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Fix Leaky Gutters

How to Fix Leaky Gutters

Gutters are used to direct rainwater to the appropriate drainage area to avoid any damage to the house or drainage and flooding problems. However, they end up collecting all other debris that ends up falling from the roof including leaves and branches. Most homeowners tend to overlook the maintenance of gutters and over time they may develop leaks at different spots. The accumulation of branches and leaves and also snow in colder climates, is bound to contribute to leaky gutters as their structure becomes weaker over time. For those who like simple do-it-yourself projects to keep their house in the best condition. Below we will look at some useful tips on how to fix leaky gutters.

fix leaky gutters

Before delving into the different ways of how to fix leaky gutters, it is essential to first note that gutters exist in two different variants. There are plastic and metal gutters available today. The fact that they are made of different materials means that they require different repair methods and equipment. Homeowners should begin by inspecting their home’s gutters to find out exactly what they are made of to determine what method to follow.

Fix Leaky Gutters – Metal

In most cases, metal gutters are the norm especially for older structures. The simplest way on how to fix leaky gutters that are made of metal is to scrape the joint and clear any debris and then dry it. Once dry, use a caulking gun to inject roofing and gutter sealant. If the leak persists then, it may require more work to repair your leaky gutter as described below.

Where the leaky gutter is not repaired by a simple application of sealant, it will be necessary to dismantle the entire gutter joint clean off the old and dried up putty and then apply a new sealant. Dismantling gutters may be problematic considering that the spike and ferrules used to hang the gutters may not pull out easily without damaging the gutters. It is then going to be necessary to replace the gutters instead of repairing them.

Fix Leaky Gutters – Plastic

Leaky gutters made of plastic, on the other hand, require less work as compared to metal gutters. Plastic gutters mainly leak around unions or joints that connect to the gutters to lead water downwards. In this case the most common cause of such leaks is the accumulation of dirt that forces the gaskets sealing the union to give way.

To fix leaky gutters made of pvc, press the pipe inwards to release the clips holding the pipe leading water down to the union. Once it releases you can check to see whether cleaning the accumulated dirt will be enough to fix the leak or installation of a new gasket is required. There are also PVC gutters that you can clean the gutter joints, then dry the pvc leaky gutter joint. You fix leaky gutter joints by applying a sealant recommended for pvc gutters. Regular maintenance will prevent leaky gutters.



Frozen Downspouts

This week’s number one problem has been frozen downspouts. Weather conditions have been perfect for freezing downspouts. Once the route down is frozen, the gutters will drip over and form those pretty icicles you’ve been seeing. I have been seeing the icicles, and frozen downspouts, all over town.

What can you do about this?

Prevention:  Downspouts freeze quickly if the water flow is stopped somewhere along the way.

frozen downspouts

 

In the recent storm, the heavy wet snow was enough to block water flow at the bottom, if the ends weren’t shoveled clear.  Because of the thawing and refreezing this week, downspouts also froze up at the elbows. Prevention involves clearing the ends of the downspouts and also keeping an eye on the elbow joints.

Downspouts collected ice inside, where the downspouts were dented or bent. Long-term prevention involves checking for bends and dings in the downspouts before winter sets in.

 Action: On line advice about frozen downspouts varies. Some say just leave it alone. Others recommend taking ice-melt to the gutters (see below.) A few say heat the gutters to clear them. One recommends whacking the gutter (from an upstairs window) with a baseball bat. Yet another recommends running electrical heat tape to prevent melting.

 What to look for to prevent a big problem?

The main reason that you don’t want your gutters icing up is two-fold. The worst thing that can happen is for the melting ice to find its way into your house.  The second worst thing that can happen is that the ice in the backed-up gutter gets heavy enough to tear the gutter off the house.

