No matter where you live, if your home has rain gutters, they need regular maintenance. While many people understandably hire a professional to do this kind of work, those who are handy may want to give a try for themselves. Before attempting this kind of work, however, be sure to understand how to do the job correctly and safely.
Be sure to maintain a consistent schedule for gutter maintenance. The frequency depends on a few factors, including the climate where you live, the size and material of the gutters, as well as what kind of foliage is in your area. The absolute minimum recommended frequency is twice a year, however four times a year may be necessary.
Before you go up to the roof, make sure you have everything you need. And while you’re up there, make sure you do everything that needs to be done. Consider making a checklist of everything you need before going up the ladder, as well as a checklist of everything you need to do before going back down that ladder. The more you have to climb, the more work you make for yourself and the more you risk falling.
Before Going Up
Make sure you have what you need. This includes some thick, durable gloves that are flexible enough to work in. Not only is gutter maintenance dirty work, there can also be sharp metal up on the roof. You don’t want to make an unnecessary trip down the ladder to care for an injured hand. A tough, long-sleeved shirt is also recommended for protection, as well as boots or shoes that cover all your feet. Also, make sure you don’t have any loose clothing that can get caught on something.
Putting a plastic tarp on the ground before going up the ladder gives you a place to put all the debris you clean out of the gutters. This way, once you’re finished, you can easily dispose of the debris instead of cleaning it up again. Avoid bagging the debris while on the roof or on the ladder, as this can be dangerous.
What To Do When You’re Up There
Once you’re climbed up the ladder and you’re on the roof, you’ll need to check the gutters for any signs of damage. As you’re moving around, be careful not to damage the roof. Gutter damage includes any part where the gutter might be warped, bent, or broken. Look for any gaps between the gutters and where they’re attached, as these may need repair. The fascia wood behind the gutters may also be damaged.
You’ll need to remove any debris that could be obstructing the gutters. Make sure not to use your hands—use a narrow scoop, such as a garden trowel, instead. This makes the job easier, and also helps remove water.
Once you’ve done your best to remove any obstructing debris from the gutters, use a garden hose to completely flush them out. Watch the downspouts, and make sure the system is completely flushed and that clear water is coming out of the downspouts.
Gutter maintenance is not a small or easy job. It can also be dangerous, as many unintentional home deaths involve falling. Walking on a roof can be disorienting, and accidents happen all too easily. If you have any uncertainties about doing the maintenance yourself, you may consider contacting a reputable professional in your area.