Gutter maintenance is an easy do-it-yourself task that you can complete to keep your home dry and safe throughout the year. Ensuring your gutter system is working will pay off for the health of your home in the long run.  Water removal is the clear benefit of maintenance, however, there are long-term implications for your roof system that benefit as well. Leaving your gutters to fend for themselves can lead to potential mold, pest infestations, or leaky basements.  Gutter maintenance involves climbing up on a ladder. If you are uncomfortable with heights or balancing, look into a gutter cleaning company to complete the work for you.

What Do I Need For Gutter Maintenance?

Make sure that you have all the supplies to complete your gutter maintenance before dedicating time to it.
  • Ladder
You will need a tall enough ladder to access your gutters. It will need to be placed on a level surface, or someone can hold the ladder for you. Always keep your hips between the rails and never lean out. Additionally, you do not want to go above the top two steps of your ladder while cleaning your gutters. If you have gutters that are over a story high or near power lines, we recommend contacting a professional.  Additionally, do not go on your roof if there are icy, wet, or windy conditions. These are additional slip hazards, and you want to keep those at a minimum. 
  • Gloves
Gutters collect a ton of junk. Finding waterproof gloves to remove the rotten leaves, dirt, and debris will prevent you from having to clean under your fingernails.
  • Non-Slip Shoes
Finding non-slip shoes to wear while on the ladder will help keep you safe.
  • Garden hose
A garden hose is great for rinsing out some of the debris and dirt found in your gutters. Use a spray nozzle to spray out any gunk.
  • Gutter scoop
These handy scoops are great to pull decaying matter out of your gutters. They can be found at home improvement stores. 
  • Bucket
Having a bucket handy to collect the leaves and debris will prevent you from throwing out all over the yard. 

How Often Should I Clean My Gutters?

Shanco recommends cleaning your gutters twice a year; in the fall and the spring. However, you may need to clean them more often if you live under trees or have other circumstances.  By cleaning them out, you are prolonging their life. Additionally, you will be tuned in to any issues that present themselves. 

How Do I Clean My Gutters?

Climb your ladder and scoop out any debris that you find. Once you have removed all the debris, use your garden hose to spray away any debris that has collected in your gutters. By running water in your gutters, you will be able to tell if there is a blockage in your downspouts. If water backs up, you have a clog in your downspouts. Insert your hose down the spot and spray at full pressure. If the clog doesn't clear, you may need to use a plumber's snake to release the clog. After removing the clog, you can reattach any parts of the downspout. Flush the gutters once more to ensure that you removed the blockage. While you are on the ladder, take some time to complete the following tasks.

Clear Any Debris Off Your Roof 

Debris could come in the shape of pine cones, needles, leaves, branches, and more. Clearing the debris off the roof surface will prevent it from clogging your newly cleaned gutters.

Check the Condition of Your Gutters

Look for rust, evidence of leaks, and your gutter joints. Patch any holes that you find in your gutters. If a joint leaks, use a sealant and caulking to plug the leak. If you notice spots of rust, it likely means that your gutters will need replacing sooner than later. Call an expert to get an estimate on a full gutter replacement.  Look for loose gutter spikes. Loose spikes could indicate that your fascia is damaged because the spikes are pulling away. 

Inspect For Pest and Rodents

Rodents can use your gutters as their hang-out and can lead to blockage. Additionally, pests and rodents may work their way into your home from the gutters. 

Gutter Maintenance Can Head Off Larger Problems

Regular gutter maintenance is typically homeowner friendly way of getting ahead of any potential problems.  The benefit of removing collected debris to prevent back-ups, rot, mold, and pest infestation makes unearthing the ladder twice a year a necessary task.  Call Shanco today if you are concerned that your gutters are past their prime. We are a trusted local roofing company that has helped the residents of the Washington DC metro area, NOVA, and Richmond for over 20 years. Contact us today with any questions!