Ice Dam

Prevention: To prevent water in your house, your roof should be installed with a sheet of rubber under it. This way, if water collects on the edge of the roof, it won’t find its way through the waterproofing. The second prevention measure is to keep your roof cold. This means insulating and ventilating your roof surface. (This is also good for lowering your heating bills.) A warm roof allows snow to melt at the bottom edge, then refreeze overnight. Then, the subsequent melting the next day increases the build-up of  ice that will melt the next day, and so on. The more melting water, the more weight and pressure; these are conditions that favor water finding its easiest route down is through the wood behind your gutters. The third preventative measure is to make sure your gutters are draining well before the winter sets in. Most gutters collect leaves and debris that can impede to flow enough to allow freezing, even if the downspouts are clear. Clear and check the flow in your gutters sometime in the fall, after the leaves have fallen and before the cold sets in.

Roof Heat Tape

Action: If you see awesome quantities of ice collecting in your gutters and your downspouts are frozen, you may want to take evasive action. The tried and true method is to fill a stocking with ice melt and put it in the gutter. If this is a chronic problem that happens every year, using an ice rake to clear the snow near the bottom of the roof may be an option (depending on how high your roof is.)

The last-ditch and most expensive and inefficient method is to install heat tape to melt the snow and prevent the refreezing.

Frozen Downspouts

Frozen Downspouts was written by :



Remove Pine Needles From Roofs

Remove Pine Needles From Roofs

You ask “do I need to remove pine needles from roofs”? The answer is yes. You do need to remove pine needles from roofs. They retain moisture which will prematurely age your roof. Below is the recommendations from PABCO®Roofing Products on how to maintain your roof.

Remove Pine Needles From Roofs

PABCO®Roofing Products recommends the following maintenance practices for our asphalt shingles. There may be additional practices for other components of the full roofing system. PABCO® is only addressing the maintenance practices for our shingles.
• Avoid unnecessary foot traffic. The surface granules provide the appearance of the roof, but also cover and protect the core asphalt from harmful ultraviolet light. Excessive scuffing will shorten the useful life of the roof. (Newly installed asphalt shingles commonly carry some extra granules riding on the surface of the shingle.
These normally come off of the roof in a short period of time by the actions of rain and/or wind. After this initial release of granules, it is part of the normal weathering process for additional granules to be released over the life of the shingles.)
• Never allow water from a downspout to discharge directly onto a roof below. Connect an upper story downspout to a lower level gutter.
• Moss and algae need moisture to grow. To reduce the time moisture is available on the roof, do not allow the accumulation of roof debris, such as leaves or pine needles. Debris should be removed in a safe manner by a leaf blower or similar, non-abrasive method. The air flow should be directed down the slope to avoid driving debris under the edges of the shingles. Keep the gutters clear to promote proper water drainage.
• Periodic roof cleaning may be needed to keep the roof free of moss and algae growth. If keeping debris off the roof does not prevent moss and algae growth, kill the growth by applying a 50:50 mix of liquid chlorine bleach and water. Allow the solution to dwell on the surface (15 to 20 minutes) and then rinse thoroughly with
low pressure water. Extended dwell times may be necessary to kill the moss, however avoid letting the solution dry completely as this may prevent complete rinsing. Repeat the chlorine treatment as needed. After the moss is dead, it will loosen with time until it can be blown off the roof with any other roof debris. Take proper precautions to protect landscaping and surrounding areas from the chlorine bleach solution. Use the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with chlorine bleach.
• We do not recommend the use of commercially available cleaning solutions or concentrates, regardless of whether they purport suitability for use on roofs, as our experience has shown that many of these products may damage our shingles or the overall integrity of the roof system. The only cleaning method we do recommend is
the bleach/water solution used in the manner outlined above.
• Avoid other cleaning practices, as they may damage the shingles and void coverage under the terms of the PABCO® Limited Shingle Warranty. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of acids, detergent powders, solvents, and any other material that does not rinse cleanly off the roof. Do not clean roofs with a power
washer, or any other pressurized water device, with or without chemicals, or use abrasive cleaning methods such as a brush or broom.
• The roof surface must be protected from over spray or staining from other trades, such as painting, stucco, or masonry, as there may be no way to remove these foreign materials without damaging the shingles.
• Do not apply paints or coatings to the shingles.
• Periodically inspect the roof for damage and debris, typically each spring or after extreme weather. Repair roof damage promptly to avoid further damage.
• Safety must be the first priority when working on a roof. Observe every necessary precaution, safety guideline, and safe work practice, or have a roofing professional do the work.

