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Do It Yourself Gutter Cleaning Tips
Time Required: 2-4hrs, Difficulty: Beginner (shouldn’t have a fear of heights)
1) WHY CLEANING YOUR GUTTERS IS SO IMPORTANT
Your home gutter system controls the rainwater flowing off the roof of your home which in turn could seriously affect and damage your roof, walls, foundation, and landscape. When debris builds up, which it does, especially in the fall, it can lead to sagging gutters, mold growth, wet basements, a leaky roof or water damage to the interior and/or exterior of your home. Repairs can be both time consuming and costly, so do it regularly and you’ll be protecting your home for years to come.
2) HOW OFTEN YOU SHOULD CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS
This should be done twice a year, primarily in the spring and fall. If you have pine needles in your yard, you should clean them every few months to reduce the damage of clogging. Next time there’s heavy rain, pay attention to the rainwater off your gutters and downspouts to see how and where the water is hitting. This can be very telling and help identify where you need to really focus during your gutter cleaning. Doing it yourself is certainly the most cost-effective method, though it comes with a little risk and takes some of your free time. Hiring someone could cost anywhere from $100 to $250 for gutter cleaning, depending on the square footage, number of floors and the steepness of your roof.
3) SUPPLIES TO ASSIST IN CLEANING YOUR GUTTERS
To clean your gutters, you will need a sturdy ladder, gloved hands, and a shovel/trowel (optional.) Thick gloves will help protect against any sharp objects or edges while cleaning your gutters. Some people find it helpful to use a scoop/trowel for stubborn debris. A pressure washer or high-pressure nozzle can also be helpful in unclogging downspouts and clearing out fine debris from the gutters, but be careful that you don’t damage your shingles. Consider using a standoff stabilizer on your ladder so that it’s not laying directly on the gutters, possibly damaging them. Laying a tarp or sheet on the ground to catch the debris from your gutters can lead to faster cleanup– just remember to drag it along as you move the ladder around the house.
4) CLEANING THE GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS
In our opinion, your hands are the best tool for the job! You’ll be able to maneuver in those hard to reach areas to loosening the debris and unclogging the downspouts. Once you’ve moved as much as you can by hand, use the hose to flush the finer debris from the opposite end in the direction of the downspout. Confirm that the water is coming cleanly out of the downspout, otherwise the clog could lead to problems down the road.
5) IMPORTANT TIPS TO REMEMBER
Here are a few quick tips to pay attention to when cleaning out the gutters of your home:
- Properly sloping gutters should decline about 1/4 inch for every ten feet towards the downspouts. Pay attention for water that is pooling in your gutters, as this could indicate improper sloping.
- Pay attention to any leaks in the gutter seams that could be damaging the structure.
- As you’re cleaning your gutters, make sure they are secure and firmly attached to your home.
- Check your downspouts for any lodged debris and make sure the water is flowing away and not pooling up around your foundation. We strongly recommend a splash block!
- Consider installing gutter guards to reduce cleaning time needed in the future. We recommend gutter whiskers, mess guards, or snap-in plastic covers.
6) SAFETY FIRST THROUGHOUT THE GUTTER CLEANING PROCESS
Make sure your ladder is positioned well and sturdy for each of your climbs up and down throughout the day. Take a couple good test jumps on the first couple rungs to make sure there isn’t shifting. There are nearly 500,000 ladder fall injuries every year… don’t be one of those statistics! As you move around the perimeter of your house, be sure to move the ladder often, as well. You may be tempted to lean as far off the ladder as your body would possibly allow, just to reach a few more inches, but remember that your safety is the main priority.