It is not uncommon for gutters to become stained or discolored, often to some terrible blackish-gray color. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as tiger striping. Tiger striping is caused by acids and pollution in rainwater reacting with the aluminum of your gutter. Worse still, it seems like it’s impossible to get rid of.
But it’s not impossible to prevent, and if you want your gutters to sparkle, we’ve got a few tips for you:
Tip #1: Start by Cleaning Frequently
Stained gutters are caused by rain water dripping over the sides. To prevent this, make sure that you are cleaning your gutters often enough. Most gutter experts, like Aerotech in St. Louis, recommend that you do this about four times a year when they install a new gutter system. If you have trees that hang over your gutters, you’ll want to check them more often to keep them from getting clogged and sagging under the weight of the muck.
Tip #2: Use a Scoop to Remove Small Bits
If you tackle the gutters with just your hands, chances are you are going to leave behind some bits. Instead, use a tool that will help you scrape the inside of the gutters clean. You can buy a gutter scooper at your hardware store. If you don’t feel like shelling out big bucks for a specialized tool, however, a child’s shovel works almost as well.
Tip #3: Lay Down a Tarp to Collect Gunk
Have you considered what you are going to do with the gunk once you get it out of your gutter? If you do not want to litter your yard and end up with another mess once you are done, consider laying a tarp under the area where you are working. Instead of struggling with a bag or littering in your yard, you will easily be able to properly dispose of the waste once it is done.
Tip #4: Use a Garden Hose to Flush Remaining Debris
When you have finished cleaning the gutter, take a hose and place it in. This will get rid of any remaining debris in the gutters and downspouts. As an added bonus, flushing out the gutters and downspouts will help you spot any possible leaks. You may be surprised to find that the stains of your gutter line up with the leaking areas of your gutter and downspout.
Tip #5: Use Wire to Remove Obstructions
If you cannot reach the obstruction that is blocking the flow in your downspout and gutters, use a solid piece of wire to knock it loose. Then, use the wire to guide it through the pipe so there are not any further issues. This will prevent staining by allowing rainwater to flow into the gutters and down the downspout, rather than spilling over and causing staining.
Tip #6: Caulk the Seams of Gutters Periodically
If leaking or uneven gutters are causing rainwater to spill over and stain your gutters, consider re-touching the caulking. Most of the time, segments of gutter are held together using caulk. Many homeowners do not realize that this area needs to be touched up. However, in order for your gutter to remain leak-free, and therefore stain-free, it’s important.
Tiger striping is nearly impossible to remove once it has its grip on your gutter. To prevent this, make sure that your gutter is in the best shape. If you are overly concerned with the appearance of your gutters, consider hiring someone for deep gutter cleaning, replacing the gutter, or even buying a decorative gutter to jazz up the outside of your home.