Cleaning and Maintaining Your Gutters for Roofing Protection
An oft-lamented task of sitcom husbands for decades, cleaning the gutters is rarely a high priority on anyone’s list.
It’s a dirty, labor-intensive job that also includes ladders and heights. It doesn’t significantly improve the look of the home and roofing (on the surface), and even if we dedicated a whole weekend to the task, no one would really be able to tell that we’d did anything at all.
So, it’s no surprise that it’s one of those chores that goes forgotten so often. However, neglecting the gutters can lead to a whole host of problems that can cause thousands of dollars-worth of damage down the line.
Unfortunately, leaving the gutters to get worse and worse can cause a lot more frustration and pain – rather than doing a few hours of work.
Gutters that fill with leaves and debris can overflow and cause water damage to the roofing and anything beneath the ceiling. The siding on the house can start rotting, and the uncontrolled flow of water can drown flower gardens and other valuable plants.
If the debris gets heavy enough, they can even break the gutters and cause them to fall, not only damaging more property, but potentially causing serious injury as well.
If you live in a cold area, chunks of leaves and water can freeze into solid bricks of ice that can cause even more damage to property and be much harder to remove than some old leaves.
Luckily, a would-be gutter cleaner won’t be up on their ladder every couple of weeks while pondering if home ownership maybe isn’t worth it.
Obviously if the gutters are full and no one can remember the last time they were cleaned, now’s the time. However, it’s generally considered standard to clean the gutters every six months.
It would be wise to put one gutter-cleaning session either right before Fall (when most people are going to have the heaviest load of leaves), or right after Fall, when the gutters are at their fullest. The other bi-annual cleaning can be six months from that Fall appointment.
Don’t have the time or the love of heights and rickety ladders? Anyone can hire a service to clean their gutters for them.
According to Home Advisor, the typical price range for a gutter-cleaning service (which will also clean the downspouts) is between $100 and $200 on average, with high end costs reaching up to $330.
Whether that’s worth it – and remember: it has to happen twice a year – will depend on the budget, but it is an option for saving time and hassle.
To clean our own gutters, we’ll need the following: a hand trowel, a garbage bag, a ladder, eye protection, gloves, and maybe a hose with decent water pressure. Wearing a dust mask, rebreather, or even a bandana around the mouth will also help immensely.
We can clear most of the blockages with a trowel, but the hose (and maybe a brush) could be handy for cleaning off stubborn mud and other bits of stuck debris. The hose will also allow us to flush out the downspouts, an oft-forgotten step in the gutter-cleaning process.
It’s not exactly an exciting task filled with adventure and deep personal insights, but regularly cleaning the gutters can ultimately save thousands of dollars and a lot of frustration with future roofing troubles.
If the home owner is also a fan of sustainability, they could also use all that half-decayed plant manner they’ve scooped out of their gutters to start (or add to) their compost heap.
We have to clean those gutters, we might as well get something out of it, right?
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