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Gutter Oxidation: What Do You Need to Know

Homeowners may wonder whether gutters are a necessary component of their homes’ or merely decorative. Gutters guide rainwater away from the building’s foundation; thus, they should be kept clean and debris-free.

Source: pixabay.com

Generally, gutters are more exposed to the changing weather and experience oxidation. So, What is it? Do you need to fix it right away? We’ll discuss all that further in the article.

What Is Gutter Oxidation and What Causes It?

Oxidation happens when an atom or compound loses one or more electrons.

One of the main reasons gutters oxidize is the material they’re made of. Some elements lose electrons faster than others and are said to oxidize easily. Metals such as sodium, magnesium, and iron, in general, oxidize easily. Most gutters are vinyl, copper, aluminum, galvanized steel, and stainless steel.

Another reason why oxidation happens in gutters is the exposure to the elements. Rapid oxidation happens when gutters are exposed to UV rays, air pollution, dampness, extreme temperatures, or other biological exposures.

How to Remove Gutter Oxidation?

Industry specialists call those unsightly black stains on gutters “tiger stripes” or “zebra stripes.” They are often the result of a reaction between the asphalt in roof shingles and the anodized aluminum in gutters. Traditional home washing chemicals used to remove mold or mildew will not work since they are not merely stains.

There are different products specifically made to remove those pesky streaks, and one of them is Gutter Butter. It is a highly concentrated cleaner that removes oxidation from various surfaces, including gutters. 

Here are the steps on how to remove gutter oxidation using the product:

  1. Dilute the product as recommended. The ratio for gutter brightening is 10:1. It’s 24 ounces per gallon for vinyl siding and roof restoration. Always start low and add more when needed.
  2. Before applying the product, pre-wet the surface and surroundings. Take specific care to windows.
  3. Use a low-pressure spray to apply. A power spray is an excellent choice in this situation.
  4. If your gutters have bad oxidation, you may need to brush the product after spraying.
  5. Thoroughly rinse with water.

There are some reminders when using Gutter Butter:

  • Use with caution on polished aluminum
  • Always test the material first in other areas
  • Do not allow the product to dry on surfaces
  • Only use when the temperature is over 50 degrees F
  • Use PPE such as gloves and eye protection when working with the product

Tips on Cleaning Gutter Oxidation

Now, before getting a gallon of Gutter Butter, here are some tips to remember when cleaning gutter oxidation:

Keep it Safe

Cleaning gutters put you at risk of falling off the ladder. You must take a few precautions to keep yourself safe while completing this hazardous operation. First and foremost, always check out ladder safety guidelines.

It would be best if you also took precautions to protect your skin and eyes. Gutter cleaning chemicals are highly powerful and can cause harm. Gutter filth can also be irritating, especially for people with allergies. It is also critical to use gloves and eye protection to protect yourself from danger. You may also want to use a face mask to avoid breathing any chemicals and allergens.

Check your Cleaning Options and Conditions

Regular water may not be enough to remove the buildup from your house gutters. That is why a gutter cleaning solution is essential, like the Gutter Butter.

On the other hand, be cautious when selecting a chemical with aluminum gutters. Some may cause aluminum to corrode. A simple combination of water and white vinegar cleans the outside of the gutters extremely well and will not damage aluminum. You can also mix a paste with a small amount of water and cream of tartar to use as both a cleaning and a gentle polishing agent.

Also, always check the weather when cleaning your gutters. Do not clean them when it’s raining heavily.

Use the Right Tools

Cleaning the outside of the gutters necessitates the use of some tools. You’ll need a ladder, but that’s not all you’ll need. You’ll also need a thick pair of gloves, eye protection, and a face mask.

A towel or sponge will also help you clean difficult areas. But avoid using abrasive materials such as metal brushes or steel wool pads as it will damage the gutters. Aluminum gutters can get dull or scratched due to these abrasive materials. To completely clean the gutters, you’ll need a long hose that can reach that high. You can also use a power washer if you have one lying around.

Pressure Wash or Brush

Cleaning house gutters can be difficult, especially if they have been ignored for a long time. Some elbow grease may do the trick, but it may be difficult to remove all layers.

But if your house gutters are exceptionally filthy, you can use a power washer to help you. Avoid pointing the nozzle too close to your aluminum gutters, as the high pressure will dent them. Instead, stand on the ground and aim the power washer at the gutters. This strategy can save you a significant amount of time and work.

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