new look.  Call Gutterpros at (314)656-7195 today for all your gutter-related questions!