Cleaning the gutters is often a half-day endeavor, which is why many people put it off for later. It’s tiring, messy, and often difficult. However, this can lead to even bigger problems for your rain gutter system such as clogging or ice dams, especially in places like Salt Lake City. If your gutter hasn’t been cleaned for a while, here is how to do it correctly the next time:
1. Get your safety gear
Never try to clean your gutters without the proper safety equipment. Buy a sturdy extendable ladder and standoff stabilizers to keep yourself from toppling over. When on the ladder, always be mindful of your movements. Don’t try to reach over too far to prevent things from going awry. If you can, get another adult to help you keep the ladder stable. It also won’t hurt to wear a helmet just in case.
2. Spread a tarp
Spread a tarp on the ground so that you can collect debris easier. However, bee sure not to place the ladder on top of the tarp as it can be very slippery.
3. Start with the debris
While wearing your gloves, use your hands to scoop out the debris that has built up in your gutters. A small garden trowel will work, too, but using your hands will get the job done much faster. Alternatively, you can buy a gutter scoop from your local hardware store that is specially designed for this task.
4. Clear all gutters
Once you’re done with one area, climb down the ladder and move it to another area. Repeat the process until you’ve cleared all the debris from your gutters. For more stubborn debris that has caked on the gutters, use a small spatula to get it out. Be careful not to scratch the metal.
5. Hose it down
After removing the debris, hose down the gutters to flush out the remaining dirt. Doing this will also show you if your gutters have any leaks.
6. Make minor repairs
Allow the gutters to dry before doing any repairs. If you find gaps between your gutter seams, seal them with silicone or gutter caulking compound. For small holes in the metal, use a putty knife to spread roofing cement over the hole and let it dry on a sunny day. But for larger holes, they should be covered with a sheet metal patch and embedded with asphalt roofing cement.
On the other hand, if your gutters are already sagging due to standing water, the slope of your gutters is probably off. Have them fixed by a professional or do it yourself if you know how to. Either way, hangers would need to be replaced or re-seated to adjust the slope.
No one enjoys cleaning the gutters, but it’s a chore that needs to be done to prevent worse problems. But with this useful maintenance procedure, your gutters will remain clean and leak-free for a long time. Get professional help to ensure your safety and the quality of work.