While incredibly important, gutter cleaning tends to get overlooked when creating the dreaded spring cleaning lists. Though often forgotten, properly functioning gutters are one of the best ways to protect your home from damage and other issues.
Usually, gutters seem to only get attention when they cease to perform their duty. However, at this point, major problems have already developed, and can create other issues that may be costly to fix. These issues include ice dams that can force water into your house, rot in the trim and siding, mold, mildew, and creating a breeding ground for carpenter ants and mosquitoes.
Preventing these issues is easy as long as gutters are cleaned twice a year. The task may seem daunting, but gutter cleaning can be a breeze if the below tips are followed.
Gutter Cleaning Tips and Tricks
- Remove All Debris
First, scoop all debris from the gutters. This can be done by hand, but most would suggest using a rubber scoop made specifically for this task.
Pressure washing the gutters ensures that even the smallest particle is removed. This ensures a smooth path for rainwater allowing it to be properly carried by the gutters rather than overflowing. Make certain to not hit the gutter at too high of an angle, or the pressure washer may cause shingles to come loose from the roof.
Tip: The decomposed debris and leaves found in gutters make great mulch and/or compost.
- Thoroughly Inspect Gutters
Once the debris has been scooped out from the gutters, it is necessary to inspect them for any leaks that may have developed since the last cleaning. If these go unnoticed, then rot and mildew are certain to take over a home’s trim and siding. Scraping away old caulk and applying a new coat is an easy fix for this problem.
At this point, it is also essential to check gutters’ spikes. Some may be completely missing the home’s rafters. If this is the case, new spikes need to be invested in so the gutters stay securely attached to the house. Otherwise, the gutters will start to sag and pull away from the home.
Rivets may have also come loose since the last cleaning and will need to be replaced. This can only be done with a rivet gun and, therefore, a professional may need to be called.
- Safety Is Most Important
Debris flies everywhere when cleaning gutters, and nobody wants any of that getting in their eyes. Because of this, safety goggles are extremely important to wear while performing this task.
No less important than goggles are gloves. These may seem unnecessary, but gloves can protect hands from coming into contact with animal droppings that contain harmful bacteria. They also can prevent cuts and scrapes from any sharp or rusty objects that may be located within the gutters.
Most importantly, make certain to invest in a sturdy ladder. Wooden ladders can wobble easily, so fiberglass or aluminum ladders are generally recommended. Always have a second person holding the ladder sturdy, and make certain to practice the three point rule: both legs and one hand firmly secure on the ladder at all times.
To keep gutters in working order, it is best to clean them at least twice a year. However, homes surrounded by trees may need to have their gutters cleaned more often.
If this doesn’t fit in your schedule, then consider hiring a professional for their gutter cleaning services. A professional’s experience and proper tools can turn this daunting chore into a completed task on your Spring Cleaning to-do list.