It’s that time of year before the wet weather has fully set in but the leaves have dropped and freezing temps are just around the corner. Yes, your gutter need cleaning! This tedious task might be the very last thing you want to spend your time doing. Don’t ignore this chore or you run the risk of incurring costly damage to your home. Gutters play a vital role to the functionality of your home. They ensure that storm water and does not find its way into your foundation. This can lead to mold, mildew and even flooding. When this moisture freezes it can actually crack your home’s foundation. Additionally, if the gutters are too full of debris, storm water will seep behind the gutters and ruin the fascia boards. These boards will eventually rot. With repeated exposure to moisture, and can lead to water damage and ruin the integrity of your roof. Small critters and birds consider these rotten fascia board an easy place of access to the attic space and ideal for building nests in the spring.
Tools you’ll need
So you’re ready to get started. The first step in establishing what tools you’ll need is to actually climb the ladder and assess the debris -Is it wet, dry, sticks, pine cones, etc.? If your gutters are filled with dry leaves and small twigs, these are easy enough to remove with a leaf blower. But if your gutters are filled with damp decomposing leaf matter, then a more intensive cleaning approach is recommended.
If you have access to a leaf blower, many allow attachments that shoots a narrow and concentrated stream of air. This is ideal for blowing out dry material from the gutter. When doing this, it is important to not blow leaves directly into the downspout as this can lead to obstruction. Finally, once the leaves are blown out, it is important to rinse remaining debris out with a hose.
A wet/dry vac is another alternative to gutter cleaning especially for removing heavier debris that a leaf blower couldn’t quite manage. In fact, many home improvement stores offer a extension hoses and curved attachments, ideal for someone who wishes to remain off the ladder and finish a majority of the work from the ground. The wet/dry vac sometimes works best if used in conjunction with a hose. Water is beneficial to loosen dried and stubborn dirt stuck to the bottom of the gutter. Of course, after the majority of the debris is removed, it is advised to flush any remaining debris from the gutter before finishing.
Power Washers are ideal for obstructed downspouts -just point and spray. However, using a power washer for general gutter cleaning of partially composted debris can be extremely messy. Most likely the siding and roof will need washed off when finished. Power washers for general gutter cleaning should only be used when a majority of the damp debris has been removed and when other alternative cleaning methods have been exhausted.
Cleaning gutters with a garden hose is a great alternative the power washer as long as there isn’t a significant amount of debris left in the gutter. It is advisable to start furthest from the gutter working your way toward the downspout. Home stores offer several options for streamlining this process. One particular attachment has both a curved end for directing the water flow more effectively. Another hose attachments works as an extension so that this process can also primarily be completed from the ground.
Cleaning gutters by hand is probably the most tried and true method out there. It’s also one that requires very little instruction, other than: (1) scoop (2) empty scoop. Really, there is a little more to consider than that…. For instance, you’ll most likely want a bucket to hold the debris. Additionally, home improvement stores sell speciality scoops that are designed to be width of the gutter and also flexible to scoop debris more effectively. Once the bucket is filled, it is advisable to empty the contents into the compost pile. This decomposing leaf debris is an ideal addition to compost and is sure to add brown matter nutrients. And finally, water should be run through the gutter to rinse away any dirt that was missed by the scoop.
Of course there are alternatives to this tedious yet necessary bi-yearly chore. Consider installing a screen or barrier on top of your gutters to prevent leaves and debris from accumulating over the course of the year. Gutter Cover of Indiana offers several solutions depending of the type of debris that are in your gutters. Call or email for consultation to find the best solution for your home. Unlike their competitors that offer only one type of gutter cap, Gutter Covers of Indiana offers individualized solutions for every situation.
If your are considering gutter caps but aren’t quite committed to the idea, Gutter Covers of Indiana does gutter cleaning, maintenance, and installations -check out their services. But if you do decide to get caps, just know that they DO clean your gutters before installing caps too!