Cleaning your gutters is one of the most important maintenance tasks you can do for your home. Not only do gutters protect your home’s landscaping and siding, they also prevent damage to your home’s foundation. When your gutters become clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris, water can start creeping under the roof and even into the foundation. Needless to say, your gutters can cause major damage if they go uncleaned, so it’s best to routinely clean them.
How to Clean Your Gutters
1. Get Prepared with A Sturdy Ladder and Plastic Tarp
Before you go up to clean your gutters, make sure you have a sturdy, extendable ladder. Place the ladder on a flat, solid surface, and stay away from any rocks or uneven landscaping. Consider asking a friend to stand out there with you, for extra safety and to help you out if you drop anything.
You should also lay a plastic tarp down on your lawn or underneath your workspace. This ensures no gunk makes it onto your lawn or landscaping.
2. What to Wear
Cleaning your gutters can get messy. Wearing a long-sleeved shirt, work pants and rubber gloves is the best way to keep yourself as clean as possible during the gutter cleaning process.
3. Clean Them Out
Use a small, plastic scoop to remove all the gunk and debris from your gutters. You can find gutter scoops at any hardware store, or you can use a child’s sandbox shovel or old plastic kitchen spatula. As long as its plastic, it won’t damage your gutters.
4. The Final Step
Once the gunk is cleared out of your gutters, use a garden hose to flush the gutters and downspouts. This will show you if you have any leaks that you need to deal with.
How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?
You should be cleaning your gutters at least once a year. If you have overhanging trees, bump that up to twice a year. You should also clean clogged gutters after a big storm. Clogs often occur where the downspouts meet the gutter system, so make sure to check these areas closely.
How to Maintain Your Gutters
Check on your gutters in the fall and spring, and of course, after any big storm. You may not have to do a full on clean, but perhaps you’ll need to loosen dirt that has blown into the gutters and scrub them with a stiff brush. Flushing your gutters with a garden hose will clear any debris that has become stuck in the eavestroughs and downspouts.
You should also be checking your gutters for rust, peeling paint, flaking and leaks. They should be attached tightly against the fascia boards, and you should check the fascia boards themselves for damage or rot.