This information on Remove Pine Needles From Roofs was take from this bulletin.

Remove pine needles from roofs as often as needed. This could be 4 or 5 times a year.  Safety is the most important thing as being on a roof is a dangerous thing. Most falls are from ladders and these occur when getting on or off the roof. When you go to remove pine needles from roofs, learn the safest way to do the job first.



How Often Should Gutters Be Cleaned

How often should gutters be cleaned?

It depends! Some houses can go for a couple of years between cleanings. Others need cleaning twice a year or more. Each situation is different

Develop a history

Starting out to find how often cleaning is needed the gutters and down spouts should be checked twice a year for signs of blockage, leaks and possible overflowing. If you live in a high rainfall area or have a lot of trees hanging over the house you may want to increase the frequency of checking the gutter system. As you check the system and track the need for cleaning after a season or two it will be very clear what is needed for gutter cleaning frequency

how often should gutters be cleaned

For those who can not see any of the gutters from inside the house and do not climb ladders checking the system for blockage can be relatively easy. On clear days check of signs of mold or streaking on places the gutters may over flow. Observe the siding for discolorations indicating water leaks. Just when it starts to rain go to the out let of he downspouts and if water does not flow very soon after the start of a heavy rain you know that something is blocking either the gutters or leaders. If you want to stay dry and the garden hose spray can reach the roof the same test can be done of the system by spraying water on the roof and simulating a rain, checking the water flows down the system as it saturates the roof and fills the gutter.

This way you do not have to clean the gutters more often than needed. Regardless if you are doing it yourself or paying some one to climb up and clean the gutters no one wants to waste time energy or money on something that is not needed.

Cleaning frequency

Prior to having a history on when gutter cleaning is need for a house follow this rule of thumb. Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned and checked for signs of necessary repairs at least twice a year. Typically, the best times to do this are spring when the tree seed pods and flower debris are down and fall when the leaves are down but take care not to wait so long a prolonged freeze sets in. Each year this window of opportunity can be very different. The late fall option can be difficult if put off too long and you get into snow and freezing weather were it is not safe or practical to work on gutters. If you suspect a problem or live in an extremely rainy climate, then perhaps, you should check and clean the gutters more frequently. If there are a lot of trees that are high or over hang the roof then the need for cleaning will naturally increase the frequency. Some people cannot tell in advance the need for gutter cleaning so just wait till the gutters show a problem then have them cleaned. This method can stretch out the need for cleaning but also lead to a sudden death playoff with problems in the winter being the hardest to resolve if there are freezing conditions. If you live in an area that winter is cold enough for freezing then you can get ice dams in the gutters and water pouring into the house as melting snow from the heat inside works up under the roof since the ice blocks the normal flow of water off the roof. As you keep track of how much material is removed at cleaning, how full the gutters are and if there are blocked downspouts you will know what the right frequency is. Most houses always have bad spot and areas of guttering that stays clear.

“How Often Gutters Should Be Cleaned”

Was written By Dana Huntley of Gutter Cleaning Hampton

http://guttercleaninghampton.com



How To Quiet Noisy Gutters

How to Quiet Noisy Gutters

Noisy gutters can drive you insane and you will be asking yourself “do I really need gutters on my home”? A house does not look right with out having rain gutters on it and they serve a purpose to your home. A well maintained roof will keep water out of your home, but if there are no gutters and downspouts on your home the water running off your roof will enter your home thru the basement. So, the answer is yes. You do need gutters on your home. How to quiet noisy gutters is the question you need answered.

If your have noisy gutters from water overflowing, you will need to do a few things to the gutters on a regular basis. If you have had a storm and branches or leaves get into the gutters then, when the rain gathers in the gutters, it will not flow properly out of your seamless gutters. This will cause either a waterfall over the gutters. If you do not want to take the time out to clean out the gutters on a regular basis you will want to place a rain gutter covering over it. This will catch all the leaves and branches and stop them from getting into the gutter itself.

