Gutter cleaning: How to — and how often

Gutter cleaning: How to — and how often

Let's be honest: No one looks forward to gutter cleaning. But it's a necessary job, and one that homeowners shouldn't take lightly. Ignoring the gutters can lead to a host of costly problems. Instead of waiting for the worst, put gutter cleaning on your seasonal maintenance checklist now.

Clean gutters ensure that water will drain properly through the gutters and the downspout — instead of pouring out its sides and getting on the home's siding and landscaping. Improper drainage leads to home damage like rotting, mold growth, rusting and ice dams. Most often, leaves and debris clog gutters, but animals also nest in them and leave droppings behind that block drainage.


It makes sense, then, that keeping your gutters clean will prolong your home's life span. But how often should you clean the gutters? The easy answer — whenever they're dirty. The practical answer — two times a year, in the fall and spring. Clean gutters in early spring ensures that winter debris doesn't linger, creating blockages when spring rains arrive. Cleaning the gutters in early fall makes the job easier, since the leaves will generally be dry, not wet.

Getting down to brass tacks

Gutter cleaning will take awhile, so carve out some time when you can get out the necessary supplies and clean the gutters on all sides of the home.

You'll need

  • A ladder
  • Gloves
  • A small shovel
  • A hose
  • A leaf blower
  • A few garbage bags

Start on the end of one side of the home, and work your way around. Lean the ladder against the home — not against the gutter, which can break. Climb the ladder and scoop out the debris that you can reach, using either your hands or a small shovel. As you remove the debris, dispose of it in the garbage bag, which you can tie around your belt.

Disposal as you go helps speed up the cleaning process after the gutters are clean, and you won't have to work your way around the home picking up debris. Just be careful that the bag doesn't become too full. Every time or two that you move the ladder, empty the debris into a larger bag that stays on the ground. If you encounter hard-to-remove debris, spray it with the garden hose. If the debris remains, go back with the shovel or your hand to remove it.

Alternatively, you can use a leaf blower instead of scooping by hand. However, this approach increases the hazards of the job. High on a ladder, it can be challenging to maintain your grip on the blower — and the ladder.

For more home maintenance tips from the friendly roofing professionals serving greater Atlanta, contact Findlay Roofing today! We're happy to offer advice about gutter cleaning and installation, and roof replacements and repairs.

Image source: Flickr

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