To Clean or Not to Clean…

As homeowners, we know it takes a lot of work to keep our homes looking nice. We spend hours maintaining our homes, both inside and out, to keep up tidiness and functionality. One chore that often falls to the wayside is cleaning out gutters because getting up on a ladder isn’t everyone’s favorite activity. Not to mention it’s not the cleanest job. Neglecting gutters, however, can lead to some very undesirable and costly consequences for our homes.

Gutter systems are designed to move water off of the roof and away from your home. Cleaning your gutters twice a year prevents a buildup of debris and will significantly reduce the potential for water overflows that can erode the foundation of a home. Water back-up in gutters can cause ice dams in freezing temperatures that may force water into the house. Pests may also be attracted to standing water and damp or decaying debris.

Falling gutters are another hazard of overfull and clogged gutters and downspouts. Damage caused by falling gutters is not limited to the cost of the gutters alone. Fascia, siding, windows and anything in their path can be damaged or destroyed.

You can hire a handyman to clean your gutters, but if you choose to do the task yourself, here is a step-by-step guide:

Gather tools:  You will need a ladder, bungee cords or ladder hooks, rubber gloves, a bucket and a tool for removing debris. There are lots of options such as a trowel, tongs, or anything you find convenient for scooping leaves and twigs.  Laying a tarp on the ground may be preferable to a bucket if you want to drop debris directly to the ground.  A dust mask and safety goggles are also recommended for protection.

Secure the ladder:  Make sure the ladder is leaning against a flat surface and that it cannot slip backwards on the ground. Tie off the top of the ladder with bungee cords or secure with ladder hooks to prevent movement. Use a tool belt or hoist in order to keep your hands free while climbing. Do not step higher than the fourth rung from the top or the rung above the gutter line if you are getting onto the roof. Visit our DIY video page and watch the Ladder Safety 101 video for instructions on how to safety utilize and tie-off a ladder.

Remove debris:  Use your tools to clear any leaves, twigs and sediment from the gutters. Be careful not to lean too far as this can throw you off balance. Instead continue to move the ladder and tarp to a comfortable distance for safety. Be sure to remove all material to prevent clogs, especially around the downspouts.

Rinse:  Use a hose with a high-pressure nozzle to remove any remaining debris, and to clear out downspouts. An auger may be required if a downspout seems to be clogged. This is also a good time to check for leaks.

Gutter maintenance: Be sure to clean your gutters in the spring or summer and again in the fall. Gutter screens and guards are an option to significantly reduce the amount of debris in gutters and will need less maintenance.  If you find that after completely cleaning your gutters that you still have overflow, larger gutters may be needed.

If your gutters are in need of repair or replacement, Ferguson Roofing can help! We also offer multiple options for replacement and gutter protection such as EZ Lock gutter guards and Leaf Relief, which has a no clog guarantee for 10 years. Check our website here for more information and to see which option is right for your home or to contact us for a gutter inspection.