Step by Step Guide to Painting Eaves for Instant Curb Appeal

September 14, 2023
nicole

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I painted my gutters and eaves black!!! And the only thing I regret is not doing it sooner. Wow! What a statement this easy DIY makes on my limewashed brick home. I’m still in awe every time I pull into my driveway. And I might, at times, walk around my house just to look at the gutters and eaves. 🙂 Multiple times a day. 🙂 They turned out amazing and I can’t wait to share the process with you! My guide to painting eaves is going to make you want to tackle this simple paint job on the exterior of your house too.

Over the summer, my husband and I were out on a walk when I noticed one house standing out from the rest of the homes on the street. It caught my attention immediately.

They did the unexpected and nailed it! They painted their eaves and gutters black.

The contrast of the black eaves with their brick house was amazing! Most people paint their eaves and gutters the same color as the body of their house. Wanting these components to blend in, they would never think of painting them a different color.

But when you do the unexpected and draw people’s eye in a good way, I call that a huge win in the interior design world. Doing something no one else is doing. But when they see it, they want to do it too.

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After this walk, I hopped on Pinterest right away to see if this was becoming a trend. Sure enough. Many people had already made this beautiful change to their home.

So, the obvious next question is: Is painting your eaves and gutters black a trend? Here today, gone tomorrow. Because, if so, you’re probably thinking, that’s too much work to then have to change it all in a year or two or five. My short answer to this is, no.

Black is a timeless color that will not go out of style. Painting your gutters and eaves black adds a subtle touch of contrasting color. While it makes a statement, it does not stand out like a sore thumb.

Which leads me to, is this design move for everyone? I’ll answer that question and so much more in this guide to painting eaves.

Large modern home with black eaves and gutters for Guide to Painting Eaves Post

Source: JR Builders LLC

​Guide to Painting Eaves

What are Eaves?

“Eaves” are comprised of the entire overhang of the roof. They often have gutters attached to them.

Their primary purpose is to provide protection to the body of your home. They keep rain and other elements from directly running down the side of your house. In addition, they provide shade from direct sunlight, for the windows and doors beneath them.

Aside from their functional purpose, they also serve as an architectural feature, as well.

Eave Diagram for guide to painting eaves post

There are two parts to the eaves of your home.

  • Fascia: The long board that runs along the lower edge of the roof. Facing outward.
  • Soffit:  The underside flat surface of the roof that overhangs the exterior walls. Facing downward.

I remember which is which by thinking of it this way: The fascia faces outward like a face. While the soffit faces downward towards the ground. If I can relate fascia and face together, I can then easily remember soffit. Hopefully this helps you too. Because they can be confusing. 🙁

Diagram of fascia, soffit and gutter

​4 Primary Styles of Eaves

  • Open Eaves: Expose the rafters and the underside of the roof, without any soffit covering. This style is often seen on craftsman-style homes.
  • Soffited: These can be vented or non-vented. Usually made of wood, metal, vinyl, or fiber cement. They create a finished and protected underside to the eaves. Soffited eaves cover up the rafters and structural elements.
  • Boxed-In: Rafters are covered by a soffit and ornamental molding. They create a more extensive and pronounced overhang. Most often seen on mid century modern and ranch-style homes.
  •  Abbreviated: Cut at 90 degrees, these eaves provide little to no overhang.

The style of my home’s eaves are soffited. Here’s a look before painting my eaves and gutters black.

front of craftsman style house decorated for Fall with lots of mums

And here’s a look at my home after painting the eaves and gutters black.

Pic of a gray, white and black home for give to painting eaves post

Benefits of Painting Eaves

Guide to Painting Eaves: Curb Appeal

The most obvious reason to paint your eaves Is for the aesthetics of it. Painting your eaves a color that contrasts with the body color of your home, can make your entire home stand out.

If your home is brick, painting your eaves a contrasting color can accentuate the brick and really make it pop.

If you’re wanting a more streamlined and contemporary look, you’ll want to paint your eaves the same color as your house exterior. Blending the eaves and gutters in with the rest of your home, is the look you’ll most likely be the happiest with.

White house with a bluish green colored door

Source: Bungalow Expansion

Which brings me to the question we asked earlier. Is painting your eaves black, for everyone? No, not at all. There are some styles of homes where this look just doesn’t fit. Along with some colors that it doesn’t flow well together with.

For example a contemporary-style home usually has more of a cohesive color palette. Or a home with bolder colors probably won’t have the same appeal with black gutters. There are just too many colors trying to take center stage in that scenario. Not a good mix.

