There are lots of things that look good in stripes…zebras, sweaters, the American flag. But gutters? Most of us would say no. Recently, a customer reached out asking if the stripes on his gutters resulted from his new shingles staining the gutters. Although this seems logical, it’s not the case.
Still, many of our customers in Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin experience striping on their gutters and have questions about it. Sounded like a great topic to us. Let’s talk about gutter striping.
What are tiger stripes?
These unsightly streaks are dark, vertical lines that appear on the outside of gutters, literally forming a striped pattern similar to tiger stripes with the top of the stripe being larger than the bottom. Unfortunately, when severe, the stripes become highly noticeable, especially on light-colored gutters next to dark roofing material.
What causes tiger stripes?
Gutter striping is an unfortunate gift from Mother Nature. As pollen, dirt, grime, and pollutants collect on your gutter rim, they mix with moisture. Droplets form on the rim and when they get large enough, the droplets roll down the face of the gutters and deposit residue on the face of the gutters as they travel. Over time, these tracks become more visible.
Myths about tiger stripes
There are two common myths about tiger striping. First, tiger stripes are not formed by paint failure or the gutter’s coating. The other misconception is that shingles will shed their color onto gutters. Asphalt shingles do fade over time, but the color does not weep out of them. This is especially noticeable with darker shingles.
Why doesn’t everyone get gutter tiger stripes?
As we discussed, the stripes come from deposits. Homes in areas with more pollutants, wind, and trees experience tiger striping more than others. If your home seems susceptible to getting them quickly, you need to adjust your maintenance schedule.
How to clean tiger stripes off gutters
As with so many things, prevention is the best medicine. Regular gutter maintenance and cleaning can help you to avoid stripes from forming in the first place. If stripes are beginning to form, but you catch them early, then a strong stream of water through a garden hose should do the trick. If a simple wipe-down doesn’t work, the next course of action involves adding a mild dishwashing detergent or household cleaner like 409. Still no luck? A trip to the hardware store or Amazon is your next stop. Brands like Ultimate Gutter Cleaner and Krud Kutter are readily available. Be sure to stay away from abrasive cleaners to avoid damaging your gutter surfaces.
Be careful to protect your gutters
Don’t go overboard trying to remove the stripes too quickly. As tempting as that metal brush or ammonia-based cleaner might be, do not do it. Harsh chemicals or too much abrasion will remove or soften the finish on aluminum gutters, limiting their lifespan and leading to an early gutter replacement. Stick with the softer sponges, rags, or light power spray settings.
If you’re maintaining your gutters on a regular basis by scooping our debris and checking for loose areas or clogs, add a step to wipe down the outside surface. You may find your issue with striping is wiped away with consistent, light TLC.
About Peak Roofing & Construction
Peak Roofing & Construction is family-owned, with 30-years of experience. Bonded, insured and accredited, we provide roofing, gutter, fence, window and exterior facelift services. Guaranteed. Call (972) 335-7325 in Dallas-Fort Worth (residential & commercial).