Elena K, Hometalk Team
Elena K, Hometalk Team
  • Hometalker
  • Ozone Park, NY

DIY Tip -Top Gutter Cleaning 101

9 Materials
Medium

If you’re new to house keeping or home ownership, I bet last thing in your mind is cleaning your gutters. Or maybe you never thought keeping 'em clean was such a big deal — Right?
Well, here’s why you should you care: the last thing you want is a clogged gutter! Overtime they may lead to big problems.
Cleaning gutters is a lot easier than you may think, and with a little prevention, totally pain free.
Clean Gutter = Happy Basement & Foundation :)
Clean Gutter = Happy Basement & Foundation :)
A clogging problem can lead to sagging gutters, ice damming, or worse yet, a FLOODED BASEMENT or FOUNDATION PROBLEMS.
Leaves and other debris will accumulate — especially in Fall or after a storm — so a biannual cleaning is recommended. (Three times if you’re in wooded areas in the Northeast.)
We do ours late Fall, after trees shed their leaves, and again sometime in summer.
TIP: For the Ladies out there — If climbing ladders is not how you like to have fun, enroll your husband or big brother, or hire someone to do the job.
Either way, don’t neglect your gutters!
Get your tools ready and let’s get started!
Get your tools ready and let’s get started!
STEP 1: GATHERING TOOLS COMES FIRST
For the DIYers out there, here’s what you’ll need:
— EXTENDABLE or EXTENSION LADDER :
— GLOVES
— LONG SHIRT
— GUTTER SCOOP (optional):
— HOSE (optional)
In addition, if you want to do an A job — and keep gutters clean for a long time — you can also get:
— GUTTER CLEANING ATTACHMENT (optional)
— GUTTER GUARDS MESH (optional)
— ROUND WIRE GUTTER STRAINERS (optional)
— RODENT GUTTER GUARD:
Got your tools ready? Let’s get started!
Don't rush! Make sure your ladder is well set
Don't rush! Make sure your ladder is well set
STEP 2: SAFETY FIRST! TAKE YOUR TIME TO SET YOUR LADDER CAREFULLY
Setting your ladder at the CORRECT ANGLE is key.
TIP: To set it properly put your toes against the ladder's feet, stand straight up and extend your arms. The palms of your hands should just reach the ladder's rung. That should give you the angle.
If you need to set one foot on a step, use an LADDER LEVELER KIT (As shown in the picture.)
Also make sure the feet won't slip backward!
— On SOFT ground, FLIP UP THE ladder SHOES so the spurs poke into the ground
— On HARD SURFACES, CLEAN the bottom of the FEET and SWEEP and remove dirt off the GROUND before setting up the ladder.
TIP: For extra safety, consider installing a cleat to prevent the ladder moving backward.
If your set up is a tricky one, check this article for more tips:
http://www.familyhandyman.com/tools/tips-and-techniques-for-safe-extension-ladder-setup-and-use/view-all
Now — IS YOUR LADDER SAFE? Let’s go up and get the work done!
Ready? Time to get those leaves out!
Ready? Time to get those leaves out!
STEP 3: CLEANING YOUR GUTTERS IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK!
Let me tell you: I’ll claim a pyramid but I won’t go up on a tall ladder! So men out there , time to give your ladies a hand. :-)
TIP: Your ladder should be long enough for your to see the gutters while you’re cleaning them.
This is the “easy” part: Wear your GLOVES and a LONG SLEEVE SHIRT and remove debris with your hand or a gutter scoop.
I know, hubs forgot to wear his gloves, but don't forget to wear yours! Ya never know what you can find up there.
Seriously!
diy tip top gutter cleaning 101, cleaning tips, roofing
Almost there! Let's wrap this gutter up and move on.
Once you’ve removed all visible debris off, get the hose and FLUSH the GUTTER with water to check for proper flow.
Do you think is clean enough? Let’s test it!
Do you think is clean enough? Let’s test it!
STEP 4 (RECOMMENDED): DO YOU THINK IS CLEAN ENOUGH? LET’S FLUSH IT!
You can use a gutter cleaning attachment as shown in the picture.
Go down the ladder — or have someone down — and check water coming off the down (or vertical) spouts for any lodged debris.
If there is a clog, remove the nozzle and work the hose up the down spout as you hose.
Repeat until is clear.
Flushing down open gutters is next in line!
Flushing down open gutters is next in line!
STEP 5 (RECOMMENDED): LET’S TAKE CARE OF THE DOWN GUTTERS NEXT!
Now that your top — i.e. horizontal — gutters are ok, let’s check those open down — i.e. vertical — spouts for any lodged debris!
Put the hose on full force and SPRAY the VERTICAL SPOUT first from the TOP then from the GROUND. If the volume of water coming out is less, there is a clog.
If clogged, flush the hose up the vertical spout at the ground level and again from the top.
Repeat until is clear.
NOTE: You may need to call a GUTTER CLEANING SERVICE if the clog persists. Don’t delay!
Let me repeat myself: clogged gutters can even cause foundation problems when left unattended.
Protecting your gutters will save you time!
Protecting your gutters will save you time!
STEP 6 (RECOMMENDED): DID YOU HEAR ABOUT PREVENTION? ;-)
Ever since we installed MESH and STRAINERS, gutter cleaning has gotten a lot easier for us!
Want to make sure yours stay clean for a long time? Use guards to prevent debris from accumulating.
When it comes to MESH GUARDS, you can chose from plastic to aluminum, even foam (my least favorite), most are inexpensive — so no excuses!
Ours have been there for a few years - bet you can tell! - and still do a nice job keeping it clean
Don't forget about Half Round Strainers!
Don't forget about Half Round Strainers!
To cap the vertical gutters from the top, use HALF ROUND STRAINERS, either copper or aluminum, are great to avoid leaves and other debris into the down (vertical) gutter.
Finally RODENT GUARDS.
In some areas, down gutters can make a nice lil nest for small rodents — Not cute! So use GUARDS to prevent critters turning your down spout into a cozy home for the family. :-)
Can’t find help? Cleaning tool to the rescue!
Can’t find help? Cleaning tool to the rescue!
STEP 7: NOBODY HERE TO HELP? YOU CAN DO IT FROM THE GROUND!
Let’s say you can’t find anyone to clean your gutters or are unable to do it yourself. No worries.
Get a CLEANING TOOL that you can use from the ground!
It won’t likely do such as good job as going up on the ladder, but hey — better than nothing. Don’t you think? Here’s a good option: http://www.improvementscatalog.com/imp/10150?cm_mmc=Nextag-_-ProdAds-_-2016-_-Main&code-macs=MM6XNEXTAG&SourceCode=%20MM6XNEXTAG&CAWELAID=120245390000232930&ntclickid=-8574134589208860081
And that makes it for gutter cleaning 101.
If you like this post, follow me: Next time I’ll show you how to make an easy DIY ironing board wall storage.
Happy Holidays you all!

