What you will find in the guide –
After hours of crawling the web for a gutter cleaning guide it seemed there wasn’t one around so as a gutter cleaning company we thought why not put together “The Ultimate Gutter Guide” to answer any questions you may have regarding your gutters.
Lets get to it….
Do it yourself DIY Gutter Cleaning: Removing the muck that’s stopping your guttering from doing its job may not be as easy as you think and definitely isn’t a job for the faint hearted.
Well your guttering needs to be kept clear from moss, leaves and all other debris in order for them to do their job (collect rain water from your roof keeping the side of your home dry and exiting the water runoff down the down-pipe into the grounds drain). Most houses only require their gutters to be cleared once a year but other house’s can need clearing twice a year. Houses that normally only need the guttering cleared annually are town houses that are not surrounded by trees etc, with this being said if your homes roof is covered in moss then unfortunately you may require the cleaning twice a year. This is due to the fact that birds and the weather conditions cause the moss to fall into the guttering, filling them with debris preventing the water to run off freely. It’s always advised to have the moss removed from your roof by a professional roof cleaning company.
Below is our gutter cleaning infographic with information on the best times of the year to have your gutters cleaned
You can add this infographic to you site by using the link below –
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Below is a list of telltale signs that your gutters need emptying
Plant Growth – Stand back and take a look at your gutters, can you visibly see anything sticking out of the top of your guttering? The most common thing to be growing out of gutters are weeds and grass. Due to all the sun and water gutters receive and the silt laying in the bottom of the guttering this is ideal growing medium for plants to grow, they soon start rooting and before you know it you have chunks of grass or tall weeds growing in your gutters if left unmaintained. See the photo below of some grass we removed from a set of gutters.
Leaking Gutters – If you have noticed water leaking over the top over you guttering then this a definite sign that your gutters desperately need clearing. The reason the water is over flowing is due to the fact it can’t make its way to the outlet and flow down to the drain as it should so its only way out from the gutter is at the lowest point which then in heavy rain leaves you with a water fall coming flowing down the side of your property which is the last thing any home owner needs.
Sagging Gutter – If you notice your gutters are sagging this is another sign they are in urgent need of being cleaned and maybe even repaired. What causes the gutters to sag is simply the weight of muck, leaves, moss and silt mixed with water which can get very very heavy and the guttering can only take so much before it gives. Take a look at the sagging gutter below.
Staining And Damp Patches – If you notice any signs of either staining or damp then there could be standing water present. This could lead to unneeded and unwanted costly repairs (rotting fascia boards, internal and external damp issues) It stands a chance the standing water cannot flow due to the gutters needing clearing and the blockage is restricting the water-flow.
Previous Cleaning – If you have lived in your home for over 12 months and haven’t cleared the gutters within this time then it’s highly recommended to clear them out and carry out an inspection to make sure the rain system is in full working order.
We couldn’t just give you that as an answer but in the long and the short of it that is the answer.
Not clearing your gutters only leads to problem and costly ones at that.
We understand the last thing you want to be doing on your weekend off from work is getting up a ladder and get filthy dirty pulling all sorts of smelly horrible muck and dead insects/pests from your gutters but unfortunately it has to be done. This is why there are more and more gutter cleaning company’s setting up as there really is demand for professional gutter cleaners. Not only is it a job home owners hate doing but a risky one at that, when using ladders at roof height this could end up in a serious injury.
So your gutters need clearing and you don’t want to do them yourself, take a look at our “four steps to clear gutters” infograph below –
You can add this infographic to you site by using the link below –
Anyway, back onto the topic of how important it is to have your gutters cleared, below is a list of some of the main importances as to why you should get them cleared –
Damage To Gutters – when blocked the weight of the water can really put a strain on your gutters and fixings. When under load the gutter brackets can break, joining brackets split or even worse the whole guttering falling off the fascia board.
Rotting – Clogged gutters can lead to standing water as we spoke about earlier which in-turn can rot your fascia boards or even worse the end of your roofs rafters.
Damp And Mould – When blocked, water can splash back onto your home. With continuous water splashing up your home this can lead to penetrating damp, once there is a damp issue within your home it’s not a cheap fix and very hard to get rid of.
Signs of penetrating damp are –
Not only are these issues costly and unsightly but they can also be bad for your health, take a look at what the NHS have to say regarding mould in your home –
Most home owners these days do not even own a set of ladders but if you are one of the few that do before you decide to undertake some DIY gutter cleaning and climb that ladder and getting all mucky it may be worth having a read of the 6 reasons why it may not be such a good idea to listed below.
Reason 1. Risk Of A Fall
Climbing a ladder to the height of your homes gutters with a bucket in one hand and and scoop in the other whilst trying to balance on the ladders is a daunting task for most people and a risky one at that, if you were to lose your balance or overreach just slightly causing the ladders to slip you could be seriously injured.
Did you know how many people seriously injur themselves every year falling from ladders?
