We’ve all heard the phrase “out of sight, out of mind,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth regarding gutters. These unsung heroes are responsible for keeping rainwater from damaging your roof. Unfortunately, they are one of those things you don’t think about until there’s an issue, like water pouring down the sides of your house.
Cleaning gutters may not be glamorous, but neglecting them can lead to major headaches. You might have to deal with water damage, a cracked foundation, a pest infestation, or more.
Fortunately, you don’t want to wait until you’re knee-deep in water damage before taking action. All you need to do to avoid gutter blockage and related problems is to keep your gutters clean. Read on to learn some simple tips and tricks for keeping your gutters in tip-top shape.
Various Ways Blocked Gutters Can Damage Your Home
If your home cleaning checklist never includes gutters, you are putting your home at risk of water damage. Clogged gutters can cause a variety of problems, including:
When gutters become blocked, water can overflow and pool around the foundation. Over time, this water can erode the soil, crack your foundation, and leave you with repairs worth thousands of dollars. The water can also penetrate the walls, causing mold and mildew and triggering asthma or allergy symptoms in family members.
When gutters become clogged, water will overflow and accumulate on the roof’s surface, causing damage over time. This excess water can seep under the shingles and penetrate into the underlayment, causing rot, mold, and decay. Over time, the water can cause damage that may compromise the structural integrity of your roof.
Blocked gutters can also cause damage to the gutters themselves. As water pools around the blockage, it can put unnecessary stress on your gutter system. This stress can cause gutters to sag or pull away from the roofline if left unaddressed. In severe cases, the weight of the blockage can even cause the gutters to collapse entirely.
Blocked gutters can attract unwanted pests to your home. As water pools around the blockage, it can create the perfect environment for insects to breed, such as mosquitos. Additionally, rats and birds may find their way into your attic through the gutters. Given that these pests carry various diseases, it’s vital to address blocked gutters quickly.
After putting blood, sweat, and tears into creating a beautiful garden, the last thing you want to do is watch it get washed away. Unfortunately, this can happen if your gutters become blocked. Water overflows from the gutters can flood your flower beds, wash away soil, and damage plants.
Cleaning Gutters: The Best Way to Prevent Gutter Blockage
The best way to prevent gutter blockage is to clean your gutters regularly. Regular cleaning will prevent debris from piling up and causing a blockage. Here are some tips for cleaning your gutters:
Gather the Right Cleaning Tools and Equipment
You don’t need a lot of equipment to clean your gutters, but you need the right tools. Here are a few of the essential items:
Ladders and scaffolding: To access your gutters safely, you will need a ladder or scaffolding to reach higher areas. Ensure you use the right size ladder and that it’s sturdy before climbing to avoid toppling or slipping.
Gutter cleaning scoops and brushes: Gutter scoops are perfect for removing large debris such as twigs and leaves, while gutter brushes are great for getting into tight crevices and corners and sweeping smaller debris.
Garden hose and nozzle attachments: A garden hose with a nozzle attachment will help you flush out the gutters and remove any remaining debris after scooping and brushing. You can also use the hose to clean the downspouts.
Protective gear for safety: It is essential to wear protective gear during gutter cleaning to avoid cuts, scrapes, and falls. Put on gloves, goggles, a helmet, and a mask to protect your eyes and lungs from debris and particles that may come out of the gutters. Use non-slip footwear to avoid slipping and falling from the ladder or roof.
What to Do Before You Start Cleaning
Your gutter cleaning job will only be as good as the preparation you do before starting. That said, there are several things you should do before you start cleaning: The key ones include
Inspect the gutters and downspouts: Give your gutters and downspouts a thorough inspection to identify any signs of damage or wear. If you notice missing pieces, rust, or holes, make repairs before cleaning the gutters.
Secure loose gutters and downspouts: Ensure all gutter sections are properly secured to the fascia boards. Inspect each section for loose straps or brackets and tighten them if needed. If gutters and downspouts are not properly secured, they can become dislodged during the cleaning process, causing further damage to your home.
Check for any leaks or damage: Inspecting your gutters for leaks and cracks will help you identify damages that could cause future water damage to your home’s interior and exterior. If you find any visible cracks, leaks, or holes, address them immediately to prevent water overflow from these points or other significant issues.
Remove debris from the roof: Debris can accumulate on your roof and end up in the gutters. To prevent this, use a broom or a leaf blower to remove debris from the roof before cleaning the gutters.
What to Do When Cleaning the Gutters
After all the above preparations, it’s time to start the actual gutter-cleaning process. Here are some tips for getting the job done right:
Clear out large debris first: Using a pair of gloves, remove any large items, such as branches or sticks, by hand. This step will make removing smaller pieces of debris stuck further in the gutter easier.
Use a scoop or brush to remove small debris: A gutter scoop and brush will help you eliminate any remaining debris in the gutters. Insert the scoop into the gutter and pull out as much debris as you can before using the brush to sweep up any leftover dirt, leaves, and other particles.
Flush out the gutters: Use a garden hose with a nozzle attachment to flush water through the gutter to remove any remaining debris that may have stuck. Besides helping you clear any remaining debris in the gutter, flushing your gutters also helps you identify any clogs or leaks.
Check for any remaining debris: After flushing the gutters, check for any remaining debris. Look for any small debris that might be stuck in the gutters, especially at the joints of the gutters. Remove any remaining debris by hand by flushing it with the garden hose.
Clean the downspouts: Downspouts play a key role in directing water away from your home’s foundation, so it’s essential to ensure they are clean and blockage-free. Use a garden hose to flush debris from the downspouts, paying special attention to any bends or curves in the pipes. You can also use a plumbing snake to remove any stubborn debris.
Preventing Future Blockages
Cleaning your gutters is only one part of ensuring your home’s gutter system stays in good condition. You can do other things besides cleaning to minimize the risk of dealing with blocked gutters in the future. Start with the following tips:
Install Gutter Guards
Gutter guards are protective covers installed over gutters to prevent leaves, debris, and other materials from entering and clogging them. They will prevent blockage and minimize the need for regular gutter cleaning by allowing water to seamlessly enter the gutters while trapping debris that can cause clogging.
Trim Overhanging Tree Branches
Trees or plants near your home’s roof can be the primary source of debris in your gutters. Trim any branches that hang over your roof regularly to reduce the amount of debris entering the gutters and causing blockages.
Regularly Inspect Your Gutters
Even with gutter guards, regularly inspecting your gutters is vital, as they may still collect debris and cause clogs. Check your gutters for any signs of blockage, such as overflowing or standing water, and any damage that could lead to leaks.
During the inspection, you should also check your gutters’ positioning to ensure they are not sagging or pulling away from the roof. You should also ensure they are adequately sloped to allow proper water drainage. Regular inspection will help you spot small problems early before they grow into bigger ones.
Consider Professional Gutter Cleaning Services
If you can stand the thought of getting up a ladder or don’t have the time to do regular inspections, consider hiring a professional gutter cleaning service. Professional services have the right tools and experience to clean your gutters quickly, safely, and efficiently. They can also provide advice on any necessary repairs or maintenance you should do to prevent gutter blockages.
Prevent Gutter Blockage With Professional Gutter Cleaning Services
Proper gutter maintenance is essential for protecting your home from water damage caused by blocked gutters. The maintenance starts with regularly cleaning your gutters to remove any debris and dirt that may cause clogs and prevent future blockages.
If you want professional gutter cleaning services in Houston, Texas, our professionals at Advantage Pro Services can help. We will put our 20 years of cleaning experience to work for you, ensuring your gutters and downspouts stay free of debris and remain in good condition. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you maintain your gutters.