How to Paint Your Gutters

By Amanda Lutz Updated May 10, 2024

Rain gutters keep debris and dirt away from your roof and direct water away from your home’s exterior siding. Gutters are resilient, but they can show signs of wear over time. One way to improve their appearance is to apply even coats of exterior paint. Our guide below covers the start-to-finish process of painting your gutters, safety measures you should consider along the way, and tips on how to maintain your newly painted gutters. 

Preparing to Paint Your Gutters

You’ll need to do some prep work before you start applying paint to your gutters. Inspect your gutter system for damage, and scan for cracks and leaks. If there’s any damage to your gutters, you should repair them before you start painting.

Clean the gutters thoroughly, making sure to wash out all leaves, dirt and debris. Collect the tools you’ll need for the project, such as a high-quality ladder, a paintbrush, paint, primer, and safety gear. Talk to a contractor or the paint expert at your local hardware store about how to paint gutters and what various finishes will look like.

The Gutter Painting Process

Once you’ve performed the necessary prep work, you can start painting your gutters as part of a do-it-yourself project. Here’s how to paint your gutters in three simple steps:

Safety Considerations

Always prioritize safety when working on a ladder and handling paint. Make sure the weather conditions are good and that you have a sturdy ladder. Work with a partner or a spotter, wear nonslip shoes, and use protective gloves and eyewear. Be cautious when handling paint, and if you get paint on your skin, nose, or eyes, rinse it away as soon as possible.

Priming the Gutters

Primer prepares the gutters’ surface for paint and prevents rust from accumulating. You’ll likely choose either an acrylic bonding primer or a regular oil-based primer, and both work well on most surfaces. 

Apply primer using even, smooth strokes, and allow it to dry for 48 hours. Be sure it’s completely dry before you start painting.

Painting Techniques

Once the primer is dry, you can start painting your gutters. Apply the first coat with smooth, even strokes, overlapping each section slightly so that you don’t leave any missed spots or uneven patchiness.

Paint your gutters completely, making sure to reach downspouts, gutter hangers, and seams. You can also touch up the fascia and soffit areas. Once you’ve applied the first coat, evaluate your paint job and decide if you need a second coat. Two coats are ideal for optimal coverage and durability, though this ultimately depends on the type of gutter you have.

Brush vs. Spray-Painting Gutters

There are multiple ways to paint your gutters. Some homeowners prefer manually painting gutters with a brush, while others choose airless sprayers. There are benefits and drawbacks to both methods. 

A paintbrush is a more cost-effective option that requires little skill or practice to master. However, it is typically more labor-intensive and tiring to use.

A paint sprayer is a more expensive tool, but it makes for a much quicker project. Paint sprayers can reach difficult areas, such as corners or spots that are typically out of reach. They can overspray because of the pressure they release, though, and they take some practice to master. You’ll also need to cover any objects near your project’s site, such as landscaping, flowers, or exterior siding, to prevent them from getting covered in paint. Windy days can make using a paint sprayer nearly impossible.

DIY vs. Professional Gutter Painting

Before you start your project, decide whether you want to paint your gutters yourself or hire a professional painter. Both have benefits and drawbacks. 

A DIY paint project costs significantly less than hiring professionals, but it also takes more time. Hiring a contractor means you don’t have to spend time priming, repainting, or double-checking your work. If you have a hard-to-reach or complex gutter system, it’s probably best to hire a contractor. 

Maintaining Painted Gutters

Once you’ve painted your gutters, start to plan the basic maintenance you’ll need to perform. Regular cleaning and inspections can keep your gutters looking great, and touch-ups that tackle peeling, chipping, or fading paint can extend the life span of your paint job. 

Use a gentle scrub brush to remove any chipped paint, and apply new paint only when your surface area is clean. Hire a professional gutter cleaning company to check your gutters once every six months or more frequently if you live in an area that experiences high winds or other severe weather.

Our Recommendation

Painting your gutters is an excellent way to boost your home’s curb appeal and improve the look of your gutter system. You can paint your gutters by yourself as long as you’ve properly prepared, but you should consider hiring professionals if you’re not comfortable performing the work. Once you’ve successfully painted your gutters, maintain them by properly cleaning and inspecting them every six months. Always touch up chipped paint, cracks, and leaks promptly.

How to Paint Your Gutters FAQ

How often should gutters be repainted?

Depending on the type of gutters you have and how damaged they have become, you should repaint them every few years. 

Can I paint over rusty gutters?

You can paint over rusty gutters, but it’s not a long-lasting solution. Ask a contractor or home improvement whether you can safely remove the rust, or whether you should replace the gutter system.

Is it necessary to remove gutters before painting them?

It’s not necessary to remove gutters before painting them. You can paint them while they’re still on your house, unless you have aluminum gutters, which you should replace instead.

What is the best time of year to paint gutters?

You can paint your gutters any time of year as long as there isn’t any inclement weather.