When the leaves change color, it’s a bittersweet time. While it’s beautiful to watch nature’s paintbrush turning summer’s greenery into a blitz of color, it’s also a signal that winter is coming, and the leaves that look so beautiful on the trees start looking downright sad in your home’s gutters.
Cleaning your gutters isn’t the most fun task, but any responsible homeowner will tell you it’s just part of the necessary maintenance your home requires. Having clear gutters is so important for the life and function of your gutters themselves, not to mention your roof, foundation, and lawn or landscaping! And while it can be a tedious task, it doesn’t have to be a tough one. In fact, it’s just a few steps many homeowners can complete on their own in an afternoon!
1. Gather your supplies.
You’ll need a sturdy ladder, a scoop (plastic or silicone is best, so you don’t scuff or scratch your gutters), a bag (or several), gloves (you’re going to get MESSY, and gutter edges can be sharp), and a hose.
Pro tip 1: Use several plastic grocery sacks, tied loosely on your ladder at arm’s level or hung from the ladder on a shower curtain hook. When you move your ladder, bring down the grocery sack. It’s less cleanup when you’re done, without getting so heavy as to compromise the sturdiness of your ladder.
Pro tip 2: Raid your kids’ toy box for a scoop – a plastic sand shovel works beautifully! If you’re short on kids (or kids’ toys), head to the kitchen next – a silicone spatula works phenomenally well too. Just make sure you scrub the heck out of it (or keep it in the garage for future household tasks) when you’re done.
2. Scoop away!
Carefully clean out the debris from the gutters, moving your ladder as needed. Don’t try to reach too far; it’s dangerous to lean out a few extra inches to avoid having to make another trip up and down the ladder.
Pro tip 1: Before starting the actual job of cleaning out the gutters, give it all a once-over to check for animals, bug infestations, etc., so you can have the supplies you need before getting started. The last thing you want is to be surprised by a few angry hornets with no spray!
Pro tip 2: A pair of grill tongs can help pry out little seedlings that might have started to take root in your gutters. Who needs fancy equipment when you’re the grill master?
3. Flush it out.
When you’re done getting the debris out of your gutters, flush them out with your garden hose, running water toward the downspout. Take note if there are any leaks, particularly at the corners, or miters, and if the downspouts back up at all.
Pro tip: A plumbing drain snake can help dislodge a barrier in your downspouts. Those are important to keep clear, or the water in your gutters has nowhere to go!
If cleaning your gutters is a job you just don’t want to do anymore, you do have a couple options:
- Hire a gutter cleaning service. While White Castle Roofing doesn’t perform this service, there are many excellent local companies who do.
- Purchase a gutter cleaning robot. If you haven’t forgotten your old video game skills, this might be the option for you! For a few hundred dollars, you can buy a remote-controlled robot that fits inside your gutters and paddles away the debris. This isn’t necessarily a heavy-duty solution, but if you’re regular on cleaning your gutters, this can make the job a little easier, and maybe a little fun to boot.
- Install gutter guards. These are best installed by a professional (like White Castle Roofing!) and fit as a helmet or screen over your gutters to allow in water but filter out debris. They’re a more expensive option, but since time is the new currency, saving yourself the time and effort it takes to regularly clean your gutters can make gutter guards the most economical, so you can spend that time with your family, or doing things more fun than digging decomposing leaves out of your gutters. If this is the option you want, click on over to request a free estimate today!