Leaking joints is another reason for dripping gutters. Although this may not cause any noise, it will depend on what is underneath the drip. This may not make your list of how to quiet noisy gutters, but it still will need to be fixed. A small leak over time can cause extensive damage to your home.

How to quiet noisy gutters

Not only would you need to keep the gutter cleaned out but if you want to solve the annoying dripping problem that creates noisy gutters that can last long after it stops raining, you can do a couple of different things to help this. You can place decorative down spout chains on the down spout to give the rain a place to flow instead of the rain water falling for several feet, then hitting the down spout elbow and making the annoying noise. You can also put an insert in the elbow that will quiet noisy gutters.

When you have a noisy gutter you will want to fix the problem quickly because that noise can drive you bananas especially if those noisy gutters are outside your bedroom. Even though gutters are extremely important pieces to the structure of the house, they do not have to be annoying or hard to live with. You can have quiet gutters if you just take the time to install the inserts into your downspouts elbows or put up a decorative down spout chain. This is how to quiet noisy gutters.



Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters and Downspouts A Look of Distinction

A house is not a house without gutters and downspouts. The roof of a structure can be rendered useless without gutters and downspouts. They are what I call the indispensables given their importance. Going beyond its fundamental function, a house cannot aesthetically be acceptable without gutters and downspouts. It just doesn’t feel right if you ask me. I don’t think builders and architects will ever push through a project without these two in the plan. It is downright silly and utterly wrong.

In the same way, I am pretty sure architects are using these two to accentuate the color scheme of the house that they are designing. In fact, I believe most homeowners are trying different ways to highlight their gutters and downspouts. The reason for this is that it gives them a certain taste of distinction. It differentiates and highlights the features of their house. The angles are the most common head turners. It creates a powerful impression of the size and architectural design that is present in the building.

Looking at modern architectural concepts, some downspouts are shaped in line with the shape of the house. Some are even in tune with the color scheme, design concept and roofing structure. Others, well they just like to make it stand out. Gutters and downspouts usually create a powerful illusion that makes the roof discontinuous with the walls. Attractive roofing will not stand out as you need these two together to complement its design.

Given this scenario, the function of the gutters and downspouts now goes beyond collecting water. If it is not properly maintained, the image of the house can be severely damaged. It can destroy interior and exterior walls, ceiling and even the roof. If the downpour is heavy, floor tiles can also be critically damaged. If the gutters and downspouts are clogged, water will flow down like a river from the roof leaving water marks in the painted wall. This is why they cannot and should never malfunction. The danger it creates is just the starting point. If these remained unfixed, the house will look dilapidated and old. Total renovation will be required if this happens. Sometimes even a reconstruction is inevitable. In fact, a lot of houses nowadays just leave leaking gutters and detached downspouts. This should never be the case. These structures should always be fixed and given its due attention. Cost must be secondary at this point given that the ambiance, the feel and the value of the house is directly related to these two.

gutters and downspouts

How can the house be considered a prime estate if the most noticeable part is destroyed? I don’t think anyone will invest on a property that has a leaking roof or with flowing water similar to Niagara Falls. Point of the matter still remains; never miss out on the most distinguishing part of the house, the gutters and downspouts. It is important to constantly look for ways on how maintain these integral parts. It is also very critical to note that gutters and downspout gives a certain flavor to the house. It separates the average from the great ones.

 



6″ Rain Gutters

What You Need to Know About 6″ Rain Gutters

The roof is among the most important, but frequently neglected parts of the house. It has the significant component and that’s the 5″ or  6″ rain gutters, which performs different functions, from protecting the house basement to the topsoil and other parts where damages due to the rain are possible. 

Rain gutters are mainly composed of 2 main parts – the gutter and the downspout. There are also 2 kinds of rain gutters – seamless and sectional. The latter is pop riveted together if it is aluminum. If the rain gutters are galvanized or copper they can be pop riveted or soldered together. The seamless type features seams for the downspouts and corners. As the seamless type lasts longer and is leak proof, it’s preferred by many people these days.  Soldered copper rain gutters will last the longest, but the cost keeps it from being the preferred material. A professional contractor is needed to manufacture the 6” seamless gutter on site.

