Gutter Cleaning for Beginners
In a previous blog, we mentioned gutter cleaning as an essential part of any spring house cleaning checklist. We received a number of questions about this topic and wanted to answer all of them for you! After reading this, you’ll know most everything you need to about gutter cleaning and maintenance. Then, you can decide whether this task is a DIY project you want to take on yourself or project you’d prefer to hire someone else to do.
The importance of gutter cleaning cannot be understated. Gutters only work when they are free of debris and organic matter. If this is not removed, there is a risk of the gutters overflowing and consequently – water pouring off your roof into the ground below. Water can also seep into the eaves of your home causing damage that could otherwise be avoided. To avoid these issues, it is a good habit to clean gutters at least once a year – twice to be on the safe side.
The first thing to take into account when doing your own gutter cleaning is safety. Roofs can be dangerous so take precautions to prevent slips and falls, especially from taller roofs. Be sure to use a sturdy ladder when climbing to the level of your gutters. Some people prefer to stay on the ladder when pulling out the debris and organic matter in gutters, others like to get on the roof directly to clean them out. Either way, being aware of your surroundings, footing and balance are all important to avoid falls. Appropriate apparel, including shoes with a heavy tread and wearing lightweight breathable fabrics can make gutter cleaning a safer and more pleasant experience.
Once you’ve prepared for the cleaning it’s time to dive in. Most of what you will find when doing your annual gutter cleaning is decomposing leaves, branches and other organic matter – all great for compost bins! Instead of throwing on the grass to fertilize your lawn, consider raking as much as you can into a compost pile or simply an area of yard where you like to put yard waste. You won’t believe what great fertilizer it will make next spring.
While you’re on the ladder gutter cleaning, be sure to pay close attention to the downspouts as organic material can flow down and get stuck. Once you have determined these are clean, make sure you also have a splash block at the bottoms of your downspouts to keep the water from eroding the ground at the base and potentially causing water problems in your home’s foundation.
Once you have emptied the gutters, the gutter cleaning can truly begin. Power washers are a perfect way to remove dirt and other materials from your gutters and can be rented at a resonable price from your local hardware store. Anyone who’s used a power washer once knows how fun it can actually be – you’ll find yourself looking for all sorts of outdoor projects that could use a deep clean after winter! When gutter cleaning with a power washer, be careful not to apply too much pressure straight onto the gutters, but rather spray at an angle. If you notice the gutters appear to be unsturdy, consider purchasing new spikes to reattach your gutters to the rafters inside. Over time, these can tend to work themselves out but are easy to replace.
Caulking cracks and leaks can also help prevent rotting in the eaves and other damage to your home or gutters. Scrape out old caulk with a chisel, allow the space to dry, then apply new bead silicone. Finally, check downspouts to ensure they are still riveted to the house. If not, reattach them with a rivet gun which can be purchased affordably at your local hardware store as well.
Gutter cleaning isn’t the most glamorous yard work, but it is incredibly important. By following the suggestions we have provided above, you can be assured your gutters will do their job during the next rainstorm. Not super excited to get up on your roof, or even stand on a ladder? Most professional landscaping crews offer gutter cleaning services.
Learn more about spring home upkeep in our previous blogs on exterior improvements and spring lawn care. Considering a move in the near future? These improvements can not only boost curb appeal but also property value. Home inspectors, like those at Inspect It 1st, examine not only a home’s interior but the exterior as well and assess for any hazards or other modifications that may need to be made. Download our Top 5 Exterior Home Maintenance Tips PDF to learn more. Or, for a full list of inspection services, click here.