For many, gutter cleaning is an unpleasant reality of Spring and Fall. It’s difficult to enjoy the blooming of that maple on your property when you know an armada of maple helicopters is about to attack your home with the ferocity of a snowstorm. Autumn leaves are no longer a colorful kaleidoscope of broken down chlorophyll, but are instead a terrifying omen of the chore to come. Curse the previous homeowner and all the oak trees they planted!
You know you can’t put gutter cleaning off. Without a functional gutter system drawing water away from your home, you compromise the structural integrity of your house. It’s strange to think something so minor can have such great an impact, but think about this: water flows along the path of least resistance. If that’s not directly over the gutter itself, it’s back against your home and into the walls of your house. Wood then rots, mold grows, foundations crack, and the repair costs mount.
If you’d rather have people of varying degrees of ability grab the slop for a fee, gutter cleaning services do exist. Be warned: it’s not uncommon to be quoted at one price and pay another. If you have a two-story home, you can easily pay $200 for a cleaning. Perform this twice a year for a few years, and the cost adds up.
Gutter Cleaning 101
Gutter Cleaning Supply List
So let’s say you pass up the opportunity to install the most effective, reliable, and affordable gutter guard on the market and instead you elect to do the chore yourself. Welcome aboard. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A ladder. Possibly an extension ladder if your home is two stories. Don’t skimp here: your life is going to depend on this ladder. This article offers an exhaustive guide on purchasing a ladder and essential ladder safety.
- A ladder standoff. Gutters are fragile things, and they do not take to being squashed by a ladder supporting your full bodyweight (no matter how thin you are). A ladder standoff will allow you to displace the weight onto the roof, instead of unnecessarily straining the gutter.
- Thick gloves. These will protect you from scrapes and cuts, as well as keep you one degree removed from that foul smelling gutter goop.
- A receptacle for debris. Some people say garbage bags, though these tend to get heavy as they fill with soggy detritus. Some people suggest small grocery bags for this reason. Keep a few in your back pocket, tie them off and drop them to the ground when you’re done. A bucket that s-clips onto a ladder will also do the job.
- A tarp. As an alternative to the receptacle method, some cleaners elect to dump the gutter goop on the ground below. Dumping it onto a tarp makes the mess easier to shake into a garbage bin when all is said and done.
- A hose.
- Safety goggles.
- Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty (and most likely wet).
Gutter Cleaning Instructions
Now that you’ve gathered the necessary supplies, let’s clean a gutter:
- Firmly secure your ladder. Make sure it’s placed on a level surface, and make full use of your ladder standoff so you don’t do unneeded damaged to the gutter. Attach your bucket to your ladder using an s-hook or tie your bag off.
- Clear your roof of debris. This might be a good chance to use the hose; wash the roof mess right into the gutters for easy (err… less hard) cleaning.
- Put on your gloves and prepare to get dirty. Start grabbing debris to the downspout. Starting far from a downspout runs the risk of forcing debris down into the downspout. No need to do more unclogging than you absolutely have to! Depending on your preference you may use a trowel, a scoop, or your hands and drop it into a bucket, a bag, or the ground. Be mindful of sharp objects like roofing nails that could have found their way into your gutters.
- Once the gutter is largely cleaned, don your safety goggles, put your hose on its most powerful setting, and, starting at the far end of the gutter, spray the debris towards the downspout. Remember: you don’t want to clog the downspout! If any large pieces of debris remain, now’s the time to grab them.
- Despite your careful efforts, you may have clogged the downspout. Test how freely water flows through the downspout by spraying some water down it with the hose. If you find your downspout clogged, you should attack that clog from both sides with your hose! If you’re still finding the downspout clogged, you may need to enlist the aid of a plumber’s snake.\
And there you have it! A comprehensive guide to gutter cleaning from your friends at MGP Manufacturing. Whether you choose to clean your gutters yourself, hire a hand to help out, or invest in the life-long solution Klean Gutter, you’re taking the necessary steps to protect your house for years to come.