DIY Guide to Cleaning Your Rain Gutters

Cleaning Your Rain Gutters

is a maintenance chore you can do. It’s a dirty job, and moving the ladder a lot makes it time consuming, you’re likely to get wet when flushing the gutters, and it’s not something you can actually see to appreciate unless your on the roof, so no one is likely to notice your hard work. Not doing it regularly, though, can lead to issues and cause damage to your home. When your rain gutters get too full, water spilling over will damage the soffit, fascia and siding. And further more water not properly channeled away from your homes gardens and foundation will cause even more substantial damage such as a cracked and leaking foundation it can completely destroy your flowers bushes as well as your porch and deck.


When to Clean Your Gutters

Twice a year, spring and fall, is the recommended times for cleaning your rain gutters. It is also recommended after a big storm, or even just a couple months of wind and rain, I’m up there cleaning them out, even if it’s just to remove a downspout clog. And in the fall if you have a lot of trees you may even want to clean your gutters a couple times.

Rain Gutters Should Be Cleaned At Least Twice a Year Spring and Fall

Safety First

Don’t attempt to clean your gutters from the roof. You’d be turning this chore into a needlessly dangerous proposition. A ladder is going to be your best bet. Make sure you’re following best practices for ladder safety; cleaning out gutters is a simple task but it can quickly go awry if you aren’t paying attention. Perhaps most pertinent for this particular chore: don’t reach out further than is safe to do. It’s easy to think you can lean out as far as your body will take you, since it means moving the ladder less, but remember, keep your waist between the rails. Don’t contort yourself trying to get an extra few inches; the risk isn’t worth it. Since you’re moving the ladder a lot, on potentially unsteady lawns and gardens, also be sure you have stable and even footing; get a spotter if needed.

When Possible Clean Gutters While Dry

It’s much easier to wait until your gutters are dry to clean them out. Otherwise they’re quite disgusting, which makes them harder to clean and may want to have an extra set of gloves if you are left with no choice. It’s also not a bad idea to check your gutters prior to a big storm(to avoid having them spilling over). I’ve seen rainwater pour over the gutters and run down the soffit fascia and siding as well as flood the garden and onto peoples heads as they attempt to leave or enter their home, which I probably could have prevented by doing a quick inspection and simple clearing of the rain gutters of even just the spots near the downspouts. Better to do this chore too much and keep your foundation safe than not enough.

Use a Tarp

For collecting the debris (rather than leaving it scattered about your property), you can lay out a tarp underneath your gutters, and just move it along with you when you move the ladder. If using an a-frame ladder, it’s also easy to use a bucket with a handle, which can be attached to one of the built-in hooks on the top of most ladders.If you’re using an extension ladder, it’s a good idea to get what’s called standoff stabilizers. These will prevent the ladder from lying on the gutters themselves, which can cause damage.

Rain Gutter Replacement, Repair and Cleaning

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Get That Gunk Out!

Using a small garden trowel, or just your hands with a pair good gloves, scoop out the leaves and gunk, starting at the downspout. In my experience, it may be disgusting however your hands do a much better job. They’re just all around more maneuverable; getting downspout clogs loosened is far easier with hands than a trowel.  If you insist on using the trowel at least use your hands to get the hard to clean areas, It’s better to get the job done correctly than to have to worry about it getting clogged again because of what was left behind in your gutters because the trowel was unable to get into those tight spaces.

Run a Garden Hose in Your Gutters

When you’ve cleaned as much as you safely can in one area, move the ladder on down and repeat the process until your entire gutter system has been cleared of all debris and gunk. Once you’ve got all that you can with your hands, use a hose to flush the finer debris, starting at the end opposite the downspout. Let it run for a minute, and ensure that water is coming cleanly through the spout. If it’s just trickling, you know you still have a clog. In that case, run the hose at high pressure right into the downspout to clear it.

Rain Gutter Guards

If you’re not the home handyman type, there are several options that can eliminate this chore altogether. Gutter covers can be installed and are fastened to the top gutters themselves and prevent leaves and other gunk from getting inside; they’re rather expensive though. Gutter covers or gutter guards act as a type netting over the gutters. Yet another inexpensive gutter guard option are the snap-in plastic covers I don’t recommend this option however they are affordable I’m not sure how long these will last, and you’ll have to check to see if your rain gutters are compatible before buying them.

Rain Gutter Guards

Gutter Caps

No body likes climbing up on the roof to clean gutters not only is it a messy job it can also be dangerous and calling a professional costs money. Gutter guards keeps your gutters clean year round.

Why Maintain Your Gutters

Rain gutters and downspouts become clogged when leaves and debris fall onto the roof and accumulate in the gutters. When rainfall occurs, debris-filled gutters cause downspouts to clog and gutters to overflow.

  • Snow & ice damage
  • Clogged, overflowing gutters
  • Mold in attic & Basement
  • Ceiling stains & damage
  • Water damage to fascia & soffit