Gutters can be made from materials such as aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, and plastic. However, in most modern-day homes in the US, aluminum is the standard material used for gutters and downspouts.
However, with time most of these gutters and downspouts get corroded. Worry not; this is not a big concern, as they can be repaired and refinished. You can do the minor fixes yourself or hire a professional gutter cleaning company to take care of any damages or leakage that may emerge out of gutters due to significant corrosion or weathering.
Then using a paint sprayer (instead of a paintbrush), you can paint the gutters and downspouts in the color of your choice, which is undoubtedly a cheaper alternative to purchasing and installing new ones.
Downspouts can be easily painted by removing and then spraying on a drop cloth with an airless sprayer (a simple-to-use tool that can be rented from home improvement stores). After protecting the trim of fascia and other areas (you aren’t painting), you can spray paint the aluminum gutters just as quickly, though you’ll need to do so on a ladder.
Painting Downspouts and Gutters
Homeowners often choose to paint gutters and downspouts not only for a clean, refreshed look but also for an aesthetic purpose. For example, if you have a green garden outside, painting the gutters and downspouts to match the greenery could give your home an extra touch.
But remember, much like any painting project, preparing the surface of your gutters and using the right paint for the job is essential. So, make sure you follow the steps patiently for the best results:
Step 1: Remove the downspout
Removing the downspout attachments for cleaning and painting is good before getting started. They can be painted while still on the house, but that will be a lot of extra effort, and the coating will not adhere very well.
Step 2: Power wash
The gutters and downspouts on your home will have accumulated dirt, debris, and mildew that must be thoroughly washed away with a power washer. You’ll most likely need an extension ladder for power washing the gutters, so get help wherever required.
First, use a suitable cleaner (like bleach and water solution) to clean the outside metal surface and let it sit for up to 10 minutes. For heavily stained areas, use a coarse scrubbing pad. Afterward, rinse well and let the surface dry completely.
Step 3: Repair any minor damages
After cleaning, thoroughly inspect the gutters and downspouts for any corrosion, holes, cracks, and dents. Once detected, repair them with an aluminum-based metal patch which should be applied along the same angle as the gutter or downspout.
These metal patches are generally used to repair damage caused by wear and tear on the rusted metal roof and can be used for your gutters and downspouts made of aluminum.
Remember that if there are larger cracks or holes in the gutters, it is best to get professional help or replace them rather than try to repair them.
Step 4: Prime the aluminum gutters
Aluminum gutters and downspouts that have exposed bare metal must be primed using an acrylic primer.
However, if they are already factory-painted without any bare metal exposed, you won’t need to prime them as long as there are no peeling layers. You can apply the paint to them directly for refinishing or a color change.
If there is an old layer of peeling paint, applying a bonding primer is a good idea after cleaning and removing the layers from the surface. Bonding primers have unique properties that help them adhere to the existing painted surface and provide a good base for the new layer of paint.
Step 5. Choose the right paint
Before repainting old guttering and downpipes, check the material they are made of. Depending on the materials of your gutters and downspouts, you might have to select different paints.
While you can use an oil-based or any acrylic variety, the best paint for aluminum or galvanized metal gutters is exterior acrylic latex paint.
Resilience from Sherwin Williams is a good choice for paint if you live somewhere with humid or cold weather. This exterior-grade acrylic latex paint is remarkably durable and won’t easily be compromised even if it rains for a few hours after you’re done painting.
Duration from Sherwin Williams or Super Paint is also a good durable option, and they come in different finishes to choose from for your building’s water systems.
Step 6: Apply two coats on the downspout
An airless sprayer is what I recommend to finish your gutter and downspout; you can rent one from a home improvement or paint store if you don’t have one.
Put down canvas drop cloths in the area to protect the ground or excess spraying. Then the metal downspouts on them propped up on something like buckets to apply the paint.
