Common gutter cleaning mistakes seen by pro gutter cleaners.
Routine gutter maintenance is a crucial aspect of home maintenance plans. Many homeowners delay gutter cleaning to save a few hundred dollars. But, they often don't realize that not cleaning gutters can lead to expensive damages, which are more costly than regular maintenance.
Despite seeming like a simple part of your home maintenance plan, it can pose significant risks. Here are a few common mistakes professional gutter cleaners say should be avoided.
Not cleaning the gutters often enough.
Gutters tend to block up very quickly. It's advisable to clean gutters at least two times a year. Regular gutter maintenance allows for the swift identification of possible issues. Additionally, regular cleaning can reduce the time it takes to complete this home maintenance project.
As debris accumulates in your rain gutters, it starts to decompose and create soil. Shingle granules contribute to this gutter debris, adding substantial weight to the gutter system. Even if the gutters aren't obstructed, this extra weight can cause the gutters to detach from the house or result in leaks within the gutter system. You can read more on how often to clean gutters and when here.
Failure to clean clogged down spouts and underground drainage lines.
Gutter cleaning is not just about cleaning clogged gutters along the roof's edge. It's crucial to make sure water can pass through the downspout and any below-ground drainage pipe.
A clogged down spout or drainage line can't perform its job. All the water that should be draining through that spout is instead gathered and discharged into one location along the foundation. It is important to inspect and unclog a gutter downspout that is clogged.
In such a case, it's preferable not to have gutters at all. Without gutters, the water disperses over a larger area around the house. Cleaning just the gutters without unclogging the downspouts is only halfway cleaning a gutter system.
Failure to work safely.
Gutter cleaning can be a hazardous task. Many individuals don't realize the danger of falling from a one-story house, which can be lethal. It's crucial to ensure the ladder is utilized securely.
Even with a secure and stable ladder, insects like ants or wasps residing in gutters can cause a person to rush down the ladder in a risky manner. It is always advisable to wear gloves as a defense against these bugs. You never know when something unexpected will happen. Therefore it is wise to always have someone there to help if something happens.
Gloves also offer safety when tidying up rain gutters on homes with metal rooftops. The sharp metal roofing extends into the gutter easily causing cuts. Metal and steep shingle roofs are slippery, so it's smart to use a roof harness when walking on them.
Mistakenly believing that gutter guards don't require cleaning.
Many individuals believe that their gutters don't need cleaning due to the presence of gutter guards. However, they are frequently surprised by the amount of debris that has built up in their gutters.
Most gutter guards, in one way or another, allow debris to get into the gutters. Those that do manage to filter out gutter debris often get blocked by leaves piling up on the gutter guard.
When these screens become clogged, they usually redirect water back toward the roof. This can cause it to seep under shingles or run down fascia boards, resulting in damage. Over time, the weight of the debris can cause micro mesh gutter guards to cave into the rain gutter.
Damaging roofs by walking across sensitive areas.
Occasionally, it may be necessary to walk on roofs, but this should always be minimized. Each instance of someone stepping on a roof carries the potential for injury or damage.
As shingles get older they often become brittle. Walking on shingles in this condition could result in leaks in the future. Moreover, roofs have certain areas like ridges and valleys that can be damaged by foot traffic.
Attempting to clean gutters with forced air or pressurized water.
Sometimes, leaf blowers or power washers are used to remove blockages from gutters by blowing air or high-pressure water. However, these techniques require extreme caution. Leaf blowers can gradually lift and dislodge shingles. While cleaning gutters with a pressure washer, it's simple to spray and harm the roof by mistake.
These two methods also tend to make a mess. When dislodging clogs the wet debris from gutters the debris can fall and stick to the side of homes. When blown out of gutters the leaves and pine needles often fall into shrubs and flower beds.
Damaging roofing or siding with ladders.
Ladders are not only dangerous, but they are often heavy and difficult to move. Without protective pads, ladders can scrape the paint off gutters. They need to be carefully propped against a house to prevent denting gutters or harming siding. A single misstep can leave a lasting impact on a home.
Attempting to clean gutters with a 120v shop vac.
Using a vacuum system to clean gutters safely from the ground is an appealing idea. We even considered the idea for a short period of time.
The problem with shop vacuums is 120v systems often fail to produce enough suction. They are prone to clogging making the approach more headache than its worth. They also often come with small-diameter vacuum hoses which further increase the odds of clogs.
Not removing failing gutter guards systems.
Since gutter guard systems fail to prevent debris from entering the gutters it's often best to remove them all together. The reason for this is it increases the difficulty of the gutter cleaning process.
Regardless of the method a gutter cleaner uses, the gutter guards must be removed to clean the gutters. Then the gutter cleaner must install the gutter guards back on the gutter system. Often the guards become brittle or damaged after multiple installations.
Hiring the wrong gutter cleaning service.
To get the best results it is always best to deal with reputable contractors. Since homeowners can't see the work, it's fair to ask for a couple of photos as proof that it was done. Professional gutter cleaners often do this without being asked.
A good gutter cleaning company will also take all available precautions to protect your home from damage. A gutter cleaning service should also leave a place as clean as they found it.
These are some of the most common gutter cleaning mistakes we see homeowners and contractors make. Our gutter cleaning professionals can handle the task of cleaning your gutters, so you don't have to worry about it.