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Cleaning your Rain Gutters

Cleaning your Rain Gutters

Published: 09/30/2010 by Article Team

» Gutter Cleaning

At least twice a year, it’s recommended that you grab your ladder, a pair of gloves, and spend a couple hours tending to the gutters – once after fall and then once more after spring. If you’re home is close to trees, expect that number to double, especially if the trees in your area drastically change throughout the seasons. There are services specializing in providing routine gutter cleaning for about $100, but if you decide to do it yourself, keep these tips in mind when you’re up on the ladder. That way you’ll be guaranteed that the job is done safely and successfully every time.


First and foremost, make certain you have the right ladder for the job – never use a step ladder on anything taller than single story! When you reach up, your center of gravity will be shifted dangerously high, and your hands will be in the gutter if you begin to lose your balance. Always use a telescoping or pole ladder for two or three stories, being ever conscious of the power lines surrounding your home. Also, avoid resting the ladder on the gutters themselves – gutters dent and crush very easily, so try resting the ladder either directly underneath the gutter, or use a ladder stabilizer. Using a ladder stabilizer, such as the Ladder-Max, protects your gutters and gives you added stability, while safely resting on your roof.


Gutter cleaning tools, like gutter scoops, ladles, and garden trowels, seem like practical gear to make the chore easier but when you’re up on a ladder holding a bucket, adding another tool to the mix just seems impractical and unsafe. A pair of utility gloves is perfect for the job, and will only cost you a few dollars at the hardware store. You should invest in a pair either way – you’ll want to protect your hands from sharp gutter edges, regardless.


Inspect and clean all of your downspout screens if you have any. If not, consider running to the home improvement store and grabbing a few to install. They’re cheap, and they’ll prevent downspout blockages, which can be incredibly frustrating to clean.


The caked-on mud and debris that you find in your gutter channel can be nearly impossible to remove without damaging the gutter itself. Don’t try to chisel it to pieces, or use a sharp tool to slice it out. Instead, use water to dampen the debris; the moisture will make it softer and infinitely easier to scoop out.


While cleaning your gutters, make sure to inspect all of the components holding it together. This is the perfect time to catch a problem before it becomes a catastrophe, so check gutter channels and brackets for rust and other signs of needed repair.