Most Effective Gutter Cleaning Tips, Tricks & Strategies
Keeping your rain gutters in optimal shape is one of the best things you can do for your residence. Not only does it ensure that your property will be safe during heavy rainfall and storms, but it’ll also prevent a secondary issue like mold and pests.
When rain gutter maintenance is non-existent or inadequate, it creates the ideal conditions for many problems, including clogging and leaking.
If you are scared of heights, don’t have the time/and or right tools, consider hiring a professional gutter cleaner to get the job done. In case you are DIYer, here’s a how-to guide for cleaning gutters from tell-tale signs of clogged gutters to cleanout tips and FAQs.
Gutter Cleaning Tips
If you haven’t started and need guidance on how to get the job done, we’ve got some insider gutter cleaning tricks from the pros to help you.
Before you begin cleaning your rain gutters, ensure you have all the required safety equipment. You will need heavy work gloves to prevent injuries to the hands, mainly if the rain gutters are made of metal, which might have sharp edges or parts sticking out. Wear safety glasses and non-slip shoes too. Now you are ready to climb on the ladder, but before it, don’t forget to place it on an even surface. Keep the hips between the rails, and never work on the last two steps of the ladder or lean over the sides.
Below, you’ll find several cleaning tools to clean gutters effectively.
- Ladder – If you own a house, it’s well worth it to purchase a quality aluminum or fiberglass extension ladder. It would be best if you always got someone nearby to hold the ladder;
- Long-sleeve rubber gloves – Surgical-type latex gloves and even some nitrile models advertised as heavy-duty are usually too thin and may tear versus the sharp aluminum edges. For optimal results, use neoprene or kitchen latex gloves;
- Garden trowel – Long plastic scoops, thin enough to fit in gutters, can be bought at home improvement stores. Still, if your shingles extend too far over the gutters, you may not be able to utilize a trowel;
- Old spoon or putty knife – You can also use any hand implement that can scrape sediment from the gutters’ bottom;
- Dust mask – Clogged, dried gutters can be very dusty, and a dust mask can prevent you from breathing in this dust;
- Safety glasses – Debris may fly back at you when cleaning, so wearing safety glasses to help protect your eyes is necessary;
- Garden hose – A garden hose long enough to reach to the gutters when attached to an outside faucet;
- Bucket – Use a bucket to collect debris you are cleaning from the gutter.
Making rain gutter maintenance a routine will increase the lifespan of the gutters, as well as your home’s exterior. A rule of thumb is to clean and check them at least twice a year, especially during spring and fall. Still, there are some cases where maintenance should be performed more often. If you live in a rainy area, inspection should be done as frequently as possible since gutters can clog quicker, overflow, and the water’s weight can loosen them.
Never go on the roof when it’s icy, wet, or when there are strong winds. If the conditions are optimal, use a rake to clear the roof of leaves and other debris, so the next rainfall doesn’t drag them into the gutters, clogging them.
Leaks, Holes and Rust Inspecting
Once the gutters are clean, check them. Seek for signs of leaks, rust, and inspect the rain gutter joints. If you find holes, patch them up with metal flashing or a rain gutter patching kit that can be purchased at a home improvement store. If the holes are tiny or the joints are leaking, you might need to caulk the joints or use a sealant. If you notice signs of rust, then the rain gutters might need to be replaced. Consider switching to vinyl, aluminum, or copper models, none of which rust.
Don’t forget to check downspouts for clogging, leaks, rust and most importantly, be sure that they extend several feet away from your property. If required, you can add downspout extenders to ensure that water isn’t draining too close to the foundation.
How to Clean Gutters Safely
Rain gutters should be kept clear so they may effectively guide rainwater off the roof. It prevents water from resting around the foundations, which can cause leaks or dampness in the home. Follow the steps below to learn how to clean your gutters.
- Position the ladder so that it’s stable and angled adequately.
- Use long sleeve rubber gloves. Place the trowel in the bucket, carry it to the top of the ladder, and hang it from a rung.
- Remove gutter covers and put on the roof.
- Gutter debris is typically found in two layers – a top, lighter layer of leaves, pine cones, twigs, and a heavy bottom layer of particles and dirt from the shingles. Utilize the trowel to remove the top layer, placing the debris in the bucket. If the trowel doesn’t work, remove the junk by hand and place it in the bucket.
- Scrape out the bottom sediment with your putty knife, spoon, or fingers.
- Take all things back down. Turn on the garden hose. Take it up to the gutters and employ it to rinse gutters and inspect the flow.
- Make sure that downspouts are clear of any debris that may have become stuck. If there is a blockage, unclog by removing the nozzle and running the hose up the downspout. Simultaneously, softly tap the side of the downspout to dislodge the waste.
What Damage Can You Expect from Neglected Gutters?
To avoid the following damages, you’ll need to keep up with regular cleaning and maintenance of the gutter system.
- Basement flooding – More water landing at the house’s base means a higher risk of water entering the basement. Preventing water from entering here can stop issues with mildew/mold and preserve walls that might otherwise be exposed to fungal growth and moisture;
- Foundation – Inefficient gutters put your home’s foundation at unnecessary risk. One of the main functions of any gutter system is to displace the water that erodes the soil around the foundation. Every homeowner wants to escape expensive foundation repairs;
- Mosquitoes – Clogged gutters make an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you have mosquitoes buzzing near the house, the gutters might be the right place to look. Also, check the containers of standing water such as rain in pots, wading pool, sandbox cover, wheelbarrow, or tire;
- Sidewalks, driveways, and patios – A proper gutter system is also an investment to protect patios, sidewalks, and driveways. If water is moving from these paved surfaces, the soil is far less likely to be shifted or eroded by rain or/and snow running from the roof.
As we said, rain gutters should be cleaned twice each year – in the late spring and the late fall. Therefore, it all depends on the size, type, and location of your home and the type and density of tree coverage – houses surrounded by trees may need more frequent gutter cleaning.
Even though they may seem of little consequence, underperforming gutters can have a devastating impact on your property. To skip blockages and costly repairs, get on a routine maintenance schedule that’s suitable for the type/density of the tree coverage around your residence. Ignored or left overlooked; it’s only a matter of time before things become worse.
While it’s possible to go about gutter cleaning on a DIY basis, it’s impossible to get the job done as efficiently, quickly, and safely as the pros. Costs will vary according to the size, nature, and extent of the job.
Again, it all comes down to the gutter system’s size and the extent of the debris. Anyway, it will usually take a team of experts between 30 and 90 minutes to clean the average house’s gutters. In any case, it’s a huge time saving compared to the hours you would need to finish the job.