Suggested materials:

  • EXTENDABLE (or EXTENSION) LADDER  (Home Depot)
  • GLOVES  (Home Depot)
  • LONG SHIRT
See all materials

Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Normanda
    on Jan 11, 2017

    can you use a leaf blower or pressure washer to clean gutters? I seem to remember one of these methods used

  • Wilmer Leichty
    on Jan 12, 2017

    Where do you purchase the wand you show?

  • Wilmer Leichty
    on Jan 21, 2017

    Where do ou purchase the wand you show? does it cinnect to garden hose or do you need a power washer?

    • Donna Marie
      on Jan 21, 2017

      I got mine at Lowe's and it does connect to a hose. Has interchangeable end on it so you can scrape as you go or just spray or even run a steady stream of water. With mine, if u use the scraper end, there are small holes for the water to come out, so increasing the water volume increases the water pressure which helps with removing debris.

Join the conversation

2 of 32 comments
  • Peg12679924
    on Jan 20, 2017

    I have the (roll) of gutter guards in my gutters too. They're not expensive and work great. They cut easy (I overlap them and also 'notch' them around the gutter screws) To clean the gutters (before installing guard) I repurpose kitchen spatulas; perfect fit and lift in the gutter!

  • Deb
    on Jan 30, 2017

    Just noting that you should probably still inspect/clean the gutters even after putting strainers on the vertical gutters. We moved into our house a year ago, did not realize there were strainers on top of the vertical gutter, and noticed that there was a big ball of moss and debris on top of the area it is supposed to go down. Personally, I thought it was a dead mouse or something like that and it took all I had to reach in and pull it up. Realized it was just a mesh covering that was unrecognizable.

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