What is the purpose of 6″ rain gutters?

As its name suggests, a rain gutter is a trough situated at the bottom edge of the roof to gather and control rain water run-off. This way, the foundation of the house is protected from becoming flooded by water. Rain gutters come in various shapes, types and sizes. These include half-round or U shapes and K configurations.

6" rain gutters

Many residential rain gutters are available in 2 sizes – 5” and 6” and are made of galvanized steel, copper or aluminum. The usual 5” K-style rain gutters come with 2” by 3” downspouts. 6” rain gutters, on the other hand, use a 3” by 4” downspout.

One foot of a 5” inch K-style rain gutter can hold 1.2 gallons of water. For the 6” rain gutters, it can hold 2.0 gallons of water. Seamless aluminum is the most common residential gutter type. Initially only offered in silver, early aluminum rain gutters were painted white and ultimately painted in different colors to match the roof, trim and house siding, making rain gutters not just useful, but also a design feature. 

Shopping For 6″ Rain Gutters    

The most common materials are copper, aluminum, and galvanized steel. Determine which material suits your home. Steel is more affordable than copper, but it’s not as durable. Copper can be expensive and is used for certain types of houses, it is the most attractive. But regardless of the material you choose, make sure to pick the thickest material that you can afford. Keep in mind that the thicker the gutter material, the more durable and stronger it will be.

6" rain gutters

When shopping for rain gutters, the size is always an important consideration. Gutters are usually available in 5″ and 6″ sizes. 6″ rain gutters are best for those people with larger roofs as they can hold more water. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of rainstorms, you may consider using 6″ rain gutters.

Another consideration is the type of rain gutter you will get. The most popular type is the K-style, but you can also go for square-shape and half-round ones.  Your choice will depend on your home’s design. Copper gutters are left in their natural state. The patina over the years will give your home a look of distinction. If using aluminum or galvanized you will need to pick a color.  You may pick a color to match the current color of the roof. The most common choice is to match the color of the trim of your home. Another choice can be to pick an accent color that is different then the trim of your home.  

The Purpose Of 6″ Rain Gutters

You 6″ rain gutters will serve 2 purposes. First to protect your home from the damage that can be caused by water. Second rain gutters will give your home a look of class. Pick a color and size that will make you proud of your home.



Gutter Systems Part Of Home Maintenance

Gutter Systems Part Of Home Maintenance

Home maintenance is an integral component of our lives and as homeowners it is very important to ensure that our house is in tiptop shape. We cannot stick to the old adage, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality given that it is not simply rational to let the house fall apart. The “it’s still okay” syndrome will do more harm than good and will be very costly for us in the long run.

The most common repair and maintenance project on any house is the roof and gutter system. This is due to the fact that these sections are the most exposed part to extreme weather conditions. No matter how tough and expensive the materials you used for these, Mother Nature will definitely take a toll on it whether you like it or not.

Most frequently replaced between these two are the gutters. Over time, the gutter system usually gets damaged due to the volume of water and accumulation of debris like leaves, twigs and stuff. If you try to analyze it, the look and feel of a house is very much dependent on the state of its gutters. A leaking and damaged gutter system appears to generate an impression that the house is very old and poorly maintained. It immediately brings down the value of the house and it also lowers the aura of the human inhabitants.

This is the reason why, this needs to be immediately fixed even before it is fully broken. Remember, it’s a system. One panel breaks down, everything else follows.

Types Of Gutter Systems

The common issue here is cost and it is always the main barrier for it to be fixed. There are two alternatives to choose from when replacing and installing the gutter system. First, there is the seamless gutter system, which is commonly installed by professionals and the other, the traditional pre-made gutters that you can buy from any hardware store. Both systems can be installed by a professional or by a handyman like yourself.Components of gutter systems

The most common is aluminum given that they don’t rust similar to the old galvanized gutters. There are several colors but white and brown are the standard trim. Custom colors are available to match your house.

