Clean, well-maintained gutters can enhance the look of your home. Poorly-maintained gutters can turn your lovely exterior into a shoddy-looking mess. Unfortunately, maintaining gutters is one of the least favorite chores of home owners everywhere. Here are tips from the pros that will make cleaning and maintaining your gutters easier for you:
1. Cleaning Schedule
Come up with a cleaning schedule that suits you. Experts like Pat Curry, former senior editor at Builder magazine, suggest cleaning gutters at least once a year. If your yard is heavily wooded or you have trees or other landscaping that hangs over your roof, twice-yearly cleaning is more ideal. The more often you clean out your gutters, the less cumbersome the task will be. Many home owners find that a good clean-out after the leaves fall, and one when spring turns to summer can keep your gutters operating as they should.
2. Use the Right Tools
Ditch the garden gloves and shovel. There are tools that are specially designed for cleaning out your gutters. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to clean your gutters with these relatively inexpensive tools. According to gutter cleaning pro, Robert Lenney, a garden hose and the Gutter Getter Scoop, available at most home improvement stores, will be your new best friends when it comes time to clearing debris out of your gutter. Simple aim your hose toward the down slope in your gutter, turn it on and scoop out debris that collects in the lower end of the gutter.
3. Check For Damage
Brad Staggs, a home repair expert on the DIY Network, advises to visually and manually inspect your gutters. Once you have cleaned your gutters, take a close look at all of your gutter spikes to make sure they are stable. Also take a good look at any gutter joints, including those in your downspouts, to make sure they are holding firm. Replacing one or two spikes is easier and cheaper than having to replace your whole gutter system. A hand-held inspection mirror can help you inspect your gutters without the need to climb up and down a ladder multiple times.
4. Work From the Bottom Up
One of the most useful tips comes from Don Vandervort, home-improvement author and do-it-yourself expert: Instead of working from the top, start at the bottom; when it comes to your downspouts, that is. If your downspouts become clogged and a good spray from the hose won’t clear them out, grab a plumber’s auger and thread it into the bottom of your downspout. The snake will either push the debris up and out or pull it back as you withdraw the auger.
5. Gutter Guards
The Money Pit is one of the leading websites on home repair and maintenance. According to the site, installing gutter guards, after you’ve cleaned your gutters, is one of the best and easiest ways to keep them free of debris. Gutter guards can cut your maintenance time in half and, depending on which you choose, you may never have to clean your gutters again. Guards can be costly, depending on the ones you pick, but even cheap varieties can lessen the time it takes to clean your gutters.
With the right tools, including scoops and inspection mirrors, the best practices and a proper maintenance schedule, you can keep your gutters looking and functioning like new. If you’ve been resisting pulling out the ladder and getting your gutters cleaned out, it’s time to bite the bullet. Use the tips above to make the job as quick and painless as it can be.
Claire Taylor writes for home improvement blogs with useful ideas to make work easier. Hint #43-Seeing the gutters can be done safely with the help of MirrorPros vehicle inspection mirrors instead of a ladder.