Gutter cleaning is probably one of the most unattractive and unappealing home maintenance chores there is. It’s often dirty, requires a lot of ladder moving, you’ll most likely get wet from flushing the gutters and it’s not something that you can show off to your neighbours once it’s finished like a beautifully mowed lawn. Not exactly the most ideal way to spend a Sunday afternoon, is it?
However, if you avoid cleaning your gutters, you’re potentially inviting a lot of trouble to your home. If your gutters become too full, water can begin to damage the roofing and fascia as well as your home as water starts to flow out over your gutters and onto your main foundation rather than down the drain spout.
While cleaning your gutters may seem a simple task, there are a number of things that you can do to keep your gutters sparkling and therefore protect your home for years to come. But before we tell you how to clean gutters, it’s important you know exactly when to clean your gutters and what equipment is needed to do it safely.
When to clean your gutters
You should clean your gutters twice a year, once in the spring and once in the autumn. However, if you live in a neighbourhood that has a lot of trees, you’ll more than likely have to do it more than twice a year. Be sure to keep an eye out on your gutters, particularly after bad weather or severe wind and rain. Even if it’s to clear up a clog in the downspout.
It’s a far more pleasant and easy job to clean your gutters when they are dry. Otherwise, you’ll need to prepare yourself for mucky by-products that you’ll have to dispose of. A quick tip is to check your gutter before a storm is forecasted. The last thing you want to do is to be sat in your home looking out of the window watching water pour out from over your gutters into your garden and foundations and thinking you could have prevented it with a quick sweep of the spots near the downspouts.
How to clean your gutters
Clean gutters from the ground up
Another important thing to know when cleaning your gutter is where to do it from. Never clean them from your roof. You’d be turning a simple chore into a dangerous hazard. Therefore, it is recommended to clean your gutters from the ground using an appropriate gutter cleaning ladder. When doing so, it is important to follow best practices for ladder safety, because if you don’t things can go south pretty quickly.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember whilst cleaning out gutters is to not reach out further than is safe to do. It’s easy to think that you can lean out as far as your body will take you as it means you will have to move the ladder less but be wary and always keep your waist between the rails. Since you’re going to be moving a ladder a lot, on potentially uneven lawns and ground, ensure you have a stable and even footing to make the job safer. Having someone else there spotting the ladder while you work is a common solution or using ladder accessories such as a ladder stay is also a great option.
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For collecting the debris from the gutter, you can layout a tarp underneath your gutters and just move it along whenever you climb down and move your gutter cleaning ladder. If using an A-frame ladder, you can easily attach a bucket with a handle to one of the built-in hooks found near the top.
De-gunking your gutter
To remove the debris from your gutter, follow these simple steps:
- Use a small garden trowel or get a good pair of garden gloves and scoop out the leaves and sediment, starting at the downspout. Hands are often the better tool for this job as you have increased levels of manoeuvrability allowing you to get downspout clogs loose with far less effort.
- Once you have cleaned as much as you safely can in one spot, move your gutter cleaning ladder down the gutter and continue to the next until you’ve got all that you can with your hands.
- Next, at the opposite end of the downspout, use a hose to flush the finer bits of debris. Let it run for a minute to ensure that water is coming cleanly through the spout.
- If the water is only trickling through, then you know that you still have a clog. To clear it, run the hose at a higher pressure right into the downspout.
If like many homeowners, you would rather avoid cleaning gutters yourself, there are a number of options that you can choose. The first is to hire a professional to do the job for you. This obviously comes at a price but will allow you to sit back and relax or get on with more important tasks while someone else does the dirty work. If you don’t mind cleaning the gutter but would like to do it a little less often, there are several products that you can install into your gutter that help to alleviate the build-up of debris, such as gutter whiskers, mesh guards and snap-in plastic covers.
Best ladders for cleaning gutters
We recommend the following ladders:
Ultimately, whichever ladder you choose, you will still need to gain access to your gutter to install them. Doing this in the safest and most efficient way possible is paramount. Here at Ladders UK Direct, we supply a range of quality gutter cleaning ladders to ensure you can clean your gutters without a worry in the world, and with such an extensive collection, we are guaranteed to have a ladder-type to suit you. We recommend taking a look at our collection of extension ladders, which are simple to use and allow you to reach high places safely.
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For more information on how to clean gutters or if you'd like help deciding which are the best ladders for cleaning gutters, do not hesitate to get in touch with the Ladders UK Direct team.