Seamless gutter and Traditional Pre-Made gutter have both pros and cons. Seamless gutter systems have lesser tendencies to develop leaks because they are made on-site. The only places they can leak are at the end caps or a miter. If you are planning on installing them yourself, this will raise another problem. You will need to find a contractor with a gutter machine that is willing to come out and run out the seamless gutters. The pre-made gutters need to be short enough for you to haul from the store to your home. These lengths can be from 10’ – 30’. The choice of hangers will be limited by the store stock. Buying on line will give you the largest choice.

Every joint is an increased chance of a leak. Seamless gutter system is your best choice when doing home maintenance.



Gutters And Downspouts Are Critical For Proper Water Drainage

Gutters and Downspouts are critical for proper water drainage

Have you ever seen a house with no gutters and downspouts? It will be like going back in time where people thought the world was flat and they rode in horse and buggy’s going to and from the market. The history of the gutters and downspouts cannot be accurately pinpointed. Who knows where they started and frankly who cares?

For perspective, gutters and downspouts are part of the house’s water collection system that is not located on the ground but rather connected to the roof. Gutters specifically are structures that act as temporary reservoirs and pathway to ensure that water does not enter your home during a rain shower. Imagine a house with its current roof shape without them; it will be like fountain drenching anyone located below.

Gutters are an integral part of the house. However, they are meaningless and useless without downspouts. How in the world will water go down the drainage system if there is no connecting vehicle? Water will just seep through the wall and damage the exterior. Downspouts are pipes that connect the roof to the ground. They are equally important because they ensure that water doesn’t stay very long in the gutters and they serve as water highways going down the drain and away from your home.

These two components are an important aspect in the water drainage system of the house. High volume of rain is expected especially during extreme weather disturbances. Gutters and downspouts need to function well during these times. Otherwise they will do a lot of harm to your home and landscape. If the gutters are clogged, it will result into stagnant water. Rainwater is not essentially dirty but when it gets parked in the gutter, things change. Disease carrying insects breed causing debilitating and even life threatening illnesses. Moisture attracts bacteria and its build up has the potential to infect people on the ground. It can also damage the fascia and soffit structure of the home thereby increasing your cost of maintenance. It can damage a bigger part of your wall which can definitely lower the value of your home. It can also be an accident risk as water is very heavy. If the gutter cannot carry the weight anymore, chances are, it will fall and hit someone on the ground. Downspouts are also critical. If there is blockage in the pipes, nothing goes through. It will create a domino effect resulting into stagnant water in the gutter.

Downspouts and gutters are an important component of the house. You cannot have a structure standing without them. They are an indispensable part of your home and any building for that matter. Never try to short change on their quality as it will produce terrible effects in the long run. They should also be effectively maintained and repaired whenever they are damaged. At the end of the day, building a structure without them is like a disaster waiting to happen.



How to Clean Your Gutters Before They Clean Out Your Wallet

How to Clean Your Gutters Before They

Clean Out Your Wallet

By Jason Gurskis

Fox Around the House

Published December 22, 2010
FoxNews.com

gutters640.jpg

Cleaning your gutters is one of the most important projects on the to-do list yet it’s too often overlooked. Unfortunately, many of us wait until late into the fall season when the very last leaf falls before we decide to get it done. This delay exposes our homes to potential damage. Plus, it makes the job a lot more difficult to do.

If you do it a couple of times a year, in the fall and spring, cleaning gutters is easy. Just once, or not at all, and it can become back breaking work and cost you thousands of dollars worth of trouble down the road.

The problem with clogged gutters is more than just those annoying waterfalls that pour off the roof on rainy days, or the pretty icicles that hang around in the winter. This excess water wreaks havoc on the integrity of your home’s structure. The gutter system of a house is designed to move water down from the roof and away from the home and it’s foundation for proper drainage. Water that gets dammed up in the gutters finds the path of least resistance when it tries to drain and this often means it works right into the walls and ceilings of your house.