However, a neutral color palette with black gutters–absolutely stunning!

Protection Against The Elements

Another reason to paint your eaves has everything to do with function. Painted eaves provides a barrier against moisture, sun and pests. Painting eaves regularly (every 5 to 10 years) will expand their lifespan.

Modern farmhouse home for Guide to Painting Eaves Post

Source: Zaharias Design

Cost of Painting Eaves

​The cost of painting eaves is a broad range. It depends on multiple factors:

  • Type of paint
  • Prep work needed
  • Size of the project
  • Are you DIY’ing it or hiring professional painters

The ballpark figure of painting eaves, according to Homeguide.com, is $4 to $14 per linear foot. Tack on another one to four dollars for labor costs. Or do it yourself and save some money! My guide to painting eaves will make it easy!

Sprawling white home with black trim

Source: Vincent Longo Custom Builders

​Choosing the Right Paint and Colors

Most Popular Exterior Paint Colors of 2023

According to Sherwin Williams, here is a sampling of the most popular exterior paint colors of 2023:

  • Alabaster
  • Pure White
  • Agreeable Gray
  • Shiitake
  • Foggy Day

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​Black eaves would look amazing with all of these colors. However, Foggy Day with black eaves would make more of a bold statement. And would probably look better with eaves the same color or white. However, depending on the look you’re going for, black would work too.

The Color I chose

Here’s a blog post listing out all of my exterior paint colors. With my home’s exterior trim color being Ultra Pure White by Behr and the body of my home being a shade of gray, I knew black eaves would look amazing.

Having recently painted my front porch black, I stuck with the trim color I already have: Tricorn Black by Sherwin Williams.

Girl standing on green ladder painting eaves of her home

Guide to Painting Eaves: The Best Paint

Sherwin Williams is my go to for all of my painting projects. They have the best quality paint, in my opinion. This project was no exception.

I chose their Emerald collection in a satin sheen. Such great consistency. It went on like butter. Because this paint already has a primer added into it, this was an extra cost and step I didn’t need.

Large craftsman home with brick pillars on front porch

Source: Ashley J. Design

When NOT to Paint Your Eaves a Dark Color

The great associates at Sherwin Williams helped me figure out my entire project. One of the first questions they asked me was, what is the material of my eaves and gutters. I honestly, had no idea that this was an important thing to know before starting this project.

They advised me not to paint my gutters and eaves black if they were made of vinyl. Just to be sure, I had my professional painting contractor come out and double check for me.

Thankfully my hopes and dreams were not crushed. Mine are not made of vinyl. They are made of metal. And the project could move forward.

Why does this matter? Painting your gutters and eaves a dark color will definitely attract the sun. Which will, in turn, cause them to heat up throughout the day. This can, unfortunately, melt vinyl.

So, I urge you to find out what material yours are made of, before deciding on a darker shade. Every material except for vinyl is ok to paint a dark color.

All white house with a large front porch for Guide to Painting Eaves Post

Source: House Sprucing

Should The Eaves Be The Same Color as The Body of The House?

This is really based off of personal preference. I chose to paint my eaves AND my gutters black. But some people may prefer to just paint their gutters black.

I prefer the look of the entire encasement being painted the same uniform color. That would include the fascia boards, soffits and the gutters. But there is no specific design rule that says you have to do it one way or the other. Go with what you love.

Preparing to Paint

To Roll or Spray

I have only used my paint sprayer a handful of times. Pulling it out and trying to get the hang of it again, on the exterior surface of my house, did not seem like a good idea. I knew by rolling it, I wasn’t likely to accidentally paint the entire side of the house. So, I rolled and brushed this painting project.

large barndominium all lit up inside

Source: DEMESNE

Another reason, I chose to roll instead of using my spray equipment, was the time involved in spraying. Yes, spraying the project goes much much faster. AFTER you have it all taped off. There’s a lot of time involved in taping everything off that you don’t want paint on.

And I knew for me, having never really done this before, that was sure to take a lot of extra time. And again, my goal wasn’t to paint my entire house. Which seemed likely with a paint sprayer I rarely ever use. 🙁

Temp Needs to Be Right

Make sure to paint on a day with low humidity and not crazy hot. Or cold, for that matter. But I think most people know to paint in the summer, spring or fall. Not when it’s snowing outside. Haha! The ideal temp is 50-85 degrees. Humidity less than 70%. And no rain for at least 24 hours.

