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Rust on Gutters

Aluminum gutters are rust-proof when properly treated, but can develop rust over time and under certain circumstances.

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Situated below the roof, gutters are generally high on your home and just out of reach. While they may be “out of sight, out of mind” for many homeowners, it is important to pay attention to their appearance, condition, and operation. While it is rare, these essential fixtures can develop brown, orange, or reddish-looking rust. Rust is a corrosive substance that can significantly impact your gutters as well as your home’s appearance and the stability of the structure.  

Read on to learn more about this hazard and how you can protect your gutters and home with professional assistance. 

rusty gutter

Gutter Materials and the Formation of Rust 

Gutters can be made from a variety of metals and other materials, but aluminum is the most widely used because it is lightweight yet durable as well as cost-effective. It is rust-proof when properly treated, but it can develop rust over time and under certain circumstances. 

Here are various causes and ways rust can form on your home’s gutters: 

Environmental Factors 

As trees and flowers begin to bloom in springtime, pollen floats around through the air and can end up in your gutters. While some particles are small, some types of pollen can be acidic and start to eat away at the metal gutters if left to lay inside. 

If the area you live in is prone to dramatic temperature fluctuations, this also can impact the integrity of your gutters and cause the material to break down over time. 

overflowing gutter

Excessive rain areas in Michigan and Northwest Ohio experience also can take its toll. Like pollen, rain can also be slightly acidic and wear away at the gutters. 

Natural Processes and Water or Humidity Exposure 

Similarly, water is a key component of the chemical reaction that causes rust. Rust also is known as iron oxide. When water or moisture in the air meets iron and oxygen, this leads to the development of rust. 

Gutters will have constant contact with water no matter what. After all, their purpose is to catch rainwater and melting snow and help divert it from your home’s foundation. Proper installation and upkeep allow this water to flow freely throughout the gutters and down to the downspouts. But if the gutters are damaged, clogged, or were not installed properly, water can easily collect inside and eventually lead to the formation of rust. 

Problems Associated with Gutter Rust 

Rusting gutters can’t function as they are intended, which can lead to a variety of problems for your home. Not only is the rust visually unappealing, but it can mean damage to your foundation and other essential components of your home. 

If the rust is so severe that it resulted in holes and other damage, water cannot properly collect or drain from the gutters. It can end up leaking into your attic or upper floors as well as puddle next to the foundation and impacting your home’s structural integrity. 

Other issues you may notice in your home include: 

  • Wet, moldy attic insulation 
  • Foundation cracks 
  • Bowing basement walls 
  • Basement leaks or flooding 
  • Stains, efflorescence or mold growth on basement walls 
  • Water damage on the home’s exterior siding 


If your gutters have only minor rust on them, they can be scrubbed with a wire brush and mild detergent followed by applying a metal primer to help prevent further rust formation. Roofing cement also can be used to patch any holes that may have formed due to rust eating through the gutter material. When in doubt, however, it’s always best to call on the pros for a complete solution and repair for rusted gutters. 

It can be difficult to stop rust from taking hold, but one way to ensure the longtime health and functionality of your gutters is to have gutters made of durable material. Galvalume and galvanized steel are two long-lasting options. Regular gutter maintenance and upkeep also goes a long way in stretching their lifespan. Cleaning and inspecting your gutters on your own or with professional assistance is recommended at least twice a year—once in the spring and again in the fall. 

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    Protect Your Gutters and Home with Help From FSM 

    Rusty gutters are problematic for the health, safety, and appearance of your home. Staying vigilant of their condition and conducting regular cleaning and maintenance inspections will help keep them functioning for years to come. 

    But their location just below your roof can be dangerous and tricky to maneuver. Let the expert team at FSM help protect your home and repair any gutter issues. Contact us today to schedule your free inspection and repair estimate. We are proud to serve homeowners throughout Michigan and Northwest Ohio in locations including Detroit, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Traverse City, and Toledo. 

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