Take a look at the stats for both the U.S and the UK
As you can see below the graph taken from the HSE government website 28% of all injury’s that happen within the UK are falling from a height
Reason 2. Dirty Job –
Do you really fancy getting your hands in months worth of silt, moss, insects whatever else you may find in your gutters to try and scoop it all out? Not forgetting constantly climbing up and down the ladders to move around your home and empty the bucket loads of muck you have removed.
Reason 3. Time –
Most home owners work Monday to Friday and enjoy their time on the weekend to spend time with family or friends. The last thing you really want to be doing is getting the ladder out of the garage (if you have any) dragging your partner outside for a couple of hours to foot the ladders for you to help prevent them slipping and then starting to attempt to clear the gutters. Then you find the downpipes are blocked…. Are you going to spend more time trying to take apart the offset bend to your downpipe to clear that? What happens when you get to a part of the guttering you can’t reach like above a conservatory or over a lower roof/extension?
You could just call a professional gutter cleaning company who will do a much more thorough job and charge very little for the service. Not to mention it is a lot less hassle and mess hiring a professional leaving you to do the things your enjoy.
Reason 4. Peace Of Mind –
At least hiring a professional you have full peace of mind that your gutters are in full working order. Most company’s once they have removed the muck carry out a water flow check making sure there are no leaks present and your guttering is ready to deal with whatever the weather throws at it for the next 12 months or so.
Reason 5. Money –
Trying to save money by thinking “I can do that myself” can sometimes end up backfiring. If you’re not 100% sure of what you’re doing you could easily damage the guttering by leaning the ladders on them causing a crack. Not to mention if you ended up having a fall meaning you can’t go about your daily life for a number of weeks.
Now you can see why it’s a wise idea to hire your local gutter cleaning company.
Before we go any further it really isn’t a good idea to clean your own gutters, I would consider calling a local gutter expert. Failing that and if you feel confident enough to tackle this job on your own then here are a few quick tips to help you on your journey.
First and foremost here is a list of things you are going to need –
– Ladder Stand Off
– A Gutter Scoop
– An Extra Person
Step 1. Get yourself a good set of workman’s gloves, not a thin pair of medical style gloves as these do not last 2 minutes when clearing gutters due to the rough tiles edge over hanging into the gutter tears straight though them. Once you have your gloves on the next step is to prepare your ladders. Have a quick check over to make sure your ladders are structurally all ok, if you notice any cracks or loose steps please do not go any further and throw those ladders away.
If the ladders are in good working order then the next thing you want to do is attach your ladder stand off. A ladder standoff is a straightforward tool, it simply attaches near the top of your ladders, this then lets you work away from the building at a distance of approximately 12”, making the gutter clean clean/repair easier and helps with having to risk your safety by leaning or overreaching. The other perk to a ladder stand off is that it keeps your ladder from leaning up against the wall and helps prevent damage being caused to roofs, guttering, fascia boards and windows.
Before you use your ladders it may be worth reading this brief guide on – The Safe Use of Ladders And Step Ladders
So you’ve read the ladder guide and you’re ready to go.
The best place to start is at the end by the downpipe so if this is blocked the guttering will be backlogged with rain water so you will want to get that cleared first.
If the downpipe isn’t blocked you can then start by scooping the debris out going away from the downpipe as you don’t want to cause a blockage in there. Once the scoop is full then empty it into your bucket, scoop as much as you can out to the side of you (making sure not to over reach) until that section of the gutter is fully clear. If there is a lot of muck in your guttering you will notice your bucket is quite heavy so it’s time to get down from the ladders and empty your bucket before moving onto the next section.
Repeat this until all gutters are clear.
Once the guttering is fully clear of debris it may be worth running your hose pipe down the gutter to ensure nothing is stopping the water from flowing this will also identify if you have any leaks.
As we spoke about earlier on in the gutter guide, using ladders can be very dangerous and this is why many trades are trying to use them less and less. Take window cleaners as an example, traditional window cleaning in England is slowly becoming a thing of the past as more and more window cleaning company’s are using the reach and wash system which eliminates the need for ladders. The same thing has happened with gutter cleaning, more and more company’s are using a gutter vacuum system, this enables them to clear gutters 40ft in the air with their feet safely on the ground. Using a wireless camera they can see inside the gutters to make sure they are fully clear, take a look at this short YouTube video showing a gutter vacuum in action –
The most popular guttering systems to be installed on homes are made of uPVC. This is due to the fact that it is lightweight yet very durable which enables it to do its job all year round for many years to come. Did you know uPVC/vinyl guttering can typically last 25 years, this outlasts most aluminium gutters.
This being one of the many reasons uPVC is most property owners first choice when it comes to having a new guttering system installed. Another great thing about uPVC is the wide range of colours available as pictured below –
Gutters are made up of many parts, so we thought we would show you a breakdown of the system as many people do not know the individual parts names. This will become handy if you ever have a unit fail as you will now know exactly what each part its called. The most common parts to fail and cause leaks are the rubber seals as they can start to perish, parts which contains seals in the below photo are – running outlet, stop end outlet, stop end and 90 degree bend.