The Ultimate Guide to Gutter Cleaning
Gutter cleaning is one of those tasks that no one really wants to do, but is vital to keeping your home in excellent condition. Even if you detest cleaning gutters, it’s part of the necessary upkeep required for house roofing.
Why Gutter Cleaning is So Important
Gutters run along the lower edge of the roof with the purpose of directing rainwater to downspouts that will funnel the rain away from the house. This is important since water that falls near the foundations of the house can cause quite a lot of damage. The liquid may make its way into the basement or spaces below the house, causing seepage and even displacing the foundation.
The excess moisture can cause mould and wood rot, among other issues and may affect your health. It can also cause your home to settle or even destroy the structural integrity of the foundation.
Since all the rain that falls on the roof runs down to the gutters, it’s not surprising that these channels frequently become blocked with leaves and debris that has collected on the roof. If it gets particularly cold in your area, it’s even possible that snow could freeze into the gutter, which may cause excess weight. Too much weight and the gutter will pull away from the roof, allowing water to run straight down the walls to the foundation.
Gutters that detach can also cause issues with the roof and fascia, resulting in damage that will need to be repaired. It’s simplest to remove the weight before it becomes an issue.
Safety Precautions for Gutter Cleaning
It’s important to take care of yourself if you’re doing your own gutter cleaning. Falls from ladders account for all too many injuries and even deaths. You should be certain that your ladder is completely steady and if possible, enlist someone to hold it in place just to be sure. Since the ground can be uneven around the building, it’s important to ensure the ladder is steady before you climb it.
Wear Protective Gear
Work gloves are a must, as you’ll be digging through random debris. There’s no telling what you might find there and it’s best to keep your hands protected. You should also wear long sleeves to ensure your arms are safe from scratches and other potential injuries.
Depending on the height of the gutter, you may need to wear a safety harness. This way, if you do slip and fall, you won’t crash to the ground. It can prevent serious injuries.
Use Ladder Safety
In addition to ensuring the ladder is properly positioned, you should practise safe ladder scaling. Wear footwear with grips and climb the ladder with care. You should always have three points of contact with the ladder, such as both feet and one hand or vice versa.
It’s also essential that you avoid moving the ladder while you’re still on it.
Wear Your Tools
Any tools you may need should be worn in a tool belt or similar. It’s never a good idea to lay your tools on top of the ladder or on one of the steps. This can cause you to slip and it’s also inconvenient to move up and down in order to get a tool.
Assess Any Risks
Before you begin, look around to ensure there are no dangers nearby. For example, if there are electrical cables close to the gutters, you need to stay far from them. Assessing the dangers before you begin will help you determine where you need to be extra careful. If it’s too dangerous, you should consider calling in professionals to handle the gutter cleaning.
Steps to Roof and Gutter Cleaning
Ready to start cleaning the gutters? The type of roof you have will affect how you start because you should always clear the roof before you start in on the gutters. There’s little reason to empty the gutters, only to have the debris on the roof fill them up again. Start by hosing down the roof.
This is a good time to examine your roof for any issues. Check that there are no broken tiles, worn down or missing shingles, etc. If you have a flat roof, repair may be needed to ensure there are no leaks. You can take the time to look for any potential issues now.
Since gutter cleaning should be done twice a year, your roof should be inspected every six months for problems. Frequent checks mean you will catch problems before they become serious issues.
Once the roof has been cleared, you can begin the gutter cleaning.
The first step is to pull out all the heavy debris that has built up in the gutter over the past six months. You can pull this out with your hands (wear heavy-duty gloves) and drop everything into a bucket. You should move around the house, removing the debris in each area, but be careful not to overreach, which could cause you to fall from the ladder.
While you don’t have to get out every last bit of dead leaves and twigs, you should aim to remove the vast majority. The rest can be washed away with water.
Eliminate Clogged Downspouts
Are your downspouts blocked? This commonly occurs when the leaves and twigs get caught and build up a clog. There are a few ways you can handle this problem.
First, try simply spraying water down the downspout. If that doesn’t work, a power washer may be strong enough. It can break up the debris in the clog and wash it down.
Finally, if none of the other options work, consider using a long pole or a plumber’s snake to break through the clog and free up the downspout.
Once you have broken the clog, rinse the downspout thoroughly with water to ensure all the debris has been washed away.
Power Clean the Gutters
You can use a power washer to really clear out the gutters, once you have removed the majority of the leaves and other debris. This will leave the gutter sparkling clean and helps drive any soil or mud out of the gutters and down the downspouts. A power washer can also help with removing moss and debris from your roof when used correctly, just be careful not to damage the roof while working on it.
Prevent Future Clogs
You may wish to install a mesh gutter guard over the gutters to help prevent them from filling rapidly with leaves and other items. The mesh allows water to filter through but prevents the debris from causing blockages. A little research will help you determine what is the best choice for your home.
Should You Outsource Roof and Gutter Cleaning?
Roofing contractors can handle roof and gutter cleaning for you if you prefer not to deal with it on your own. Cleaning your gutters twice a year is a big task and one that you may find exhausting and annoying. Fortunately, there are alternatives.
You should consider outsourcing this task if you are shaky on the ladder or experience dizziness. If you deal with anything that makes you more likely to fall, then you should not get on the ladder at all. Remember that ladder falls can result in serious injury and death, so it’s best to let someone else do the task if you aren’t steady enough for it.
If you simply don’t have the time, then it’s best to outsource, as well. The longer you leave the gutters without cleaning them, the more likely they are to overflow from blockages. This can leave you with torn gutters, roof damage, and foundation leaks. To avoid these problems, you really do need to clean the gutters a couple of times a year, so if you don’t have the time, hire roofing contractors to manage it.
It's also helpful to have roofing contractors do the roof inspection, as they know exactly what to look for. As they clear the roof of moss and debris, they’ll rapidly note any issues that could cause further problems in the future. They can let you know and these problems can be rapidly repaired, without the need for large parts of the roof to be replaced.
All of these are great reasons to have someone else handle the gutter cleaning for you. However, you may prefer to save money and spend your time doing the job yourself. If so, you just need to be careful and make sure you have access to a power washer so you can really get those gutters clean, ensuring they’ll last until the next scheduled cleaning.
Are you looking for someone to help with your gutter cleaning? At Roof and Build Group, we offer roof and gutter cleaning services so you don’t have to worry about getting up on that ladder. Contact us now to book your appointment.