Is your home ready for Fall? I mean…I’m sure you have decorated with pumpkins, ghouls, and turkeys depending on your tastes but that’s not what I’m talking about.
Along with the crispy air, the changing leaves, and the spiced lattes, comes the need to prepare your house for this new and transitional season.
Washing your roof rain gutters is an essential part of this process. Today we will explain how to properly clean your gutters to ensure your house structure is better equipped to handle everything that nature will throw at it in the coming months.
In the Fall, I love watching the leaves gently float down from the trees and create a pretty “carpet” on the ground. If you are like me, this season includes sharing pictures and videos on social media of your feet pressing the leaves, making that crispy sound as you walk on them around your neighborhood.
But these same beautiful leaves also fall on our roofs, our gutters, and everywhere near our homes. Even if we don’t have trees nearby, the wind can quickly blow lots of them on our property.
If you haven’t cleaned your gutters in a while, you need to do this now, before they get clogged with the new leaves that will start falling soon. In this season, it is essential to keep your gutters are as clear as possible, so they can smoothly handle the rain and snow showers that will inevitably come our way.
You could use a gutter cleaning kit (a long pipe and brush attached to your garden hose) in order to rinse out the debris while you’re safely on the ground. But you risk missing dirt that is stuck to the gutters like hard-packed mud, small rocks or animal residue because you won’t be directly looking at the gutter.
I don’t know about you, but my house wasn’t cheap. I want to make sure I do the best job possible in maintaining it so that it holds its value for as long as possible. And that means cleaning my gutters in the most effective way that I can. Don’t you want the same?
What Tools Do I Need To Clean My Gutters?
Now that we’ve decided to clean gutters as effectively and efficiently as possible, let’s look at the tools we need for this job. According to gutter manufacturers, you need the following tools:
Sturdy ladder: When looking for a ladder, you have to make sure it is high enough to reach the gutters safely and it should allow you to rest your head and chest above the gutters. The principle behind this is to prevent any debris from getting into your eyes and to minimize the possibility of inhaling dust particles.
Ladder stabilizer: A ladder stabilizer (also called a stand-off) is an accessory with wide tubular arms and non-skid rubber pads that grips a house wall, increasing both a ladder’s stability and your “reach”working aloft. It is essential if you want to be safe while cleaning your gutters.
Garden trowel: To make the dirt collection process easier, a garden trowel would be necessary. This traditional gutter cleaning tool will allow you to collect more debris and leaves in a shorter time.
Gutter scoops: This tool works well with debris that cannot be easily scooped by hand like pine needles and muddy sediment. And unlike a garden trowel, it is shaped to fit a gutter and will help you clean it in the most efficient way.
Bucket and tarp: You would not want to be going back and forth to your garbage can a number of times. With a bucket or trash bin near your work area, you can readily dump dirt without wasting time. You might also want to use a tarp to catch any dirt that doesn’t fall in the bucket.
Garden hose: After scraping and troweling out all the dirt, a garden hose can be used to wash your gutter and downspout. This will make the entire spot look better after you have removed the dirt and debris that have accumulated in it. It will also help prepare the gutter for its next use.
Some other important gutter cleaning tools: There are of course other cleaning tools that will help you with gutters and eavestroughs. One is the sealant which is useful in patching up some tiny holes. Of course, you should not forget your working gloves and goggles. Donning on these two materials are for your safety.
If the list above sounds like a significant investment, I will agree with you. When I bought my first home, I was overwhelmed with all the tools I needed to acquire in order to keep my house in top condition. If you are a first-time home-owner, I know how you feel!
How Much Time And Money Will This Cost?
Along with the financial investment in buying all the equipment necessary to wash your roof rain gutters, you also need to keep in mind:
all the time you will spend researching prices
going to the hardware store
buying the equipment & products
securing them onto your car
driving safely back home
And after all that work, you still need to actually clean the gutters! I don’t know about you, but I would already be quite tired at this point. This is one of the reasons why many people chose to hire gutter cleaning experts to do this job.
If you still decide to wash your roof rain gutters yourself, keep in mind all the time it will take to complete that task. Experts say it takes an average of 2 hours to clean your gutters. Of course, the bigger your home, the longer it will be.
Steps To Clean Your Rain Gutters
Here are all the steps you need to take so that you can clean your gutters properly and safely:
Walk around your house and look at your gutters and downspouts. Plan where you will start the job, and how you will move around the walls and roof in order to reach all the gutters.
Gather all the tools you will need outside of your home, in front of the first gutter that you will clean.
Dress for the job. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, work pants, safety glasses, and rubber gloves. Cleaning gutters is a dirty job.
Spread a tarp underneath your workspace to collect all the gutter gunk and protect your lawn and landscaping.
Place the ladder on a sturdy surface (beware of landscaping rocks below which can shift). Attach the ladder stabilizer to the ladder (follow the stabilizer manufacturer’s instructions carefully). Also, it’s best to have a helper in case you drop something or need a hand with the ladder.
Climb the ladder, carefully checking that is safely placed and that it will not shift with your cleaning movements.
Remove all the gunk from the gutters with your hands (remember to use gloves because it can be icky). Get everything out: leaves, critters or bugs, plants and seeds, bird nests and other animal residues, mud, rocks, and anything else that might have gotten in there. I told you it was a dirty job!
Once the big stuff has been removed, use a gutter scoop to remove any of the hard, stuck-on remnants. You’ll be surprised at how much stuff can get caked in there!
Use a garden hose to flush the gutters and downspouts and clear out any remaining debris. This will also show you if you have any leaks.
If you don’t like getting your hands dirty, are scared of heights or don’t revel in the idea of having critters crawl up on you while you do this job, gutter cleaning might not be for you. I myself do not rejoice in the prospect of spending my Saturday perched on a tall ladder dealing with bugs, mud, and all the nasty stuff that’s on my roof. I’d rather leave this work to the professionals.
Are You Still Doing It Yourself?
While it is possible to clean your gutters yourself, it does involve a significant time and financial commitment. I hope this article has helped you understand everything that washing rain gutters require from
researching and buying the tools you will need
planning your work and ensuring your safety
having the guts to climb that ladder
deal with the gunk
making time for all these activities
If you’re not ready to spare all the time and money necessary for this activity, it is best to hire gutter cleaning professionals.
If you live in the Charlotte, NC area, you can contact us at United Family Lawn Care & we’d be happy to help you or you can find a local service to fulfill your needs. We have helped countless people in the region keep their homes & yards properly maintained while offering quality services for an affordable price.