Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.
Can You Paint Downspouts and Gutters?
Painting downspouts and gutters is a cheap alternative to buying replacements, and using a sprayer to paint them is a lot faster than doing the work by hand.
Downspouts can be painted very easily, simply by taking them down and spray painting them on top of drop cloths using an airless sprayer. An airless sprayer is easy to use and available for rent at most major home improvement stores.
With careful masking to protect fascia trim and other areas not being painted, you can spray paint gutters easily too, as long as you're comfortable climbing up an extension ladder.
Like most painting projects, preparing the surface and using the right paint are essential for durability.
How to Prep Downspouts and Gutters for Paint
The first step is to remove the downspouts for cleaning and painting. You can paint them while fastened to the house, but it's much easier to take them down. Downspouts accumulate dirt and mildew which should always be washed off before applying the paint.
Step 1: Power Wash
I clean exterior metal with a surface cleaner like Jomax, allowing the chemical to penetrate for five to ten minutes. If your power washer doesn't have a chemical tank, or the ability to siphon cleaner directly from a separate container, you can use a cheap garden sprayer.
Power wash thoroughly to wash off the cleaner and dirt residue. If the surface is horribly weathered and stained from dirt, scrub them with a coarse scrubbing pad.
Allow the surface to fully dry. You'll need an extension ladder to power wash the gutters. Jomax works good for removing mildew stains, but a mix of bleach and water works, too. There are also gutter cleaning applicators that fasten to an extension pole for easier cleaning.
Step 2: Prime (If Necessary)
The answer depends on the condition of the surface. Factory-painted, aluminum gutters, with no bare metal exposed, don't need to be primed. Using two coats of high-quality acrylic paint is enough. Gutters with bare metal exposed should be primed with an exterior acrylic primer.
Gutters that have already been painted over the factory finish may, or may not, need to be primed. If the paint is peeling, applying a bonding primer is best, after the loose paint is carefully removed through power washing and scraping. Gutters in good condition can be painted over again without priming.
Spray Painting Gutters and Downspouts
Now that you've power-washed and primed (if necessary), you're ready to get to the business of painting.
Step 3: Set Up the Painting Area
Lay canvas drop cloths on the grass to protect the ground from over-spray. Lay your downspouts on top of empty buckets to spray them.
Step 4: Paint Two Coats
I recommend using an airless sprayer by either Graco, or Titan. Both are great, but I'm a long-time user of Graco sprayers. You can usually rent them from the paint store. The airless sprayer I use for most of my painting projects is the Graco Ultra Max 495. I've used this sprayer for several years, spraying everything from gutters to cabinets.
Use an airless sprayer, equipped with a 211 spray tip. A 211 spray tip produces a 4-inch spray fan, perfect for most gutters and downspouts, and the smaller size reduces over-spray.
Spray two coats of paint on one side of the downspouts. Let the paint completely dry before flipping them over to spray the other side. To keep paint from spitting onto the downspouts when spraying with an airless sprayer, never pull, or release, the gun trigger directly over the surface you're painting.
Step 5: Paint the Gutters
Careful masking is necessary before spray painting gutters. Fascia board and windows close to the gutters all need to be covered with plastic and masking paper. The easiest and fastest way to do masking for spraying is by using the 3M hand masker. Masking without this tool takes too long.
Lay 4x12 canvas drop cloths over the portion of the roof shingles directly above the gutters to protect them from over-spray. Stuff the ends of the drop cloths into the gutter and place a couple rocks on top to keep them in place.
Spray the gutters from one side to the other, keeping a wet edge the whole time. Spray two coats of paint. Tear off all of the masking paper and plastic when the paint is dry.
The Best Paint for Gutters
Acrylic paint is best for aluminum gutters, and two coats is recommended. In colder, or humid weather, Resilience from Sherwin Williams is a good paint meant for these types of weather conditions. The paint is very durable and won't be compromised from sudden rain a few hours after painting.
My favorite exterior paint for gutters, siding, and window shutters, is Duration from Sherwin Williams. Super Paint, also from the same paint company, is great too, but Duration is more durable. A satin, or semi-gloss finish, is best for painting gutters and downspouts. The painted metal needs to be smooth so it's more resistant to dirt and easier to clean.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Matt G.