The condition of the gutter system is very easy to maintain. It depends on the home owner though. It’s easier said than done. Gutter problems are mainly caused by neglect and can lead to a variety of problems. One of the most common issues with gutters is the accumulation of rust. Rust is actually iron oxide – which is simply a result of iron or metal being exposed to oxygen. The main “ingredient” for rust is water. Water molecules penetrate metal and forms acid, making the aluminum weak and brittle. In other types of metal, corrosion occurs.
When you see rust building up on your gutters, don’t panic. However, don’t even think about ignoring it as rust in gutters can spread like wildfire. After all, water flow is imminent at that part of your roof. Here are some quick fixes against rust and also long-term solutions.
Wire Brush – let’s face it: gutters and downspouts always have the risk of having rust sooner or later. These components are always exposed to moisture. At the first sight of rust, just brush off the affected area or scrape it with abrasive paper and rinse it off.
Paint – this is a good combination with the wire brush. After brushing or scraping, just wash or clean it properly then apply the paint. It slows down the rust accumulation if not totally preventing it from happening.
Rust Cleaners – there are products sold in home improvement or hardware stores that make rust removal easier. They are basically cleaning solvents that contain a certain type of acid (phosphoric or oxalic). Just be sure to read the instructions on the best method for using them!
Going Organic – you can actually find rust removers inside your house without even going to the store. A good example is vinegar. This is best for small patches of rust. A lemon juice/salt combination works well too. Apply it to the affected part, let it stand for 5 minutes then carefully rinse it and wipe it with cloth or a sponge.
If the rust has affected a larger section of your gutters or it has created a big hole, it is best to have this section replaced with a new one. You will save money in the long run compared to always doing quick fixes.
What other techniques do you use in rust removal from gutters? Join the discussion at the Hallett Gutter Cover Facebook page.