When gutters fill with leaves, sticks and other debris, this can cause clogs and result in water creeping under the roof and sometimes, into the foundation. That’s why it’s important to be cleaning out your gutters every so often.
You should clean your gutters at a minimum of once a year. You should do it more often if you have overhanging trees or after a big storm. Below are 6 steps to cleaning your gutters.
1. Make sure you have a good, sturdy, extendable ladder. Always place the ladder on a sturdy surface (beware of uneven gorund). You can use a ladder stabilizer for safety and to help prevent damage to the gutters. Also, it’s best to have a helper in case you drop something or need a hand with the ladder, or to call 911 when you fall.
2. Dress for the job. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, work pants and rubber gloves. Cleaning gutters is a dirty job.
3. To remove the gunk from the gutters, use a small, plastic scoop. Gutter scoops are available at the hardware store, or a child’s sandbox shovel also works just fine. If you have an old plastic kitchen spatula, that works too, and it won’t damage the gutters. Better yet, hire a professional exterior cleaning service to do the job for you!
Issues Caused By Clogged Gutters
Leaking Basements and Cracked Foundations: Clogged gutters are the number one cause of basement water problems. Roof water overflows and accumulates around the foundation. If this happens, basement leaks may be moments away, and excess water against the foundation can weaken the footings and lead to cracks.
Leaking Roofs: In winter, ice dams can form on top of clogged gutters. Snow then builds up across the top of the clogged gutter and freezes. During the next thaw, water running off the roof is blocked by the frozen snow and backs up into the house. This can lead to major wall and ceiling damage.
Washed Out Landscaping: Any newly installed plants, grass or trees can be killed by excess water from clogged gutters. Overflowing gutters can cause severe erosion and put an early end to young plantings.
Slippery Sidewalks: Overflowing gutters can deposit water on walks and driveways where it can freeze and cause a slipping hazard. Avoid this problem by keeping gutters clean and the spouts extended away from any traffic areas.
Rotted Wood: When gutters have debris piled up above the flashing or shingle line, the debris can hold moisture on the fascia board. The moisture can also affect the roof sheathing and framing beyond the fascia. The debris acts like a wick and brings water in the bottom of the gutter up to the fascia. Many homeowners have spent THOUSANDS of dollars replacing rotted wood that an inexpensive professional gutter cleaning by Action Gutter could have prevented. Animals and Wood Destroying Insects: Lack of cleaning will also cause water to pond in areas dammed by debris. This condition is ideal for breeding mosquitoes. Bugs love moisture. Plants, birds, insects and even mice will make a home in gutter debris.
Sagging Driveways: Clogged gutters and downspouts can also cause driveway and walkways to sag and crack.
Wood Destroying Insects: Bugs love moisture. Keeping gutters free of clogs and keeping the soil dry around the foundation perimeter can force bugs to go elsewhere for a tasty snack of dampened two-by-four.