Tips For Cleaning and Repairing Gutters

  • There are just a few steps to follow in order to maintain gutters. First, climb a ladder and clean the goop out of the gutters. The decomposed leaves make great mulch or compost. Pay particular attention to the downspout. If leaves and debris are clogging it, water won't drain properly, and along with mildew and mud you'll end up with sagging gutters.
  • Check all the spikes that are supposed to go through the gutter, through the fascia board and into the rafter behind it. At most homes, these spikes miss the rafters entirely, usually because the spike has just worked its way out of the hole over the years. It's a good idea to invest in new gutter spikes so the gutters are securely fastened once again.
  • Another thing you want to look at are the sources of any leaks, including holes in the gutters and cracked caulking in the seams. Use an old chisel to scrape the old caulking out and dry the area thoroughly. Then use new bead silicon sealing to keep water from getting down behind the gutters and rotting the boards.
  • During this inspection, check out the rivets on the downspout. Frequently they'll be loose or will have dropped out completely, all that is needed is a rivet gun to secure them anew.
  • A pressure washer won't hurt the gutters provided you've secured the gutters with screws or new spikes. The real key is to avoid hitting the gutters at too high an angle or you'll blow the shingles off with a high-pressure stream of water.
  • If the gutters are rusting, they are very old. They've moved to aluminum and vinyl gutters now, and they don't rust. You might want to consider new gutters. But if you're going to stay with the old ones, get all the rust off, sand them down, paint them with a good primer and then with a good-quality rust-inhibiting paint.
  • A splash block is a very important element. It keeps the water coming out of the downspouts from digging a trench next to the house, and it keeps water away from the home's foundation.
Here are some bonus tips when replacing gutter spikes:
  • Remove the old gutter spikes and ferrules (the large spacers that keep the gutter walls from collapsing while you drill), installing each new set as soon as you remove the old one.
  • Position the new ferrule inside the gutter, directly behind the existing spike hole.
  • Insert the gutter screw into the existing spike hole. Use a standard variable-speed drill, electric or cordless, to slowly thread the fastener through the spike hole and the ferrule and then into the existing fascia hole.
  • Thread the fastener until the head is even with the gutter and the screw has engaged with the rafters on the other side of the fascia board.
Gather your tools before you start.
  • Gloves: these help because not only do they keep your hands clean, but also protect against metal pieces and screws in the troughs
  • Trowel or scoop: again, these tools save your hands from grime and injury, but also speed up cleaning as you can just scoop and dump.
  • Ladder: some experienced gutter cleaners recommend using a tall step ladder for stability instead of an extension ladder. Having someone steady the bottom is also a good idea. For more on ladder safety, read our blog on 10 ladder safety tips.
  • Rake/Broom: leaves and debris should be raked and removed, including on the roof, so any rain won’t push more into the troughs.
  • Goggles: if anything splashes into your face, or something sharp gets flushed out of the gutter, your eyes are protected. They also keep insects and other critters from getting into your eyes.
  • Garbage bag: This makes clean up MUCH easier. Scoop and dispose!
Follow safety rules:
Practice safety every step of the way. Follow safety rules. Don’t stand on the top rungs, put a 2×4 in the trough to prevent crashing if you lean the ladder against it and only work on the roof in good weather. Don’t do troughs when it is windy, icy or wet. Wear sturdy shoes with good grip. Avoid leaning over the edges or working near power lines.
Regular Cleaning
Clean at least twice a year, maybe more if your house sits below the trees. It is a good idea to clean gutters in the spring and autumn, as these are the two times there will be the most leaves and debris to remove. By doing the cleaning now, there is less chance of blockage in the winter when it can freeze and crack the trough. Water will be able to flow properly. Spring cleaning prevents water damage due to runoff from a clogged gutter.
Repair and Maintain
Repair and maintain gutters prevent cracks, clogs and broken troughs right away. Even a little crack can cause big problems if left alone. By maintaining gutters, you are preventing damage to your home and keeping your investments safe. Clean gutters also keep your house in good condition and looking fresh. You will be preventing mold and critters from getting too comfortable as well.
Get a Professional
Perhaps the biggest of the gutter cleaning tips is if the job is too big, or too much for you to handle, always call a gutter cleaning service. If your house is over one story, it may be better to call a professional. They can do it safely and offer maintenance advice.
There are leaf-catching systems, but they still need to be cleaned by removing and rinsing the screens. They can be costly as well. Sometimes it is just better to call someone who specializes in this work and has all the tools and manpower ready.
Professionals help prevent property damage with their expertise and knowledge. They will do it right the first time and in good time.


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