Cleaning your gutters is one of the most important projects on the to-do list yet it’s too often overlooked.
If you do it a couple of times a year, in the fall and spring, cleaning gutters is easy.It can become back breaking work and cost you thousands of dollars worth of trouble down the road.
The problem with clogged gutters is more than just those annoying waterfalls that pour off the roof on rainy days, or the pretty icicles that hang around in the winter. This excess water wreaks havoc on the integrity of your home’s structure.
The first and most obvious issue with gutters filled to the brim with leaves, twigs, and other debris is simply a weight problem. When that debris gets wet it absorbs the rain water like a sponge and becomes extremely heavy.
Overflowing water from the gutters can also damage the paint and siding on a home, but unsightly water marks down the side of the house pale in comparison with what happens if the water get inside of a wall. Wet wood rots and loses its integrity, and this can go unseen behind the siding until it is too late.
Ice-damming is another major issue with clogged gutters. Blocked water can freeze when it backs up in the gutters, pushing up against the roof structure and working its way under the shingles destroying the wood, causing even more leaks.
You’ll need; a ladder, gloves, a container to gather the debris such as a bag or bucket, a garden trowel or small hand rake, and the hose.
Begin by setting the ladder an arms length away from a corner downspout, and tuck a few garbage bags in your back pocket so you can easily pull them out. Some people prefer to use a bucket and bucket hanger for the ladder, but it is much easier to use those little plastic shopping bags. A full bucket or big garbage bag can get pretty heavy and make the job tougher than a high wire act.
Move the ladder and repeat. Never reach further than an arms length away from the ladder and be sure to get the dirt on the bottom of the gutter. A majority of it is from the asphalt shingles that run off into the gutter. This stuff gets very heavy when wet so don’t leave it in there.
If you are afraid of heights or worry about dealing with the bags in such a precarious situation, simply grab handfuls from the gutters and drop it onto a clear spot on the ground. This is a very messy method, but you can rake up the debris later, safely and easily. Some guys drop the material down onto a tarp and shake it into a garbage can later.
Once you clean an entire length, grab the hose and spray down the gutter and into the down spouts to get all the small pieces you missed. If there are clogs that the hose can’t clear, you can use a plumbers snake to clear them out. This is also a good point to see if your gutters leak at any corners or joining pieces. If they do, you can purchase a silicone sealant and very easily make the fix.
If you are ambitious, you can scrub down the outside of the gutters or touch up any spots with paint to keep your house looking its best.
Still not sure on doing this yourself? Consider using a roofing or siding contractor, or even handy man.Pushing this chore to the bottom of the to-do list could end up being a very costly mistake.