Exterior Painting Around Gutters?

appledecoOctober 4, 2009

I'm needing some advice about exterior painting and gutters.

My husband and I just bought a house with no gutters. We wanted to paint and install gutters as soon as possible. We were told by the gutter company that we should paint before having gutters installed because, otherwise, the gutters would have to be removed and reinstalled, adding an additional cost.

We planned on prepping and painting and installing gutters this month, but the money to do both isn't there and the weather isn't on our side. My main concern is water damage with no gutters, so we're thinking of installing gutters without painting. We're instead thinking of painting next year and just paying the extra cost to remove and reinstall the gutters.

My question is, is that necessary? Do I really need to take the gutters down or can I just paint around them?

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While it's generally a good idea to paint or stain all exterior wood surfaces, if it's in a protected location, where it won't get rained on (like behind the gutters), it's not really necessary.

Think about this: houses often get repainted every few years...do you ever see people taking down gutters so they can paint behind them? I recently moved from a house that was built in the 1950's and had to replace a section of the original gutter in 2001. When I took the old gutter down -- 50 years after it was put up -- there was bare wood in perfectly fine condition.

I think it would be good to put up the gutters and paint around them when you have the money for painting. I will also say that whoever told you that you needed to remove the gutters to paint either doesn't know what he is talking about or wants to charge you to do something unnecessary. For that reason, get at least one more bid on the gutters from someone else.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 4:21PM
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To add to what kudzu said, I recommend that you at least have a coat of primer on the fascia boards behind the gutters prior to installing them. Most contractors will use pre-primed boards for the fascia so it may already be done.

Also it is often very difficult to remove gutters without damaging them (this is especially true for seamless aluminum gutters). Therefore, once they're up 99.99% of painters won't even suggest removing them to paint the exterior, they will either paint around them or replace the gutters with new ones.

just my 0.02

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 6:01PM
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I would find out why the house has no gutters.

We removed all of our gutters. With a 30" overhang and correct grading water is never a problem even with ten inches of rain. The problems we had with gutters were that they would fill with leaves and overflow in a concentrated spot.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 10:51PM
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I've painted around my gutters & I like to go to place like "Michael's" craft store & get a long natural bristle brush(about 13 in. long) The brush is 3/4 in wide & pretty thick. it works perfectly for small places like above the gutter on the fascia board & in some corners or under eaves if a knot fell out & left a small hole that your regular brush won't get into (without ruining it) I can use 1 of these brushes for a number of times as you can clean same as regular brush. I've used with oil & latex both. I really like it where eaves & stucco meet as I can put paint on it & carefully go along eave & not get any on stucco as you can control it much better than a 2 in.(or larger) brush where you don't want to risk getting paint where you can't remove it.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 1:01AM
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Are you planning on doing the painting yourself? If so, why not just prime and paint the fascia boards that will be behind the gutters and save the rest of the job for when you have the time and money. It would buy you some time and you wouldn't need to worry about taking down the gutters when you do the rest of the painting.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 7:19PM
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Thanks so much for the responses! Based on them, we've decided to go ahead and prep and paint the trim at the very least.

Now I have another question.
The weather here has turned very wet and drizzly. We'd like to do what we can now, but I'm concerned about prepping the trim while the weather is wet. I was planning on doing a little bit each night after work, which would give me 3 hours at the most each day. The steps I'm planning on taking are 1) wash the trim, 2) sand, 3) caulk as necessary, 4) prime, 5) paint. If I could only do one step a night, and the weather was wet and drizzly, would it damage the trim at all? And should I not use an electric rotary sander outside in wet weather?

My questions sound so stupid, lol, but I've never done anything like this and would like some guidance.

Thank you all!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 12:00PM
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You don't need to wash the trim if you're sanding with a hand sander. In fact, why are you bothering to sand at all? That's typically not done or needed. However, to answer your question, you can safely use power tools outside in wet weather, as long as you're: 1) not in pouring rain, 2) not standing in a puddle, and 3) your extension cord plug end doesn't fall into a puddle. To be particularly safe, it would be a good idea to plug the extension cord into a GFCI-protected receptacle, which you should have in several inside locations and all outside locations, in a new house.

I also presume that most of what you are painting is at least slightly protected by the edge of the roof? Humidity is not an issue, other than slowing drying time a little. It would be best to use latex primer/paint, as this is water-based, and will also dry faster in these conditions than oil-based paint. Unless you get a driving rain directly on the painted trim within an hour of application, you'll be fine. At worst, you might have to re-coat it if it got drenched.

I think you are making this project too elaborate. Just caulk where you must, and slap the primer on when you get a little break in the weather; then paint. This should only take a couple of nights.

And, if you've never caulked, here is a tip. Get a good quality PAINTABLE caulk (it should have a 30-50 year warranty). Practice a little bit. And be aware that you can do a really neat job by using a moist paper towel, or even your finger, to smooth the bead immediately after you lay it down. This will get rid of any irregularities and make for an unnoticeable caulk job. Just keep plenty of paper towels around to keep you tidy as you proceed. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 1:33PM
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You are sounding as though you are being pushed into doing something in a bit of a panic. Whenever that happens, stand back. I like the question posed by Hendricus above. Why does the house have no gutters? Has it gone through previous winters with no gutters and survived? If so, why the rush?

Our house lost a gutter to snow slides off the roof a couple of winters ago, and we are only now getting that piece replaced. The roof and fascia have not suffered - the only problem is at ground, but for us that is manageable and can be mitigated - you have perhaps already assessed whether it is a problem for you.

Caulking and painting are miserable in the fall - I've done it - and the result is not always ideal (though I think it was my oil paint that cured with a white powdery overlay, not sure).

But if you do it - and perhaps you should, only you really know - I also don't see much reason for the sanding. Plus, if you wash and sand before painting, you are moving the ladder around the house how many times? I think I'd just do one prep round to caulk and wipe down with a damp cloth. If it's really grotty, a scraper and a shop vac can be your best friend (with an extension hose and someone on the ground manning the on/off switch). This is a utilitarian job, not beautification.

Finally, I will add that our gutter installation company is promising to put a channel of metal along the bottom of the fascia board that matches the gutter, to avoid us having to paint adjacent to the gutter at all. Maybe that's an option to consider.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 2:12PM
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