Have you been putting off gutter cleaning? We can't blame you for avoiding this chore.
But removing the muck from your gutters helps extend their life and keeps rainwater flowing well. Cleaning your own gutters saves you big bucks.
The job takes some elbow grease, but it's something you can do yourself. You need a few basic tools and the physical health to scale a ladder for DIY gutters.
Read our best tips on how to clean gutters to make the job easier.
1. Get the Right Tools
The correct tools make gutter cleaning safe and easier. Use an extension ladder that's at least 3 feet higher than the edge of the roof. Anchors for the ladder keep it from slipping.
You'll also need:
- Work gloves
- Nonslip shoes
- Long-sleeve shirt
- Plastic bucket
- Trowel or gutter scoop
- Garden hose or pressure washer
Gather all supplies before you set up the ladder or begin cleaning. That makes the job easier and faster.
2. Watch the Weather
Pick a dry day to clean gutters. Dry, solid ground gives you the safest base for your ladder. You don't want to be on a ladder when it's raining, either, because it becomes a slipping hazard.
It's also easier to dig out dry debris. Wet leaves stick to the gutters.
3. Set Up Safely
Falls from ladders cause 300 deaths
and 164,000 injuries that required ER treatment. Practice ladder safety when cleaning your gutters so you don't become part of those statistics.
Set up your ladder on dry, firm, even ground at an angle. Use a 4:1 ratio as a guide. For every 4 feet in height, the base should be 1 foot from the house. For a 24-foot ladder, the base should be 6 feet from the house.
4. Remove the Debris
Starting near your downspout, pull out the chunks of leaves and other debris. a good leaf blower (like these
) can make this part easier. This keeps the chunks from falling down into the downspouts and potentially clogging it.
A gutter scoop or trowel lets you easily scoop up the gunk. Put the debris in a bucket. Carry it down the ladder carefully before it gets completely full to make it easier.
5. Flush the Gutters
With the debris chunks gone, the gutters are ready for a good flushing. Use a high-powered garden hose to spray any dirt, slime, or remaining debris toward the downspouts. Start at the end away from the downspout.
This is the ideal time to look for leaks in your gutter system. Watch for dripping water along the gutters and downspouts.
You can use a pressure washer to clean the gutters. Use caution to avoid damaging them or tearing shingles off your roof.
6. Look for Damage
Clean gutters give you the perfect time to look for damage. Check for rust, cracks, and holes in the gutters. Make sure the gutters are attached securely to the house while you're at it.
Look along the seams to see if they're separating. If they are, chisel out the old silicone and replace it.
7. Repeat the Process
DIY gutters aren't a one-time deal. Clear your gutters of debris at least two times per year. If you have lots of trees near your home, you may need to remove debris from gutters more often.
Routine gutter cleaning keeps the water flowing and prevents damage. Read more information here
on why cleaning your gutters is important.
Keeping your gutters clean can save you headaches down the road. It prevents damage to the gutters and keeps water from spilling over the edges. Now that you've nailed DIY gutters, check out more of our DIY and home repair articles.