Clean and Maintain Your Gutters Like a Pro
No one likes cleaning out the gutter – any task that involves old, soggy leaves is a chore in our book. It is necessary to clear out your gutter at least once a year though, as any homeowner who has experienced the waterfall of rain and debris that results from neglected gutters will tell you.
According to HouseLogic, damage to a home's gutters, siding and foundation that can result from gutters that have gone uncleaned for too long can potentially total up to $10,000 – so there is real motivation for you to pull out the ladder and rubber gloves if you haven't yet this year. In case you're a new homeowner – or even if you're a veteran looking for some extra pointers – we have you covered with a step-by-step guide.
What you'll need
Wear an old, long-sleeved shirt that you don't care much about – it's probably going to get dirty. Rubber gloves are a good idea too, so that you don't have to get your fingers in all of that gross debris.
As far as equipment, you'll need an extendable ladder – preferably one with standoff stabilizers, or "ladder horns," to keep from damaging your gutter. You should also bring a small children's shovel to help you scoop out all of that gunk and a bucket to put it in. This debris can actually serve as excellent mulch, but you don't want it littered across your lawn.
Cleaning the gutters
DIY Network recommends that you pay special attention to the downspout – the part of the gutter that runs to the ground. If this gets blocked, you'll find water seeping over the edge of your gutter even if the rest of it is clear.
While you're scooping the mulch out of your gutter and into the bucket, make sure that you have someone to watch your ladder. Ladder accidents can be extremely dangerous, and many of them could be easily prevented with a spotter.
When you're done scooping out the mulch, you should have your spotter pass you up a hose, according to DIY Network. This way you can get the little bits and pieces of debris out that your shovel won't scoop, and you'll be able to see any leaks in your gutter.
Fixing any problems
Now that your gutters are clean, spend a little time maintaining them. Look for any holes or cracked caulking at the seams that leaks water when you are cleaning with your hose. To fix up these leaks, DIY Network suggests that you scrape away any old caulking, dry the area and use bead silicon sealing to patch the leak.
While you're on top of your ladder, check that your gutter spikes are going all the way into the rafter behind the gutter. If they don't – and in many homes they've worked their way out – invest in new gutter spikes and drive them through as soon as possible.
While you're working on your home, consider a TotalProtect® Home Warranty. A home warranty reduces much of the liability you face as a homeowner to a low, monthly payment.
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.