Gutters are pretty nifty fixtures. They protect your home’s foundation from all of Maryland’s rain and snow, so they deserve a good cleaning every now and then.
If you want to find a professional to get the job done for you, don’t hesitate to give them a call. However, if you want to save some money for the upcoming holiday shopping season, this do-it-yourself chore can be done quickly and efficiently with IKO Community Management’s guide to cleaning your gutters:
- Get prepared. Wear an old long-sleeve shirt and sturdy gardening gloves. We recommend wearing a dust mask and safety goggles for maximum protection. Bring a large trash bag or plastic tarp, garden trowel or gutter scoop and a hose or auger for the debris-removing process. Lastly, get a hard bristle sponge and a high-pressure hose nozzle for the cleaning process.
Tip: To save money on buying specialty tools, use a child’s sand shovel instead of a garden trowel or gutter scoop. All of them are made for the same job!
- Set up an extendable ladder, and make sure it is stabilized with a stand-off adder horn or a trustworthy friend before you begin climbing. Once you have checked that the ladder is stable, you can begin climbing. You’ll be cleaning for a long period of time, so safety first.
- Using your gloved hands and the garden trowel, scoop or shovel, place the debris and sediment into the garbage bag. If you prefer to dispose of the mess directly on your lawn, put the plastic tarp down before you climb up the ladder. The natural debris could include leaves, small branches and dirt as well as metal objects like roofing nails, so be cautious when picking items up.
Tip: Pay particular attention to the gutter’s downspout. This is where the most debris will be backed up after a large rainstorm or a heavy wind.
- Carefully climb down the ladder then move it (and the plastic tarp, if you’re using one) down about a foot as you finish removing debris from that part of the gutter. Be cautious when setting up the stabilizer and ladder each time, and never reach out further than your natural position. Safety is always first.
- Tie and place the full trash bag on the ground and/or clean up the plastic tarp, then use a high-pressure nozzle attached to a hose to rinse the gutter for one minute.
- Scrub the downspout clean with the hard bristle sponge. Once the scrubbing is complete, rinse the downspout with the hose or auger again. Repeat this step for every foot of cleaning.
Tip: Try not to get your home’s siding wet as this could cause molding.
- When you’re finished removing debris and cleaning the gutter, check for holes, dents, cracks and pitch problems after it has air dried. If you see any problems, call a professional about the appropriate solution. To prevent future problems with your gutter, invest in gutter caps, covers or screens and leaf strainers to help keep natural debris out.
Cleaning gutters is critical in preventing potential water damage to your home, such as a flooded basement or cracked foundation. Completing this chore at least twice per year (and after every large storm) could save you a lot of money in future repairs and replacements. With the stormy fall here and snowy winter coming, we suggest grabbing your ladder, putting on some gloves and scooping away.
From all of us at IKO Community Management, we wish you the best of luck!