Wondering whether you can clean the gutters yourself or hire someone to do it for you? Are you interested in learning how and when your gutters should be cleaned? Are you planning on selling a property in the near future and you want to boost its curb appeal? Then you have come to the right place.
Gutters should be cleaned regularly, twice a year to be more precise, and by a professional cleaner. However, for some households, roof gutters might need to be cleaned more often than for others. Sure, you may be able to do it yourself, without having hire a specialist, but what if something goes wrong?
Bricks + Agent's DIY Guide to Cleaning Gutters
It's not always recommended to clean the gutters on your own. But if you must do it, then you should know that if your house is double storey or more, then the job might be too dangerous.
If you are on a budget and you are confident that you can handle the job, the only things that you need for a successful gutter cleaning session are rubber gloves and a sturdy ladder. Ideally, you should go through this process at least twice a year, and if there are many trees in your area, then you may have to clean them more often.
It is important to be thorough and to make sure that you remove all the debris and the fallen leaves. By wearing rubber gloves you ensure that your hands are kept clean and that you don’t get any scratches or splinters.
Working from a safe and sturdy ladder will ensure cleaning the gutters goes smoothly. A specialist would probably prefer to work from the roof, solely because they know how to work on the different types of roofing without doing any damage. It is important to remember that for two-storey houses, you should always consider hiring a professional gutter cleaner. A professional cleaner will do the work quickly by using safety equipment and by knowing how to handle heights.
Here are the most important steps to take while cleaning house gutters:
- Make sure you have everything you need: rubber gloves, sturdy ladder, a bucket, and a brush. You might also like to consider a ladder attachment where you can put your bucket and your brush.
- Start by removing all the debris from one section of the gutter. Avoid leaning too much, as it can tip the ladder and you might fall off. When you need to move to another section, simply move the ladder. After all the debris was removed by hand, use your brush to clean any leftover dirt.
- Check the gutter’s fastenings and whether there are any loose screws. In case you find any of these things, you should repair them, as these issues can lead to gutter sagging and damaging.
Keep in mind that those steps must be repeated on each section of the gutter until the job is finished. Gutter cleanin should take no more than a few hours for an average size house. However, if the house is not built on a flat surface, it might be difficult to have stability on the ladder, so you might have to adjust the position of the ladder every time you move it. Use a ladder stabiliser or a piece of wood can stabalise you. Whatever you use to stabilise the ladder, make sure it is safe and it can support your weight.
Why is it important to clean the gutters regularly?
Cleaning your gutters regularly has numerous benefits such as:
- Clean gutters will last twice as long as dirty ones.
- If the gutters are clogged and overflow, water can infiltrate in your house and the repairs could be costly.
- By cleaning your gutters regularly you avoid getting the downpipes blocked by debris.
- You avoid creating a breeding ground for cockroaches, spiders, mosquitoes, or mice.
- If you live in an area prone to bushfires, by cleaning your gutters you avoid the risk of fire. Leaves and branches in your gutters can catch fire easily, which can, in turn, spread to your house.
Gutters are supposed to last a very long time, but even if gutters don't rust, they will still wear out much faster if they are not kept clean. Too much debris being stuck in the gutters and an excess of water can make them a lot heavier. If the gutters become too heavy, the fasteners can become damaged or they can sag. Sagged and damaged gutters will need repairs or even replacement, which can be much more costly than regular cleaning sessions.
If you have metal gutters and you do not clean them regularly, they will rust quickly. The rust can eat through them and water will leak through the holes instead of going to through the downpipes.
How often should the gutters be cleaned?
Generally, gutters should be cleaned twice a year, once in early summer and one in early winter to clean any fallen leaves. It is important to remove all the branches and leaves from the gutters because they are a fire hazard and they can also lead to clogged gutters and blocked downpipes.
If there are lots of trees near your house, you might have to clean the gutters more often. People who live in areas with lots of trees and vegetation should go through this cleaning process four times a year.
A way to reduce the amount of debris that gets collected in gutters is by buying gutter guards. These guards will stop large debris and leaves from reaching the gutters because they have a mesh surface. However, you should still remove the leaves in summer to avoid bushfires. In winter they will likely be washed away by rain.
As we’ve already mentioned, keeping your gutters clean and free from flammable debris is crucial, especially in summer. Bushfires are a threat even if they are not in the close vicinity because a falling object can get carried by the wind, reach a pile of dry leaves, and start a fire. The fire is likely to spread beyond the gutters and cause serious damage to your house.
Safety comes first!
Remember that cleaning the gutters can require you to climb a ladder, which can be dangerous. Working from heights poses many risks, especially if the ladder is not stable, or if terrain is not flat. Avoid having too many objects on the ladder, and use a ladder attachment for the bucket and brush. You should not work from the roof, as this is a technique that should only be used by professional gutter cleaners.
Keep in mind that it only takes one slip to tip a ladder and a fall from that height can be very painful, which is why we strongly recommend hiring a professional team of gutter cleaners.
If you need help finding a local gutter cleaning specialist, then jump on the Bricks + Agent homeowners hub and post your job. It's quick, easy, and free.