Gutter cleaning can be tedious, the most difficult part is usually remembering to do it because it only has to be cleaned out a minimum of 2 times per year. Try using a calendar or remember to clean them when there’s a really bad storm that has either hit or is about to hit.
Keep in mind that rain gutters are a lot more crucial to the safety and durability of your house than you may give them credit for. They protect your home’s siding, landscaping, and even the foundation. The problems creep in when the gutters start to fill up with leaves, mud, sticks, and other debris. This process causes clogs, water can start to spread underneath the roof and in some cases, the foundation. If you live somewhere cold, ice dams can also form from clogged gutters.
Cleaning the Gutters
There are two main approaches to cleaning your gutters. Depending on your roof size you can either use a ladder to get up and manually scrape or spray the debris out or you could use an extendable tool that lets you take care of everything from the ground by spraying high pressure water.
If you’re going to use a ladder keep in mind that it is a lot more dangerous. Make sure there’s a sturdy surface that you can put your ladder on so you don’t fall. Try using a ladder stabilizer for extra balance if you don’t feel comfortable. As a final resort, you can have someone help you hold the ladder for backup. You may also want to dress in a long-sleeved shirt and/or work pants so you don’t ruin your clothes, it may get messy.
- For removal, you can use a small plastic scoop or you can use some gloves and get in there with your hands for a quicker time.
- Spread a tarp underneath the area you’re working so you can easily collect all the gutter gunk and keep your lawn nice and healthy.
- Once all the big elements are removed, use a hose to flush everything else out. Pay attention to any leaks that are exposed during this process.
- Look for sagging metal or any other problems with your gutter that should be repaired before the next storm.
Some gutters may need to be replaced, particularly after a nasty storm so make sure you know when your gutter can be cleaned, fixed, or if it should just plain be replaced. Here are some things to look for
- Cracks or splits: Small cracks will eventually become bigger until it causes a massive problem. These sections should be replaced with new ones.
- Paint damage with rust: Paint on gutters is water-resistant so the presence of water damage and/or rust means that water is continuously on the gutter. This is caused by clogs and debris, you only have to repaint the affected sections and it will be fine.
- Mold and pools of water: This is similar to the paint damage but it means there is worse clogging which is causing more damage. In some cases, the gutter system is defective and will need to be replaced.
- Water damage or watermarks: On sunny days you should inspect directly underneath the gutters to see if there are watermarks (evidence of leaking or overflowing). If there are no blockages around the area then it is likely a crack that should either be repaired or replaced.
- Sagging gutters: If your gutters are sagging then its a sure sign that they must be replaced. This is because they’re no longer draining properly.
It may seem like there’s a lot of steps but once you do this a few times and your mind understands what to look for it will be a lot easier and you’ll be able to knock it out in no time.