The first and most obvious issue with gutters filled to the brim with leaves, twigs, and other debris is simply a weight problem. When that debris gets wet it absorbs the rain water like a sponge and becomes extremely heavy. This burden puts stress on the gutters and their hanging brackets, and can pull the gutters off the house. Falling gutters are costly enough to replace on their own, not to mention any lights or windows they smash as they come crashing down.

Overflowing water from the gutters can also damage the paint and siding on a home, but unsightly water marks down the side of the house pale in comparison with what happens if the water get inside of a wall. Wet wood rots and loses its integrity, and this can go unseen behind the siding until it is too late.

Ice-damming is another major issue with clogged gutters. Blocked water can freeze when it backs up in the gutters, pushing up against the roof structure and working its way under the shingles destroying the wood, causing even more leaks.

Even flooded basements and cracking foundations are other symptoms of clogged gutters. If water isn’t drained away from the house and it pools around the foundation it will expand when frozen and cause cracks which lead to floods in your basement or crawl space.

So what will you need to get the job done? You only need a few things and they depend on the method you choose. Many different tricks and techniques have been developed by home improvement magazines, experts, and handymen alike but the main concept is simple, just get on the ladder and pull the junk out of the gutters.

You’ll need; a ladder, gloves, a container to gather the debris such as a bag or bucket, a garden trowel or small hand rake, and the hose.

Begin by setting the ladder an arms length away from a corner downspout, and tuck a few garbage bags in your back pocket so you can easily pull them out. Some people prefer to use a bucket and bucket hanger for the ladder, but it is much easier to use those little plastic shopping bags. A full bucket or big garbage bag can get pretty heavy and make the job tougher than a high wire act.

Hold your garden trowel or rake in your hand and begin your ascent. You never want to put sharp objects in your pocket when you are climbing a ladder, as they can harpoon you if you fall. Use the tool to pull the debris away from the down spout, being careful not to let any junk fall into the opening, which can create a clog. Take one handful at a time and fill up the bags, tying and dropping them to the ground as you go. Drop the bags away from the bottom of the ladder so they don’t get in your way when you need to dismount.

Move the ladder and repeat. Never reach further than an arms length away from the ladder and be sure to get the dirt on the bottom of the gutter. A majority of it is from the asphalt shingles that run off into the gutter. This stuff gets very heavy when wet so don’t leave it in there.

If you are afraid of heights or worry about dealing with the bags in such a precarious situation, simply grab handfuls from the gutters and drop it onto a clear spot on the ground. This is a very messy method, but you can rake up the debris later, safely and easily. Some guys drop the material down onto a tarp and shake it into a garbage can later.

Once you clean an entire length, grab the hose and spray down the gutter and into the down spouts to get all the small pieces you missed. If there are clogs that the hose can’t clear, you can use a plumbers snake to clear them out. This is also a good point to see if your gutters leak at any corners or joining pieces. If they do, you can purchase a silicone sealant and very easily make the fix. Remember that water finds the path of least resistance, and that path us usually into the walls of your house, so a leaky gutter can be just as bad as a clogged one.

If you are ambitious, you can scrub down the outside of the gutters or touch up any spots with paint to keep your house looking its best.

Still hesitant on doing this yourself? Consider using a roofing or siding contractor, or even handy man, but get three estimates and don’t always go for the cheapest one. The guy with the 1970’s pick up truck with rock bottom prices could possibly do a great job, but may not have any insurance. Whom ever you choose, be sure they are insured. If someone takes a dive off the ladder and breaks every bone in his body and is not covered by his own workman’s comp you, the homeowner, are liable. It’s a lot easier to ask him for a copy of his up-to-date insurance papers than it is to make a claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy, assuming it even covers such accidents.

One way or another, pushing this chore to the bottom of the to-do list could end up being a very costly mistake. If you get up there regularly it can be a breeze and you’ll prevent the Hoover dam from forming in your gutters.

Jason Gurskis is a licensed home improvement contractor based in Mystic Island, New Jersey dedicated to making homes more comfortable, durable, and energy efficient.


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