I have to admit, I painted on some really hot days. Much hotter than 85. And it all turned out well. So, these are of course, just recommendations.

Prepare The Eaves First

First things first, you’ll want to clean your eaves. Because our home is not very old, our gutters and eaves are in good condition. Therefore, I was able to just use hot soapy water and a sponge.

If it’s a bigger clean up job, a power washer will work best. If needed, you’ll want to scrape off any loose paint. Your new paint will not adhere to flaky paint. Cover plants, driveway, sidewalks, etc. Anything you don’t want to paint or have to clean up later.

Large white home with dark trim and driveway along the side

Source: Dave Tilly & Associates LLC

Guide to Painting Eaves: Ready to Paint

Supplies Needed:

​The Painting Process

I chose to roll the soffit first and then roll the fascia. When finished rolling, I filled in what the paint roller missed with my angled brush.

Working in six foot sections worked very well for me. It allowed the paint to have sufficient time to dry as I worked my way across and came back for a second coat.

Large modern home with lots of windows forGuide to Painting Eaves Post

Source: John Lively & Associates

How I Moved Across a Section

Here’s a breakdown of how I painted a section at a time. Once I got into a rhythm with these steps, this project took off and went really fast.

  1. First step, using the YELLOW frog tape, I taped off about a six foot section. Taping off whatever I didn’t want to get paint on. I recommend using the yellow frog tape instead of the green tape. The reason for this is, the yellow tape won’t adhere too tightly to the existing paint. Yet, it will still create a strong enough seal so as not to bleed paint underneath the tape. The green tape has a tendency to pull off the paint it’s sticking too. Especially in hotter weather. After applying, be sure to press along the yellow tape with your finger to create a tight seal.
  2. Roll your 6 foot section, in all the areas you can cleanly roll it. Then fill in the spots the roller missed with your paint brush. First coat of paint is done.
  3. Move onto the next 6 foot section. Tape it, roll it and brush it. First coat is done in this section.
  4. Go back to your first 6 foot section. Roll and brush the second coat. And remove the tape in this section.
  5. Move onto second section. Roll and brush second coat. And remove the tape. Now you’re ready to move on and start a brand new section.
  6. Repeat these steps working your way around your house.

Tip: When starting a new section, be sure to start your roller and brush in the previously painted section. This will ensure that you don’t have any hard stop lines. You want all of the paint to blend well together.  

White modern home with large windows and very modern metal house numbers

Source: Haynsworth Custom Homes

If you happen to get paint on your brick or siding. Which you probably will. I did several times. You’ll want to always have a wet clean rag and a bucket of water with you to wipe it off. Latex paints wipe off very easily. So, don’t panic. It will come off.

If it’s been on there a while, use hand sanitizer and a scrub brush to get it off. Works like a charm!

As a sidenote and full disclaimer: I did not paint the second story eaves of my home. With a fear of heights, I could not get myself that high up the ladder. I tried MANY times. But in the end, I hired my awesome nephew to do that part for me.

Ready to change the look of your home? I hope you found this guide to painting eaves helpful. And you’re ready to take on your own DIY eaves and gutters painting project. It’s an exterior change that will last for several years to come. And will have all the neighbors talking. It’s so good!

Gray large home

Source: Claude C. Lapp Architects, LLC

FAQ”s: Guide to Painting Eaves

How long does Sherwin Williams exterior paint last?

Generally speaking 5-7 years. But this is just an estimate and is dependent upon how it was applied.

Do I need to sand before painting my eaves?

If the old paint is flaking, you will need to scrape away the peeling paint. For best results, sand down the edges until you have a smooth surface. Be sure to wipe away all of the dust before applying a fresh coat of paint.

How many coats of paint do my eaves need?

Two coats will give you a lasting, beautiful finish.

Large white 2 story for Guide to Painting Eaves Post

Source: Rosen Kelly Conway Architecture & Design

What sheen should my exterior trim paint be?

​The best exterior paint sheen is satin. A satin finish hides surface imperfections and is easier to clean. It also provides a low-reflective finish, which will help protect it from the harsh sun.

Which is better latex paints or acrylic paints?

A good quality exterior latex paint has acrylic in it. Therefore, as long as it’s a good quality paint, either one works well outside.

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

Be sure to Pin This Post to your Pinterest Board for later…

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More Design Posts to Check Out:

How to Replace Kitchen Cabinet Doors for a New Look

9 Hotel Bedroom Ideas to Make Your Room Feel Like a Boutique

What Is Your Interior Design Style?

 

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