DIY Guide: How to clean your gutters. Easily.
Cleaning your gutters is one of these jobs it's easy to put off. It's not exactly the most obvious way to look after your home. But it's an important task. It can lead to property damage and an avoidable bill to pay. If your gutters are full of debris then they can't move water away as they should. Which means water gets where you don't want it to get. It can get in behind the gutters and cause damp problems, it can cause wooden fascias to warp and rot and it can even cause damage to your brickwork if it's left unchecked for a longer period.
So, grasp the nettle and let's get this job done properly.
So, when should you clean your gutters?
Twice a year. Sorry, but that's how often you should do it - once in the spring and once in the autumn. If you do it regularly, it's a fairly easy job to complete. Your problems start when you ignore your gutters for too long. So make sure you don't do that.
So, where do I start?
On the roof. (Sorry, we couldn't resist it.) We'd advise making sure you've got all the equipment you need before you start. You don't want to get halfway through and have to stop, get cleaned up and changed and go off to get another piece of kit. And by getting the right equipment you'll be able to do the job safely, quicker and with better results. Here's our guide to cleaning out your gutters.
What you'll need
- The right ladder for the job
- A decent hose
- A gutter scoop (or trowel)
- Protective gloves
- Safety glasses
We've got a range of ladders to help you get to your gutters. Our alloy ladders come in two or three sections and offer a reach from 5 metres right up to 12 metres. They're lightweight, sturdy and easily transportable. Have a look at our range. We also offer ladder stops. These are aluminium, with a rubber base to give you extra grip on wet and slippy surfaces, like concrete, polished floors or grass. Or you might prefer a roof ladder. These come with curved hooks at the top to grip over the apex. They distribute weight evenly, protecting your roof and they've got angled rungs, to protect you. If you live in a single-storey property you don't have to get up that high to reach your gutters. So our telescopic ladder could be perfect for you. It extends to a height of 3.5 metres and will fit in any car boot.
Dress sensibly. Seems like a daft thing to say. But you'll be working at height, so wear rubber-soled shoes. Wear the protective gloves and the safety goggles.
Position your ladders
Make sure your ladders are on a flat surface and that you've got enough grip. Then rest them against the wall of your house, so that the distance from the ladder's base to the wall is a quarter of the height of the ladder where it rests against your house. It will be sitting at 75°. You can easily check your angle. Stand with your toes touching the base of the ladder and extend your arms in front of you. Your palms should rest on a rung at shoulder height. Climb a couple of steps and check that it's still sturdy. If it is, then keep on climbing.
Start with the roof
It probably seems obvious, but make sure you clean the roof first. You don't want to spend time sorting out your gutters only to have them filled up again with detritus as soon as it rains. So hose your roof down and get rid of any loose leaves, twigs, bird droppings and whatever else is up there. You might find a blower vacuum helpful when you're doing this. They make it easy to clear leaves, light debris and litter that's stuck there. We can help you there too. As you're up a ladder you'll probably want the backpack version.
Gloves on, get stuck in
You can use a trowel to scrape the gutter. But we find it's much quicker to use your hands (which are inside your protective gloves). You can scoop the larger items out and then pick the smaller bits out. Clear a short section of gutter and then climb down and move your ladder along. Don't be tempted to over-reach or lean outside the centre of the ladder. Because falling to the ground really hurts.
Hose it down
Use your hose to clear the remaining tiny pieces. You can also see if your downpipes are blocked - watch for water pooling at the top of the downpipe. If you do have a problem, you can use drain rods to clear any blockages. And we keep the cleaning accessories you can attach to make the job even easier.
So we're done now, right?
Well, yes and no. You could fit gutter guards to help minimise the amount of debris that gets into your gutters. Or you may choose not to bother. If your garden has lots of trees that drop lots of leaves (hence the gutter clearing), you might want to scarify your lawn. It removes the layer of debris from within your grass, allowing your grass to flourish. We've got a blog article on how to do this to your lawn. And we've got the very machines you need.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Spend a bit of time planning how you're going to do the job and what you'll need. As Abraham Lincoln once said:
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
We've got the equipment you need to make the whole job a lot easier. Get in touch if you have any questions - we'll be happy to help.