When it comes to home maintenance, regular gutter cleaning is too often overlooked. Whether it’s because of the hassle or risk of getting up on the roof, the physical strain of the labour, or simply because it’s dirty work, gutter cleaning is one of those household jobs that tends to be ignored. And that’s not a good thing.
As debris builds up in gutters it can create a range of problems. Dry leaf matter can increase the fire danger around your home. Debris can clog your gutters and downpipes, which can lead to overflows and water pooling on your roof or in your gutters. This can increase the risk of water damage to your roof and gutters, leaks in your roof and drainage problems around your home. And as any homeowner knows, water damage can be incredibly costly.
Regular gutter cleaning is important preventative maintenance that will increase the life of your roof and guttering and minimise the risk of drainage issues around your home.
How often should I clear out my gutters?
How regularly you clean your gutters depends on how much debris ends up on your roof and the rainfall in your area. If you live in a dry area with few trees around, once a year could be more than enough to keep your gutters clean. However, if you live in a high-rainfall area with a lot of trees overhanging your roof, you should aim for a minimum of twice a year to ensure your gutters are clear.
How to clean gutters
When it comes to gutter cleaning, you don’t really need any specialist equipment. All you really need is:
- Hard-bristle brush
Since you’ll be working on the roof, you want to make sure that you’re working safely. Ensure your ladder is secure before climbing on it. If possible, have someone with you to hold the ladder while you are working from it. Remember, you don’t need to physically get onto your roof to do this job. It’s safer to stay on a stable ladder.
Choose a pair of sturdy gloves. They will keep your hands clean and protect your fingers from any insects or spiders that have made their homes in the debris in your gutter. For instance, black house spiders have been known to nest in gutters. While their bite isn’t deadly, it can be extremely painful.
The bucket is for collecting any debris you gather rather than dropping it on your lawn. It’s best to dispose of gutter debris into a green waste bin. Leaving it around your house can encourage pests to nest around your home.
Finally, you’ll use the hard-bristle brush to get rid of any debris that has stuck to the gutter. While you don’t need your gutters to be sparkling, you should try to remove any mould or organic build-up before it does damage to your guttering. Read Why Regular Gutter Cleaning is Important
Here’s what you need to do.
- Remove debrisWith your gloves on, start scooping up as much debris as you can. Deposit it in the bucket to dispose of later. Gradually work your way along the length of the gutter until there is no more loose debris left.
- Tidy guttersTake your hard-bristled brush and use it to sweep away any leftover debris. You may need to scrub a little to lift debris that has stuck to the metal.
- Check for damageNow there’s no debris left, you can look for any signs of damage to your gutters. Check for holes, rust, poorly secured fixings and major chips or dents. If you spot any, replace that section of gutter as needed. Even the best cleaned gutters will be useless if they’re rusted through.
Make sure to check that the gutters aren’t pulling away from the roof either. This is another way water can pool around your house or get into your roof. If the gutters have come loose, reattach them securely.
Tidying and maintaining your gutters is a straightforward task. If you do it regularly, it shouldn’t take long at all. Don’t forget, as bothersome as it may be to find the time for this chore, it’s a lot better than having to deal with water damage.