Do you have stained gutters? You may have noticed dark, dirt-like lines vertically running down your gutters. This is called tiger striping. So how, and why does this occur? It is very simple really. Dirt, pollen, pollutants and petroleum-based run-off from a home’s roof can drip down and attach to water or dew droplets that form on the lip of your gutters. Eventually these droplets containing the pollutants mentioned above, will drip down your gutter. Over time, this can cause build up and staining, causing these darker lines called tiger stripes.
Something very important to understand and take into account when talking about water dripping from your gutters lip is that these drips are completely normal and this DOES NOT mean that your gutter is failing. Often times, we have clients notice these drips coming down the front of their gutter in rain storms, and they believe that the gutter isn’t working. But that is not in fact true. It is when water is overflowing from your gutter system, that the gutter may be failing. Another sign of a failed gutter system is if water is flowing, or dripping between the back of your gutter and the fascia. This may mean your gutter wasn’t installed properly.
Small water droplets running down the front of your gutter occurs because of the water’s natural tendencies to take the path of least resistance. It is not uncommon for condensation droplets, and small water droplets in rain to land and/or form on the lip of your gutter. When landing here, the water will likely travel down the front of your gutter. If you are experiencing these small drops of water, again don’t be alarmed, your gutters are working as they should.
Here is a visual comparison of a normal drip during rain vs. an overflow of rainwater from your gutters. The photo on the left is perfectly normal, whereas the photo on the right indicates your system is not working properly.
The small water droplets running down the front of your gutter, pictured above on the left are what could cause the tiger striping many homeowners experience.
So, how do you prevent tiger striping?
- Having your gutters cleaned at least once a year can help in proactively preventing tiger striping.
- To clean the exterior of your gutters you’ll need to scrub with a soft rag or sponge.
- Do not use an abrasive chemical based cleaner.
Once tiger striping has already occurred, and the stains are significant, cleaning will be tougher and at this point you’ll likely need to use cleaning supplies specifically formulated to clean aluminum gutters.