Get Your Mind in the Gutters

You’ve watched the fall leaves drift onto your roof and the winter precipitation form ice dams in your gutters. Now spring is here, and, before the first heavy rains fall, the time has come to clean your gutters of debris.  It’s not a glamorous job, but it’s one of those necessary tasks of spring cleaning to keep your house in good shape and to promote health and safety.

Clean Gutters, Happy Home

Let’s face it, gutter cleaning is an “out of sight, out of mind” task.  It’s easy to ignore the build up of debris that you can’t see, but maintaining unblocked drainage channels is crucial to avoiding repairs and prolonging the life of your roof.  Water left standing in blocked gutters can find its way into your roof and walls, causing damage that can result in costly repairs.  And did you know that routine gutter cleaning can maximize the lifespan of your roof shingles to 20 to 25 years?

Professionals recommend that you clean your gutters twice a year, once in fall and once in spring.  This is not only a matter of protecting your property but can also be a matter of health.  Water that finds its way into your house’s structure can lead to mold and mold can lead to respiratory problems and in some cases serious illness.  Furthermore, water sodden debris build up in your gutters is an ideal breeding ground for mold, which gives water that does seep into your home a head start on mold development.

Mold is not the only thing that finds a home in clogged gutters. Rotted leaf debris attracts ants, wasps, mice, squirrels, and other pests that can ruin a spring outing or find their ways into the roof and wall spaces of your home.

That Good, Clean Feeling

Cleaning your gutters can be an easy DIY job, or, depending on factors such as your health or the height of your roof, you might consider hiring a professional.  Should you decide to take on the task yourself, be sure you have the right equipment and follow safety procedures.

The most common way to access gutters is to use a ladder.  Be sure to set your ladder up on solid, even ground, to avoid standing on the top three rungs, and to avoid reaching out to the side beyond the rails of the ladder (there are ladders with adjustable legs for working on uneven ground).  If you are working on second story gutters, you will need an extension ladder, or an even safer alternative is to use scaffolding.  You can purchase affordable scaffolding that offers convenience features, such as wheels for easy movement when working on level ground or screw jacks for stabilizing on uneven surfaces.  Scaffolding also provides the safety of increased stability, better footing, and safety railings.

Whatever you use, be sure to have buckets that hook on into which you can drop debris and also to act as tool storage receptacles (you don’t want things falling on anyone below), a hose or pressure washer, gloves, a trowel or other scooping device, and supplies for repairing any leaks you find.

Begin cleaning by removing any visible debris.  Wearing gloves is a good idea, not only because sometimes protruding screws and nails are hidden in debris, but also because you might uncover biting or stinging insects in the process.  Better yet, scoop out as much as you can with a trowel or similar device.  Once you’ve removed major debris, flush out silt and mud with a hose or pressure washer.  The next step is to flush out your downspouts and note whether they drain properly.  If you notice slow drainage, you can try blasting out clogs with a pressure washer or in difficult cases, using a plumber’s auger to break up blockage.

Make Your Gutters New Again

The simple process of cleaning your gutters will provide you assurance that you’re doing everything you can to keep your home in top shape.  And while you’re out enjoying the sun, why not think about a few other maintenance tips that will make your home the envy of the block, such as cleaning off outside door mats; power washing mold and mildew from your siding and sidewalks; sweeping, scrubbing, and resealing decks (and fences); cleaning outside light fixtures and replacing bulbs; and touching up exterior paint.  Just that bit of maintenance can make your home feel like new.

Megan Glenn
Megan Glenn

I’m a freelance writer with extensive expertise in a plethora of subjects, including: home decor, business, lifestyle, and more. I’ve been writing professionally for over a decade, and have had the pleasure of working with incredible publishers over the years, including Scaffold Store.

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