Gutter Cleaning 101

Gutters are one of those things you don’t really pay much attention to until something goes wrong with them. If you have leaves and other debris clogging up your gutter, the functionality of your entire roofing system will be compromised and that not only causes little issues in the short term, but can cause serious long-term damage, inside and out!

Ensuring your guttering is functioning properly is extremely important and prevents issues like gutter damage, guttering collapse, roof warping and leaking. The easiest way of doing this is to prevent blocked gutters in the first place by lopping or removing overhanging trees, or by installing gutter guard mesh (which will actually not work 100% if there are still overhanging trees). The second easiest way is to clean your gutters regularly. Here’s how:

Recommended tools:

  • A sturdy ladder
  • A bucket or tough bag
  • Thick work gloves
  • A gutter cleaning tool
  • Your garden hose
  • White tape or bright removable paint
  • Silicone Sealant

Step 1:

At Canberra Tree Lopping, we are proponents of putting safety first, so we recommend you use a very sturdy ladder or scaffolding that suits the conditions. When positioning the ladder, ensure it’s on level ground and doesn’t tip or become overweighted when you climb it. If you can’t achieve this, then it’s better to be safe than sorry and you should call in a professional to do the job for you. It’s also vitally important to always be alert of your surroundings when you’re working at height, so don’t clean your gutter if you’re affected by drugs or alcohol.

Step 2:

After securing your ladder, climb up to a height that allows you to comfortably see inside your gutters. Put your gloves on and using a scooping motion, scoop out as much of the debris as you can and put it into your bucket or bag. If you have a gutter cleaning tool, you can use this first to scrape out the muck, but you’ll likely need to use your hands at some point. Continue to do this around the perimeter of your home until all your guttering is clear of blockages.

 Step 3:

 Once all the debris has been removed, you can grab your garden hose and again, inching your way around your roof, run some water through your guttering system to see if everything is flowing properly. This will also clean out any remaining small particles. Take note of any leaks, damage or areas where water appears to be pooling. It’s a great idea to mark these areas with some white tape or a bright, non-permanent paint.

Step 4:

Hopefully, your guttering will be in tip-top shape with no holes, sagging or pooling water, but unfortunately, this is rare. If your guttering isn’t great, it’s a good idea to bring in a professional to make repairs and adjustments for you. If you want to DIY though, you can remove and treat any rust with a rust preventer, followed by patching up and holes you find with good quality silicone or gutter sealant. If you have pooling water, you can try to bend the hangers to a gentle downward slope so that water runs towards the downpipe. Be careful doing this though, as one wrong or forceful bend can cause even bigger issues. Don’t forget to run water through your gutter again to test the water flow after completing repairs.

NOTE: If you notice any sagging gutters, these will need to be repaired asap, as they cause the entire system to be useless. Most sagging gutters are caused by a loose nail or screw, so it’s as easy as tightening or replacing these; however, of this is not the cause, you’ll likely need to replace the guttering or call in a professional.

Step 5:

After cleaning and repairing your gutter, the last step is to ensure your downpipes are working properly. Grab your garden hose again and turn it up high enough to cause a storm-like flow of water above your downpipe outlet. The water should rush down with no problem, but if you notice it’s blocked or the water flow seems slow, you can push your garden hose into the pipe from the bottom up to unclog it. If this doesn’t work, you might need to use a plumber’s snake or call in a professional plumber.

If you’ve followed the above steps and continue to maintain your guttering, you’ll avoid any nasty problems in the future. It’s recommended to clean your gutters at least twice a year; however, if you have overhanging trees, you’ll have to pull the ladder out at least every two months. This is one of the reasons why it’s wise to have any overhanging branches lopped and the surrounding trees checked by a skilled arborist, who will be able to prevent clogged gutters for you in the future. The friendly and professional team at Canberra Tree Lopping can do this for you fuss free and for a great price, so give us a call today and we’ll help you keep your annoying gutter cleaning days to a minimum.

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