When it comes to weekend activities, cleaning gutters might not necessarily be what you have in mind. However, maintaining your gutters can help ensure that your roofing system is working efficiently. And while you can certainly hire professional help, cleaning your gutters is a home maintenance task that anyone can do with a little preparation!
How to Clean Gutters
In this post, we will break down the process of cleaning your own gutters, including:
- What tools you’ll need
- Safety precautions
- Proper Debris Disposal
Read on to find out how you can clean your own gutters like a pro!
Why Do I Have To Clean My Gutters?
For an inexperienced homeowner, cleaning the gutters is a task that is easy to forget about. After all, it’s true what they say. Out of sight, out of mind!
The truth is that neglecting your gutters can create a clog that may lead to serious consequences for your roof.
Throughout the year, gutters collect debris. The combination of dry leaves, twigs, and even dirt pile up over time. In time, it will prevent rain from being able to flow through the gutters, leading to clogged downspouts. How does this affect your home?
- Broken Gutters – The weight of the debris can lead your gutters to sag and even detach from your home.
- Basement Flooding – Gutters are designed to redirect water away from the home. When they are overflowing, water can seep into your basement and cause flooding
- Foundational Damage – If water can get into your basement, it can also find its way to your foundation. Continual exposure can cause your foundation to rot and erode.
- Stained Siding – When water cannot flow through the gutter system, it can overflow and drip down the side of your home. This can cause stains and rot on your house’s siding.
Regularly cleaning your gutters can help prevent expensive repairs down the road.
Any project that requires you to work at a great height comes with some inherent risk. Luckily there are some simple safety precautions that you can take to ensure that your DIY gutter cleaning goes off without a hitch.
Assess Your Comfort Level
Perhaps the most important step is to ensure that you feel comfortable working far off the ground. Nerves can lead to hasty decisions and sudden movements. It is best to feel confident before climbing up a ladder.
Be sure to also take into account your physical limitations. Injuries or a lack of balance could put you in danger. Be realistic about your abilities and whether or not this is a job that is best left to a professional.
Get the Right Equipment
When it comes to cleaning your gutters, safety equipment is one area that you definitely don’t want to slack in! Not only will it protect you, but the right safety gear will help make sure you can maintain your peace of mind.
The most important tool in your arsenal will be a sturdy extension ladder. Unlike telescoping ladders, an extension ladder will ensure that you have a stable base to stand on. A safety rope and harness are also a great investment.
Stay Away From the Roof Edge
We recommend doing as much of the cleaning as possible from your ladder. However, if your house layout forces you to work from the roof, be sure to stay away from the edge at all times. A good rule of thumb is to never turn your back on the edge. When it stays in your line of sight, you are less likely to make a misstep and risk falling.
Gutter Cleaning Methods
Clean gutters are non-negotiable for homeowners, but that doesn’t mean that one size fits all! Different houses have different needs. Luckily, there are a variety of methods to help you clean your gutters. We’re breaking down the three most popular cleaning techniques to help you find the method that works best for you.
1 – Manual Cleaning
For most people, manual cleaning is the most approachable form of gutter cleaning. There are two main ways to clean your gutters by hand. The most popular way is to use a bucket. Using a gutter scoop, remove debris from the gutters, and place it in a bucket. When the bucket is full, you can dump it in a compost pile or dispose of it. While this method is simple, it does require you to spend lots of time climbing up and down a ladder. Because of this, many people prefer to lay a tarp underneath and simply drop the debris onto the tarp. Once the gutters are clean, be sure to wash away any remaining debris with a garden hose.
2 – Vacuum Cleaning
Vacuum cleaning is a great method for those who are looking for a low-contact method of cleaning gutters. To do this, you will need access to a wet-dry vacuum. If you do not own one, you can rent one at your local hardware store.
Then, all you have to do is vacuum up the debris! Similarly to manual cleaning, we recommend rinsing your gutter with a garden hose after vacuuming.
3 – Power Washer
A power washer is a great way to make sure your gutters are thoroughly cleaned. They are especially useful for getting into hard-to-reach spaces, like the downspouts.
You can rent a power washer at your local hardware store. We recommend renting an extension wand that will allow you to clean your gutters while staying on the ground level.
4 – Leaf Blower
If your gutters are clogged with mostly dry debris, a leaf blower can be an excellent way to clear them out! This method works best for a fall cleaning, where the leaves are freshly fallen. The wet debris that comes in the spring cannot be cleaned effectively with this method.
When Is It Time to Get New Gutters?
If during your cleaning process, you notice rust or other signs of wear, it may be time to replace your home’s gutters.
Not sure where to start?