Gutters are a great way to keep water away from your foundation and prevent structural damage. However, if left untreated, they can start to show signs of wear. One common issue is the appearance of tiger stripes on the gutter itself. These stripes are caused by dirt being embedded in the surface of the metal gutters, which then starts to oxidize over time due to exposure to rainwater or snow melt. Luckily it’s not too difficult fix this problem!
Table of Contents
- 1. Clean gutters with a pressure washer
- 2. Apply an acid to the metal of the gutter to remove oxidation stains
- 3. Paint over any remaining marks or stains with paintable silicone sealant
- 4. Clear away any debris that might be blocking water flow out of gutter
- 5. Re-install gutters if necessary, and make sure they are properly sealed at all joints.
- 6. Check for loose screws or nails on siding that could have caused damage during installation.
1. Clean gutters with a pressure washer
Pressure washing is the ideal way to clean your gutters because it uses water pressure to blast out dirt and debris. However, if you don’t own a pressure washer or simply cannot buy one, then try using a wet-dry vacuum instead (such as this model available at home depot ). Not only will it help remove grime stuck on gutters, but you can also use it to suck up rainwater accumulated in the gutter too! Just be sure not to get any of the water on plants or grass. You don’t want them getting burned by exposure through runoff 🙂
2. Apply an acid to the metal of the gutter to remove oxidation stains
This step is only necessary if the oxidation is not already completely removed with a pressure washer. If you used a wet-dry vacuum, then there’s no need to do this step either because most of the stains should have been taken care of by the force of air/water on its own.
Acid can be rather dangerous but luckily we will use it in small quantities and diluted form so that it becomes safe for application. I recommend using vinegar (acetic acid), which can easily be found at any supermarket or hardware store for less than $5 per gallon! It also smells pretty good too 🙂
Before applying vinegar, protect your skin and eyes from chemical burns by wearing some rubber gloves and goggles . Next pour some into a plastic container (such as a bucket).
Stir in some dry powder laundry detergent to help increase the efficacy of vinegar. To make it easier to pour, you can use a smaller plastic container that fits into your main bucket.
Now take out your ladder and climb up the roof. Dip your brush into the vinegar solution and start scrubbing! The solution will neutralize oxidation stains on metal gutters without scratching them (unlike using other common household cleaning products like dish soap) 🙂
Note: this step is only necessary if the pressure washer couldn’t get rid of all oxidation stains so do not try this step if you already did step 1 successfully! Be sure to re-apply every year too 🙂
3. Paint over any remaining marks or stains with paintable silicone sealant
Once you’re satisfied with the results, go ahead and clean your brush by dipping it in a bucket of water (recommended) or vinegar solution. Then use some rags to wipe off any excess cleaning solution from the gutters. Avoid wiping away dirt too much by leaving at least one-eighth inch layer of waxy build up; this will help protect gutter surfaces from rainwater and airborne debris without blocking too much airflow 🙂
Afterwards apply paintable silicone sealant over the entire surface area that was cleaned in steps 1 and 2. This will create an invisible barrier that not only helps prevent future stains but also protects the metal undercoats against oxidation! Just be sure to avoid getting sealant on plants or grass because this will prevent them from getting enough sunlight and dying!
4. Clear away any debris that might be blocking water flow out of gutter
Last but not least, take care of any vegetation that might be blocking water flow out of gutters. With a garden hose or bucket, rinse away loose debris while carefully avoiding water runoff (which could potentially get other areas wet). Be careful not to damage your roof by getting too carried away with the force of water! Finally pat dry with a rag 🙂
Note: don’t worry about taking off old paint because rainwater will naturally strip this off each year during springtime 🙂 But if there are stubborn paint remnants from previous years, you can always chip it off using a hammer and nails 🙂
5. Re-install gutters if necessary, and make sure they are properly sealed at all joints.
If your gutters seem to be out of shape, don’t worry because you can easily fix them with a metal file or grinder. Just make sure that the roofing nails are tightly jammed into the underlying wood frame. If there’s any water leaking through at this spot then it will cause some serious damage!
Note: as long as you used quality paint on your gutters and made sure not to get sealant on vegetation, you should never have to do more maintenance for several years 🙂 But if anything ever does happen, simply repeat steps 1-5 all over again 🙂
6. Check for loose screws or nails on siding that could have caused damage during installation.
Some homes might have loose screws or nails penetrating through the exterior siding. During heavy rainstorms water can get in between the crack and possibly lead to damage because excess pressure won’t be evenly distributed across the metal gutter! Be sure to check for these little problems as soon as possible 🙂
Best of luck, and thanks for reading this article 🙂 Let me know if you liked it or not by leaving a comment below :-))