gutter cleaning

How to Clean Your Gutters

How to Clean Your Gutters

One of the most overlooked areas on the typical home are the gutters. We don’t think much about them but they are an essential component in protecting the home from damage. Every homeowner should maintain a cleaning schedule for their gutters. It is a good idea to clean them both in the spring and fall. These are the times when you will find the most debris that can cause them to clog. Clean your gutters at a minimum once a year.

What problems are caused by clogged gutters?

  1. Damage to the roof. If your gutters are filled with leaves, the water can back up under the shingles and over time this can cause the decking to rot. This can bring on mold and and water damage that can lead to the need for deck replacement under the shingles.
  2. Damage to fascia boards. Did you know that a gallon of water weighs a little over eight pounds? If you have water sitting in your gutters due to being clogged with leaves and other refuse, the wood fascia can weaken and split. It can also cause the wood to rot over time.
  3. Damage to your landscaping and the foundation of your home. One of the main reasons for a gutter system is to move the water from rain storms away from your home. Clogged gutters cause the rain to pour over the edges and drop to the ground near your foundation. This over pouring of rain can wash out landscaping and soak the foundation of the home. Over time this can cause serious foundation problems.
  4. Rusted gutters. If you have steel gutters and they are clogged they will begin to rust. Standing water will eventually cause the gutter to rust through further ruining the protective value of the gutter.

Materials needed for gutter cleaning

  1. A good ladder. You will need a ladder that is able to reach your highest gutters.
  2. A plastic bucket. A five gallon painter’s bucket is a great size to use. You should have a bucket hanger or large S hook to be able to hang the bucket on your ladder,
  3. Waterproof gloves and safety goggles. sometimes gutters can be a little messy so it’s always a good idea to protect your eyes and hands.
  4. Plastic scoop or a trowel. You will want to be able to scoop out any caked on debris in the gutter. You can buy a gutter scoop or you can use a trowel to clean out the refuse.
  5. Tarps. You may want to use tarps under your work area to make cleanup easier after you are done.
  6. Power hose. You are going to want to spray out your gutters to make sure that all of the debris is gone. The more powerful the stream of water, the easier it is to clean. A garden hose will suffice usually.

Cleaning the Gutter System

Verify that you have a really sturdy ladder. Double-check when you put the ladder up to the house that the ground underneath is solid. If the feet are on landscaping rock or wood chips it may slip. It is also a good idea if possible to have an assistant to hold the ladder and be there if you need any other tools.

You may want to put tarps down under the eaves to catch any debris that falls to the ground during the gutter cleaning process. You will probably want to have some waterproof gloves because this job can get a little messy. Hopefully you have that five gallon bucket and S hook so that you can hang the bucket from the ladder as you work. Using a bucket is a lot cleaner then throwing the debris to the ground. If you are using tarps, then you can just throw the debris down onto the tarps. The bucket idea is still a lot cleaner.

The first part of the process of cleaning gutters is to use a gutter scoop, small hand garden trowel, or even a child’s sandbox shovel to scoop out leaves and remains that are in the gutters. Work your way from the opposite end of the downspouts. Make sure you don’t overextend your reach. Move the ladder as you go. Empty your bucket as you go along making sure it doesn’t get too heavy. Try not to throw any of the refuse down the downspout.

After you have clean gutters, take your garden hose and flush the gutters. Confirm that you have a clear flow down the downspouts. If they are clogged, use a plumber snake or a long pole to clear them out. Clean unobstructed downspouts are essential to protect the roof from backup under the shingles.

Clean Gutters

The end result of cleaning gutters is added protection to your home and roofing system. Even if you have never done it before, you will find it is not as difficult as you thought. And now you have clean gutters and are ready for the next storm. If you have to. you can have your gutters cleaned professionally, but it is something you can do yourself.

If you find you need new gutters or you see roof damage while you are cleaning, give us a call. LIFT Construction is here to help.

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