Clogged gutters can create quite a headache. The gutters protect your home’s roof, walls, foundation and landscape. If debris builds up in them, it could lead to sagging gutters, mold growth, wet basements, a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. The debris build up can also harbor a home for insects and other pests. When water can’t properly flow from your roof, you could be looking at some major repair work. This makes keeping your gutters clean so vital, something that should be done twice per year.
Cleaning your gutters is by no means a glamorous project. It’s a project in which many homeowners choose to hire a professional to do. A professional will also be able to determine if the gutters should be replaced or repaired due to damage such as: Cracks or splits, Paint damage and rust, Pools of water and mold, Water damage or water marks, Sagging gutters. All of these factors should push you to have your gutters replaced or repaired. They will also check to ensure there is proper water flow and drainage and look for any leaks at the seams. Professionals will seal leaking seams and joints with special gutter sealant. A professional will also be able to check the downspouts for any blockages or leaks that made need to be mended.
Whether you have a professional service come to do one or both yearly cleanings, it’s a great option to consider. You can always reduce your gutter maintenance and cleaning by adding gutter screens.
If you choose to clean your gutters yourself, below is quick how to.
Here’s What You Need to Clean Your Gutters
Before You Clean Your Gutters, Clean the Roof
Before cleaning out the gutters, you will want to either blow off or power wash any debris off the roof and into the gutters. This way you can easily scoop out the debris with what is already in the gutters, saving you from having to do it again after just a couple of days.
Check to make sure your ladder is in good working order and free from any structural defects. Carefully place the ladder on firm ground and check to make sure it is steady so that the ladder won’t fall or collapse from under you. Be sure to lock it in place when opening it up or extending it before you start to climb up.
While a bucket can work in a pinch, hung off the ladder or put on a top of the roof, there are a couple other options to consider.
Plastic grocery bags can be held in one hand while you are filling them up with the other. Empty bags can be easily kept in your back pocket, then tied off and thrown on the ground to be disposed of once you’re done. This will also avoid having any extra weight on the ladder.
The easiest method is throwing the debris onto the ground. This can get messy though, so use a tarp on the ground below.
Cleaning The Gutter
Put on your eye protection and garden gloves, climb the ladder and start with a downspout. Using your scoop, pull the debris away from the opening of the downspout.
Using your hand or a scoop, remove the debris out of the gutter, putting it in to your bucket or the tarp you have laid out on the ground. Repeat this down an entire length of the gutter, moving the ladder as needed to avoid reaching too far.
Once you have cleaned an entire length of the gutter, you will want to wash any small debris out the downspout. The best way to do this is with a hose attachment that controls the pressure output of the water (preferably an attachment that can be operated with just one hand). Make sure that the water is flowing through the downspouts, removing any blockage caused by debris. Repeat this process across all sections of your gutter.