Simple Guide to Keep Your Eavestroughs Clean

May 17, 2021
Simple Guide to Keep Your Eavestroughs Clean

Learning how to clean gutters is the essential processes you need to master if you own a property. The process can be either simple or baffling depending on several factors, but regular cleaning is mandatory in clearing debris and dirt that accumulates over time. Sometimes professional gutter cleaning services are not necessary, so long as you have the right gutter cleaning tools like rubber gloves, work gloves, and information about the proper steps to follow.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Gutters

A gutter system plays a crucial function in protecting the home because it controls the flow of water from the rooflines when there is rain or snowmelt. The gutters ensure that the landscape, walls, foundation, and roof remain protected throughout the wet seasons by redirecting the water properly.

Gutters can only perform their role properly when they are clean. If they remain with debris for long, they could start sagging, the basement will be wet, and the mould will start growing. The roof could also become leaky, leading to excess moisture and damage inside the house. Rodents and pests also like to dwell in dirty gutters. All these are detrimental to the house and the people living in it. Without learning how to clean your gutters, you risk health complications from mould growth and expensive repairs in different parts of the house.

Professionals recommend that gutters be cleaned at least twice every year in spring and fall when the debris is likely to accumulate on the roof quickly. If there are pine trees close by, cleaning should be done at least once every three months.

Examine Gutters Condition and What to do with It

Regular maintenance of the gutter systems not only prevents problems but also makes the gutters last longer. However, even with the best maintenance, the gutters will need to be repaired or replaced at some point to maintain the level of protection they offered initially. Common signs of repairs or replacements are:

Splits

The smallest crack on the gutter system will become more problematic as time goes by. The splits also allow water to seep into the fascia boards, the foundation, and the shingles. The cracked sections of the gutter should be replaced as soon as possible.

Corrosion and paint damage

In most cases, the paint used on gutters is weather-resistant, but it may start to peel if it is exposed to water constantly. Rusting and peeling are signs that the system is clogged and requires immediate eavestrough cleaning. After clearing the blockage, repaint the gutters to restore their visual appeal.

Mould and paddling water

Pooling water or mildew growing near the foundation of the house are also symptoms of clogging or defects in the gutter. Start by removing the clog and if the problem persists, replace the specific parts of the gutter that are exhibiting the most problems.

Watermarks

Watermarks are mostly visible under the gutters, especially on a clear and sunny day. They usually indicate that the gutters have been leaking or overflowing, which is another common problem caused by blockages. If the eavestrough is not clogged, there could be cracks that must be sealed or replaced.

Sagging

If sagging or pulling occurs, the gutter is no longer draining water as it should. A complete replacement will be necessary, and if possible, the gutter should be upgraded with a new system with screens. Seamless gutters and gutter guards are also good options for upgrades.

Consult professionals to understand all your options for replacements and repairs.

Make Sure To Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts Right

Gutter cleaning should be done correctly to avoid damage to the roof and other parts of the house. The right gutter cleaning tools are mandatory for the water to be redirected properly away from the house.

The timing for the cleaning is also crucial. For instance, cleaning in early spring prepares the roof and eavestrough system for the heavy spring and summer rainfall. Cleaning in early fall also clears off the debris and other materials that may have gathered on the roof during the warmer season.

Cleaning after rainfall is not advised. Allow the roof to dry up for few days to make cleaning easier.

The right approach is to start from the downspout towards the closed section.

And Do Not Do It Without Ladder

Accidental falls during gutter cleaning are some of the common causes of injuries in Canada. Some of the ladder safety measures to consider are:

  • Getting a stable ladder and not climbing past the second-last rung
  • Using a step ladder on a levelled and sturdy surface whenever necessary
  • Having an extension ladder for two-storey properties
  • Maintaining the position of the ladder with a ladder stabilizer, especially when there is an extension

Look Out for Debris

Clear the debris from the gutter and dispose of it correctly. To make it easier, have two buckets; one for the debris and the other for the gutter cleaning tools. The following safety practices are essential.

  • Make sure to wear safety goggles in order to protect your eyes from dried leaves and dust
  • Protect your hands with gloves, especially when the gutter is damp
  • Secure the ladder on level ground before climbing
  • Start from the downspout and remembering to clean the strainer
  • Clear twigs and other large debris by hand
  • Use a gutter scoop or trowel to remove compacted debris. The scoop should be plastic for the safety of the roof.

Remember to Flush the Gutter

When all the debris is cleared, flush the gutter to remove the remaining smaller pieces. A garden hose can work, but it should be used with a spray nozzle. Flashing should begin at the far end towards the downspout, a reverse of how the debris is cleared. The water being sprayed should be powerful enough to clear the debris but should not be too strong for the roof. Under the roof shingles should not be sprayed.

For an easier cleaning process, use special attachments and a pressure washer for the gutter cleaning job.

And to Check, if the Downspouts is Clean

If, after cleaning the debris, the water used for washing is not draining quickly, the downspout could be clogged. There could be twigs and leaves lodged in the pipes, hindering the free flow of water. Spraying them with water is enough to remove them. Pay attention to how much water is coming out in comparison to what you are spraying in. Other tips to try are:

  • Feeding the hose into the downspout from the ground
  • Using full pressure water
  • Using a plumber’s drain snake to try to dislodge the debris

If the downspout and underground drainage pipe are connected, disconnect the lower part to have better access. If all these fails, call professional roofers.

Drainage and Slope Might be an Issue

Eavestrough cleaning will be fruitless if the gutter is not properly sloped to allow drainage. Flushing when the gutter does not have any debris will show you the direction of the water flow. Additionally, flushing when the gutter is clog-free also shows the presence of leaks.

Water that stands in the gutter shows that the slope is not enough. A proper slope is ¼ inches for every 10 feet towards the downspout. This can be solved by detaching the hangers and putting them back properly.

The gutters should always be properly secured after fixing the slope. You should also inspect the downspout and eavestrough for damage.

Final touches

When satisfied with the results of the cleaning, apply sealants where necessary. Follow the instructions on the sealants and target the seams and joints that have higher chances of leaking. You can also clean the outside of the gutters using pressure water. A new layer of paint can also make the gutter look as good as new.

The best way to protect the gutters and reduce the amount of work needed in future is by installing gutter screens. These systems cost more to install, but they reduce the need for regular cleaning without interfering with the effectiveness of the gutters.

You can always call professionals to clean the gutters for you, but that will be very costly because of how frequently the task should be done. Preventive measures through the installation of superior systems are the better alternative.

In a Nutshell

Cleaning your gutters may be an unpleasant task, but it is crucial. With this guide, you will be able to clean and perform minor repairs on the system to maintain its original functional state. Make sure you get all the right tools, including a ladder and protective gear for your safety and the safety of the roof. You can always let professionals at D’Angelo and Sons clean the eavestrough whenever you need it.

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