Sometimes, the little details can make a big difference. When your gutters have lost their luster, but it’s not quite time to replace them, you may wonder if you can paint them to give your home a gutter glow-up. Read on to learn whether or not painting your gutters is possible (and advisable) and how to tackle this project.
Can You Paint Gutters?
Yes, you can absolutely paint your gutters, whether they are aluminum or vinyl. Vinyl is often mixed with color during manufacturing, which is why most people don’t need to paint them. Still, you may want to repaint them to match the color of your new roof or siding. In addition, freshly painted gutters can freshen up the look of your home, adding to its curb appeal without the cost of replacing your gutters.
That said, it’s always best to check your warranty before painting, as some are voided if you choose to paint. In addition, make sure you don’t see any warning signs that you need new gutters entirely—these include cracks, water damage, and rust.
You should also consider safety, as working at heights can be dangerous. Always practice good ladder safety, and ideally, you should work with a partner who can spot you. Plan this project when the weather is pleasant (i.e., no rain storms, high winds, or freezing temps that could lead to slips), and set aside enough time so you aren’t rushing while you work.
Now that you’re prepped, read on for 11 steps explaining how to paint gutters yourself in 11 steps.
Pick a Few Dry Days
First, plan this outdoor project around the weather. You’ll need to work outside for a few days, allowing time for the gutters to be cleaned, primed, painted, and for the paint to dry—check the forecast and make sure sunshine is in the forecast.
Pick the Right Gutter Paint
Be sure to select a high-quality, waterproof exterior paint that is either acrylic (for vinyl) or oil-based (for aluminum). The paint should not contain ammonia.
Remove Your Gutters
Before you paint your gutters, you’ll need to remove them so you can clean them and remove any existing paint. To do this, carefully climb a ladder and use a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the gutters in place. Place the gutters gently on a tarp over a flat surface, where you can work (a driveway works well).
Clean Your Gutters
Photo: triocean / Adobe Stock
New paint and primer won’t stick if there’s dirt and grime on your gutters. Spray your gutters with a hose, then scrub the surface thoroughly with a bristle brush. If your gutters are particularly dirty, you can use a gutter or siding detergent; make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as you may need to dilute it with water. Let the gutters dry completely after cleaning before moving on to the next step.
Remove Old Paint
Start with a plastic putty knife and scrape off any old paint you can by firmly running the putty knife along the gutter. After you’ve scraped off all you can, apply a paint stripper to a rag and scrub off any remaining paint spots; work slowly and only apply as much stripper as you need. You should wear gloves and a face mask during this task, as the stripper exudes potent fumes.
Sand the Gutters
Sanding your gutters allows them to be fully clean and smooth before applying primer and paint. Also, you should remove the gloss that is common with vinyl gutters. Using aluminum oxide or silicon sandpaper, sand out any gloss, rough spots, or areas of remaining paint. After sanding, wipe the gutters down with denatured alcohol using a fresh rag. Let the gutters dry fully before moving on to the next step.
Prime the Gutters
Photo: pictory / Adobe Stock
Apply a primer appropriate for your gutters and paint—your local paint store can help you select one. Typically, they will recommend an oil-based primer that resists rust. Using an airless sprayer (rentable from a local hardware store) set to the lowest pressure, spray one coat of primer on the gutters, making sure not to miss the sides and bottom. You might need to prime one side then wait for it to dry before flipping the gutter over to complete the second side. The primer should dry within 24 hours, but sometimes quicker if you’ve purchased a fast-drying type.
Add Flex Additive to Your Paint
Next, add some flex additive to your gutter paint so that the paint won’t crack over time. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to figure out how much additive to use.
Apply the Top Coat
Photo: romul014 / Adobe Stock
Now that the flex additive has been mixed with your paint, use the airless sprayer to apply the first coat of paint. The first coat should be thin. Once you have painted the gutters, you should leave the first coat to dry for about two hours.
Apply a Second Coat
After the first coat is dry, apply a second thin layer of paint to even out the color. Let the second layer dry completely—another couple of hours.
Reinstall Your Gutters
Now that your gutters are repainted, it’s time to reinstall your gutters to your home. Working backwards from the order you removed them, rescrew the gutters back from where they came.
DIY vs. Hiring a Pro
Repainting your gutters can have a big impact on your curb appeal, and it isn’t the most difficult task if you’re handy. You’ll also save on the cost of painting your gutters if you DIY. But it is a fairly time-consuming project that requires a lot of physical labor and care. If you’re not up for painting your gutters yourself, you can hire a gutter contractor near you, or a local exterior painter, to do the job.
You should also consider whether it’s necessary to paint your gutters, or whether they just need a deep cleaning. If that’s the case, you can DIY a gutter cleaning, or hire a local gutter cleaning service to take care of it for you.