Can you paint gutters? The simple answer is yes, but before you rush out to buy paint, there are a few issues to consider. First of all, is it definitely time to paint your gutters? No matter what type of gutters you have, carefully inspect the full-length of the gutters to determine if there is any rust, cracks, or holes in the material. If they have been painted before, what is the condition of the old paint? Is there chipped or missing paint? If you can answer yes to the last few questions, then get ready to paint those gutters. However, if your gutters are currently in good condition, are not in need of any repair, and have never been painted, give painting a second thought. Consider one very important thing: As they are now, your gutters are maintenance free, but once you paint them, there is no going back and future maintenance will be required.
There are several different materials used for gutters, but the most common are aluminum, galvanized steel, and vinyl. Each of these gutter types has certain needs in terms of paint and materials should you decide to begin a painting project:
Aluminum gutters have a baked finish that comes in a variety of colors. Although ordinary aluminum gutters require no painting initially, over time the finish can wear and can begin to take on a dulled appearance. If, and when, you decide to brighten the appearance of the gutters, or want to change the color scheme of your home, aluminum gutters can be painted. It should be noted that certain advanced aluminum gutter material systems, such as LeafGuard, carry an exclusive ScratchGuard® paint finish which requires no maintenance and comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty that guarantees the finish won’t peel, chip, or crack.
Painting requires the use of either a clear acrylic bonding primer or an oil-based metal primer thinned with 16 ounces of thinner per gallon. 100% acrylic paint is then used to paint the gutters. *When priming aluminum gutters never use a latex primer that contains ammonia.
Galvanized steel gutters are painted, so it is imperative to inspect the full length of the gutters for chipping paint, bare spots, cracks, rust, and mildew which are commonly noted with this material. Galvanized steel does require a full-measure of upkeep and repair, which includes periodic painting to maintain the gutters. Once scraped, cleaned, and prepped, use a metal primer before applying paint if there are any bare areas or if rust is noted. Paint with a 100% acrylic latex paint, or preferably, a DTM (direct-to-metal) 100% acrylic paint.
Vinyl gutters are prefinished and do not require painting. Vinyl can become brittle and may crack with age or in extreme temperatures. If your vinyl gutters are in good shape, and you want to paint them to change the color scheme of your home, begin by washing thoroughly. The next step is to use a liquid sanding solution to remove the gloss from the finish to allow paint to properly adhere to the vinyl. Finally, use a latex paint, preferably mixed with a bit of a flex additive, to paint the gutters. A flex additive will help to reduce the chances of the paint cracking.
It is important to understand that power washing the gutters is not sufficient when cleaning for paint preparation. In order to achieve an ideal surface for this purpose, hand washing with soap and water and a substantial sponge is required to remove any film and debris. If old paint is present and there are signs of loose or peeling paint, use a wire brush or scraper to remove all traces. Be careful to not scratch or damage the surface.