Skip to Content

Can You Paint Gutters and Downspouts?

Do your gutters look faded? Maybe it’s time to repaint them for a refreshing new look. Do not underestimate the visibility of gutters and how they contribute to your home’s beauty and aesthetics.

Can you paint gutters and downspouts?

You can paint gutters and downspouts. To do it right, you also need to consider the type of paint you choose and if it is appropriate for the gutter material. Generally, three common materials are used for making gutters: steel, vinyl, and aluminum.

This article will give you details on how to paint gutters and downspouts made of each material.

close up photo of gutter system of a cottage house

Can You Paint Gutters and Downspouts?

Yes, you can paint gutters and downspouts. Whether you have just bought a new set of gutters or the ones already installed look rusty and faded, painting them is pretty easy.

You only need to get the appropriate paint for the gutters and protect the surroundings from the paint.

If you feel confident you can paint your gutters, don’t hesitate to go for it. It will save you the costs of hiring professionals.

Repainting gutters is a cheaper alternative to buying replacements.

However, if you doubt your abilities, leave the task to the professionals.

Before You Paint: How to Prep Gutters and Downspouts

You can leave the gutters on the house, but it is much easier to clean and paint them if you take them down.

Whether you choose to prep and paint the gutters while they’re attached to or detached from the house, specific steps should be followed for the best result.

Let’s take a look.

1. Give the Gutters a Wash

man washing the roof gutter of his house

The first step is to thoroughly wash the gutters.

Washing isn’t just about removing debris; it is about applying soap and even surface cleaners, such as Jomax, that have chemicals specific for cleaning metal surfaces.

(You will need extension ladders or cleaning tools that fasten to extension poles if you clean the gutters when they are attached to the house.)

Once you apply a surface cleaner, allow it to penetrate the gutters for about 10 minutes before thoroughly rinsing the gutters to remove the dirt.

For the stains that remain on the gutters, you can use hard-bristle brushes to scrub them off.

Allow the gutters and downspouts to dry.

2. Apply Primer 

For some gutters, a primer is essential before adding paint, as it improves the acceptance of paint on the surface by improving stickiness.

However, depending on the gutter and downspout surface condition, a gutter may not need a primer. 

Prepainted aluminum gutters without any metal exposed don’t need a primer. A double coat of acrylic paint will be sufficient.

However, gutters with exposed metal surfaces must initially be primed with an exterior acrylic primer. Failure to apply primers will have the paint reacting with the gutter surface, leading to an accelerated fade and rust. 

If the paint is peeling on the gutters, you need to thoroughly wash the peeling paint off before applying a bonding primer.

Gutters in good-looking condition may or may not need primers.

Another popular primer is the regular oil-based primer, which is just as good as the acrylic primers.

Regardless of the one you choose, make sure the primer is ammonia-free since ammonia can react with metal and cause bubbles that might not look good as you do your painting. 

Once you apply the primer, leave it to settle and stick on for about 48 hours before proceeding to paint.

new gutter system

3. Prepare the Painting Area

If you are painting your gutters on the ground, you will need to protect your lawn by covering it with drop cloths.

You can put the gutters on trestles or buckets to make them easier to work with.

How to Paint Gutters and Downspouts

Once the gutters are prepped, you can apply paint.

Depending on the gutter material, different materials will have other painting procedures.

It is common to apply double coats for most gutters.

How do you apply two coats of paint?

  • Using any sprayer or brush, evenly apply the first coat of paint on the entire gutter surface and the downspout, leaving no spot unpainted.
  • Once done, let the paint fully dry (see instructions on the can of paint you bought), and then you will apply a second coat in the same fashion as the first coat, giving the gutters a nice and even look.

Provided that you stick to the procedure, the paint is guaranteed to stick. However, if you get it wrong and need to re-do it, you will have to strip the paint and do the procedure all over again.

Now you know the general painting procedure, but each gutter or downspout material requires a specific way to apply paint to the surface.

So how do you paint each material?

metal black gutter on a roof

How to Paint Steel Gutters

When properly painted, steel gutters are not only attractive but also durable.

However, if not correctly done, rusts and stains will easily corrode the outer gutter surface, leading to chipping and peeling of the paint, which doesn’t look pleasant.

To tell if your steel gutters need to be repainted or replaced, you can do basic cleaning to determine if they retain their original sleek look. If not, then maybe they need repainting or replacement.

If your steel gutters need to be painted, here is how to do it:

  • Steel gutters are often coated with a thin surface treatment that needs to be removed to allow paint adherence to the metal surface. Using a mild detergent and an abrasive scrub sponge, you can easily wash off this coating and let it dry before applying paint.
  • Apply a uniform coat of quality oil-based primer that serves as a rust repellant, and let it dry for 24 to 28 hours.
  • For the top-coat paint, go for a good quality oil-based enamel paint. However, for the paint to properly stick, apply the first coat after 48 hours of applying the primer, then let it thoroughly dry and adhere before applying the second coat.

How to Paint Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum gutters can be painted with both acrylic and oil-based paints.

However, whichever your preference is, ensure that you go with the same type of paint for both the primers and the top paints.

Also, when choosing paint for your aluminum gutters, you need to avoid those with ammonia compounds as part of their ingredients.


Ammonia reacts with aluminum, giving off a gas that forms paint bubbles, which is not a good sight on your surfaces.

When painting aluminum gutters and downspouts, the application of a primer is essential.

Unfortunately, most people skip the application of primers because aluminum doesn’t rust, so they don’t see a need for a quality primer. Yet the paint will start peeling off after a year or two. 

How to Paint Vinyl Gutters

Since they come in standard colors, vinyl gutters don’t necessarily need to be painted. However, you can paint them more easily than their aluminum and steel counterparts.

To do this, you’ve got to prepare the outer vinyl surface for paint by rubbing it down with denatured alcohol.

Once dry, paint the exteriors with a high-quality latex paint to produce the desired look.

buckets of paints

Is Color Something to Consider?

When choosing a replacement paint, always go for the color that matches either the trim or the roof. However, if you are freshly painting your gutters, go for a color similar to your trim color. 

Paint the downspouts with the same color that you chose for the gutters. That way, you won’t draw attention to the downspouts and ruin the home’s aesthetic look.


Whether you do it yourself or let a professional do it, painting gutters is quite a simple task. It only needs patience and vigilance to details, lest you risk ruining the whole process.

So have fun painting or repainting your gutters and downspouts and refreshing your home’s look!