Homeowners know that gutter cleaning is an important part of home maintenance, but it can be a messy and time-consuming project, making it a job that many are happy to put off. But clogged gutters can lead to considerable problems, which is why it should be done frequently and well in advance of winter. But should you tackle the job yourself or leave it to the experts?
Costly Risks of Clogged Gutters
Some of the most dangerous or costly risks of not properly caring for your gutters are:
• Water damage to house foundation
• Mould growth — can cause respiratory problems, headaches and other health issues
• Accelerated rotting and weakening of wood
• Lowered house value
Tips for Guttering and Roof Maintenance
Clean The Roof: Before you tackle the gutters themselves, rake or power wash all debris off the roof. Otherwise, the next rain will wash all the debris down into the clean gutter and clog it up again. Debris left on the roof can lead to water damming up around the chimney or near heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, which can cause erosion and roof leaks.
Scoop Gutters: Scooping out leafy debris with a plastic scooping tool is one of the best methods for cleaning guttering. Plastic scooping tools have a front scooping edge, which is very thin and forms itself to the bottom of the gutter trough, making it easy to scoop out even the toughest debris in any sized gutter system. The bottom of the gutter and seams can be damaged and scratched by using a metal scooping tool. Scraping the bottom of a steel gutter can introduce areas to rust or speed up the rusting process.
Aluminium Gutter Guards: Using a quality aluminium gutter guard can eliminate the need for cleaning out gutters. These gutter protection systems help to keep out leaves and pine needles. Aluminium, which will not rust, outlasts any other gutter guards available.
Unclog Downspouts: After the guttering is cleaned, hose down the downspout at full pressure. If water backs up out of the top, a clog is present. Normally, it can be unclogged by tapping on the side of the downspout. Otherwise, the downspout and back need to be removed, and it should be flushed from the bottom.
Professional Service vs. DIY
It might seem simple to clean guttering yourself, but it is often quite the opposite. When done properly, it involves far more than simply scooping leaves from gutters. DIY is unsafe, takes longer, is not as thorough and won’t necessarily fix your problem. Roof maintenance professionals will have a truck full of tools to get to any part of the guttering and pipes that need a thorough and effective cleaning and repair job. Fully trained gutter cleaning professionals can point out these extra factors to you and even perform some repairs to your tiles.