May 31, 2021

Is That Rust On Your Gutter?

If you’ve got reddish brown spots on your gutters, it’s probably rust.    Rust is actually fairly rare in the world of gutters - especially modern gutters. While old galvanized steel gutters were strong and durable, they were very prone to rusting. Seeing as the main function of gutters is diverting water away from your home, using materials that rust easily aren’t the best idea.    Most gutters nowadays are made of rust-resistant or rust-proof materials, like aluminum, vinyl, zinc, or copper. In Calgary, most newly installed gutters are made of aluminum. Vinyl isn’t well-suited to the extreme temperatures we get, and zinc and copper, while attractive options, are far more expensive than aluminum.   This means that if your gutters are rusting, they’re likely made of galvanized steel. It’s important to note that while aluminum can’t rust, it can corrode - though it’s very resistant to corrosion. The only metals that rust are iron and steel.  

Getting rid of rust

If your gutters are starting to rust, the first step you should take is to get rid of any rusty spots. Rust is a bit like an infection - if left untreated, it can rapidly spread to other parts of your gutters.   Fortunately, rust is pretty easy to clean off. Water, dish detergent, a stiff-bristled brush and some elbow grease are all you need. You can even scour off any remaining rust once you’re done washing and brushing with a ball of aluminum foil.   You should be cautious, however - if your gutter has rusted through, and there are holes, it’s highly likely the rust has already begun to compromise the integrity of your gutters. You should call a professional to see if some (or all) of your gutter needs to be replaced.   Once you’ve cleaned off the rust, you should apply a protective coating to your gutter to help prevent future rusting. There’s a wide variety of sealing sprays available on the market - but we won’t play favourites and tell you what to get.  

Preventing rust

The easiest way to prevent rust is to ensure that water flows freely through your gutters. That means cleaning them out on a regular basis to prevent blockages and stagnant water.   Over time, even blockage-free steel gutters will begin to rust. Water will naturally wear away at the metal - though with galvanized steel pipes with no blockages, this process can take decades. Galvanized steel is reinforced with aluminum, but acidic substances can get into the water and corrode the rust-proof aluminum.    Your best bet, if you want to prevent rust entirely, is to install aluminum gutters. If the rust in your gutters has already corroded them to the point that you have holes, you should seriously consider replacing them with aluminum gutters.   And if you’re looking for eavestrough installation in Calgary, give us a call! We have aluminum eavestroughs (of course), and a number of other materials you can choose from.  For Calgary roofing choose Martens Contracting for all your service needs.

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