Attach a 211 spray tip to the airless sprayer, which will produce a spray fan that is four inches wide. This width is ideal for most downspouts and gutters and reduces the risk of over-spraying.
Apply two coats on the downspouts, ensuring the paint is dry between coats. Flip the downspouts and repeat the process by applying two coats of paint to the other side.
Step 7: Spray paint gutters after painting downspouts
Mask windows and fascia boards close to the gutters by covering them with masking paper and plastic before painting them. The fastest and easiest way to mask for spray painting is using a 3M hand masker.
Lay down canvas drop cloths on the area of the roof shingles right above where you intend to spray to protect them from paint.
Put the ends of the drop cloths in the gutter and use rocks to hold them in place. Then spray the gutters from end to end, and keep a wet edge the entire time.
Finally, remove all the plastic and masking paper after spraying two coats of paint and allowing the paint to dry completely.
Is Painting the Gutters Mandatory?
Not every homeowner will need to paint the gutter and downspout. It’s a matter of personal choice and liking. However, it may be necessary to paint them differently if they don’t match or complement the color of the roof. Also, if your gutters are old and rusty, treating and painting the rust can help revive them.
Use a wire brush to remove loose rust. Then coat with a specialized rust paint (or converter) to treat the rust and help eliminate further corrosion and damage. If you notice widespread rust and lack of structural stability in your gutters, it may be necessary to have them replaced.
What Color Should My Gutter and Downspout Be?
When painting exterior water systems, many people choose to color downspouts and gutterings the same color as the house. In my opinion, this is not necessarily the case.
You can instead decide to paint your gutters matching your roof or trim, depending on what you like. And downspouts usually look appealing, with colors matching your siding.
Still confused? The best is to select the same color for the gutter and downspout that matches your siding. This way, they will blend in and be less noticeable.
PLS: If your house is more detailed than most others in your neighborhood, don’t paint your downspouts in different colors. Instead, pick the color of most of the downspouts and paint it that same shade to match the surroundings.
For those who can’t make up their minds or prefer more subtle colors, black and white are excellent choices. Black is timeless but can look harsh when placed against a white house. So, choose the right color that compliments the rest of your home’s design.
Should Gutters Match the Fascia and Soffit?
The colors of your gutters, fascia, and soffits (primarily wooden) don’t have to match perfectly. You could mix and match the different shades to create a unique look. However, if you want everything to blend seamlessly, consider choosing similar shades or using a color wheel for inspiration.
Can Gutters And Downspouts Be Different Colors?
Although it may not be apparent, having gutters and downspouts of different colors can make a home look messy, unfinished, awkward, or unattractive.
As a result, many homeowner associations prohibit this activity from maintaining the value of homes in the neighborhood. Instead, many home improvement experts suggest keeping gutters and downspouts the same color to create a more polished, coordinated look for your home.
How to Avoid the Need to Paint the Gutters Frequently?
Poorly maintained gutters and downspouts can quickly become dirty or damaged due to weathering, debris buildup, or improper installation. Moreover, gutters can sag and bend outward under the weight of debris, algae, leaves, flowers, and small branches, resulting in excess water spilling onto the ground and siding.
To avoid gutter problems like sagging, debris buildup, and the need to paint more often, it’s necessary to prevent them from clogging.
Cleaning the gutters every season and adding a gutter guard can help keep your drains from clogging. It helps to reinforce the gutter system and provides additional protection against corrosion.
Over time, leaks can develop in the joints of aluminum gutters, usually located at corners, end caps, and drop outlet locations. To fix this issue, clean the joint area and apply new caulk to seal it.
The Bottom Line
Painting downspouts and gutters are a great way to improve the look of your home exterior, and it’s a task that can be completed in just a few hours.
Always begin by cleaning the downspouts and gutters with a garden hose or pressure washer to remove any dirt, debris, or leaves clogging the drains. And use a ladder when painting them to avoid any accidents.
By following these simple steps, you can have your home looking its best in no time.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.