Cleaning and maintaining gutters is one of those jobs that no one seems to like and everyone wants to postpone. We all know we should clean and maintain our gutters, but maybe not why or specifically how. Knowing the damages that can occur if gutters are left cluttered and in disrepair just may prompt you to tackle that weekend to-do sooner rather than later and learning some new tips may help you get it done faster than before.
Cleaning and Maintaining Gutters, the Why:
Issue #1: Leaky Roof
The purpose of your gutters and downspout is to divert rain and snow off your roof and back down to the ground. If they are full of leaves, twigs and other debris, however, the water or ice gets backed up and instead sits on the roof. This can eventually lead to the shingles and under layers rotting which could cost you a lot of money down the road.
Issue #2: Pests
A blocked gutter can also become a home for unwelcome pests. Bees, carpenter ants and mosquitoes will often nest in messy gutters and downspouts. Another issue is that mold can grow where leaves and needles are rotting. All of these problems can eventually make their way into your home costing your time and money to get rid of them.
Issue #3: Walls and Foundation
If your gutters are broken and leaking or are so full they are overflowing, the water dripping down the side of your house rather than the downspout can eat away at your walls and foundation or cause the soil to wash away. Also, if there is too much debris, the gutters can pull away from the house allowing water to damage the trim and siding.
Cleaning and Maintaining Gutters, the How:
The recommendation is to clean your gutters about every four months, especially in the spring and autumn when seeds and leaves are falling from the trees. Investing in gutter covers or screens can cut down on the cleaning time meaning you only need to get up there every one to three years according to experts.
The most important tip for cleaning your gutters is “safety first.” No one wants what should be a simple weekend job to end up with a trip to the doctor, so make sure your ladder is in good shape and you place it on a solid, level spot in the yard or driveway. If the ground is too soft, place some wood under the ladder legs for stability. Rest the ladder against the house, not the gutters so that they don’t break and always make sure there is someone with you in case of problems.
You can either clean them by hand with gloves and a trash bag, or invest in special made tongs or shop vacuum gutter nozzles. After cleaning the mess, rinse the gutter out with a high-pressure hose and scrub it.
When the gutters are clean, perform a maintenance check by noticing and marking any leaks or holes you see when spraying it with the hose. Also notices where the gutters attach to the roof and look for any damage to the shingles. If you find any leaks or damaged shingles give Roof Advance a call to provide you with a free estimate to repair the damage.