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Why Do I Have Stained Gutters?


Have you noticed vertical dark, dirt-like lines running down your gutters? If so, this is called tiger striping which means your gutters are stained. You may now be wondering why you have stained gutters to begin with and how it even happens. Stained gutters occur quite easily and simply. The dirt, pollen, pollutants, and petroleum-based run-off from your home’s roof drips down and attaches to water or dew droplets that develop on the lip of your gutter. After a while, this can result in build-up and staining which can then cause tiger striping. 

It is important to remember that water dripping from the gutter lips is normal and it does not mean that your gutters are failing. Many homeowners will see these drips coming down the front of their gutters during a rainstorm and think their gutters are not working properly. However, that is not true. 

When you see water overflowing from your gutter system, that is when your gutters might be failing. Another indication that your gutter system is failing is when water is flowing or dripping between the back of your gutter and the fascia board. This is a sign that your gutters were installed incorrectly. 

The small water droplets that you see running down the front of your gutter happens because of the water’s natural movements to take the route of least resistance. It is not unusual for condensation and small water droplets in rain to land and/or develop on the lip of your gutter. When the water lands on the lip of your gutter, it will likely run down the front of the gutter. Do not become worried if you see these small drops of water. Your gutters are working the way they should. 

How Do You Stop Tiger Striping From Occurring?

Preventing tiger striping from occurring can be quite simple. Follow these guidelines and you should not see any tiger striping on your gutters. 

  • Clean your gutters at least once per year. This can help in proactively preventing tiger striping. Depending on where you live, you may have to clean them more often. For instance, if you live in an area with high humidity or industrial activity.
  • Use a soft rag, sponge, or brush to scrub the exterior of your gutters in order to keep them clean. Do not scrub too hard, as this could lead to glossy areas over the gutter’s satin finish.
  • Do not use a cleaner with abrasive particles, ammonia, solvents, or paint thinners. These can cause damage to the paint finish.

Remember, it is easier to prevent tiger striping that it is to get rid of it. Once tiger striping has already happened, and the stains are major, cleaning will be more difficult. At this point, you will most likely need to use cleaning supplies that are specifically designed to clean aluminum gutters. If you have really tough stains, they may not come out during the first cleaning. Therefore, you might have to wash more often until they are gone. 

Stains on your gutters can be an eyesore; therefore, it is important to clean them at least once a year to prevent tiger striping. It is easier and cheaper to clean your gutters than it is to replace them completely. If you need a professional cleaning of your gutters or a new gutter system altogether, call GutterPros today at (314) 656-7195 for a free estimate!