It’s easy to forget about our hardworking gutters.
Rarely occupying our daily thoughts, gutters tirelessly manage a ton of harmful elements. Without them performing day in and day out, we would be facing more severe health and safety issues than you can imagine.
For all the help they give us, gutters equally need our attention as well. Regular gutter maintenance is critical for them to do their job. Read on to learn the easiest and most effective gutter maintenance practices.
Benefits of Gutter Maintenance
For something so essential to everyday life, it’s interesting that water is, in many ways, a homeowner’s worst nightmare. A gutter’s job is simple, but directing water away from our house yields more benefits than you’d expect.
Here are some of the advantages of maintaining clean gutters.
- Reduces pests and the risk of disease
- Prevents leaks and water damage to your roof
- Protects from basement flooding and foundation damage
- Maintains the integrity of soil and landscaping
- Increases your home’s curb appeal and value
Depending on your situation, these benefits can determine how often you should clean your gutters. If your home is prone to mosquitoes, for example, you may want to look at them more often.
Let’s look at how you can plan your gutter cleaning schedule to keep them working in tip-top condition.
How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?
Even in the driest parts of the U.S., you should check your gutters at least once a year to make sure they’re in good condition. Here in Illinois, we can see a good deal of rain, so we need to clean our gutters and check for rust, leaks and cracks twice a year at a minimum to keep them in peak form.
Clean your gutters before and after the rainy season. For our communities in Illinois, professional gutter cleaning and repair services should come out as part of your early spring roof maintenance checklist.
Spring is the time to replace and install new gutters that can take on the weather. May and June see the most precipitation, so your gutters need to be ready to handle the rain and debris that will accumulate during those wet, early summer months.
Another cleaning in mid-late autumn will get rid of the leaves and other fall debris that built up. It usually entails the simple act of clearing dry leaves so that your house is taken care of until next year.
Gutters may need extra care if they see severe weather or are subject to more issues. If you have nearby trees, especially pine trees, you will likely need to check your gutters more frequently.
A monthly inspection can help you relieve emergent issues and keep harmful pests like mosquitoes and carpenter ants from settling down.
No matter your inspection needs, it’s crucial to mind your roof and gutters before and after large storms. Check for damage and fix potential issues before a thunderstorm to ensure the best protection for your roof and foundation. When the storm passes, check for new damage and clear any debris to prevent clogs.
How Long Does Gutter Cleaning Take?
Several factors determine how long a comprehensive gutter cleaning will take and how often you need professional gutter maintenance.
The best thing you can do to keep gutter maintenance simple is sticking to a schedule.
Regular cleanings will keep build-up from becoming unmanageable and stuck into your gutters. Cleaning will take less time, and there won’t be as much damage to repair from long-sitting water. Plus, pests won’t be allowed to thrive, reducing the potential time and financial costs of hiring an exterminator.
For a single-story home, gutter cleaning may only take an hour or even less. Houses with two stories or more can require 2-5 hours to cover. While it may be possible to manage a single-level home, you should call a professional for larger houses.
Other factors include the slant of your roof, the terrain around your home’s perimeter and any overhanging trees or power lines. Even for a single-level home, if a roof is too steep or the ground isn’t sturdy, stay safe by calling a professional.
How to Clean Your Gutters
Before attempting to clean your gutters, there are key pieces of equipment you’ll need for safety and speed. Make sure to have the following items on hand:
- Heavy-duty work gloves
- Long-sleeved shirt and work pants
- Safety goggles
- Comfortable, grippy shoes
- Extension ladder
There are tools specifically for cleaning gutters from the ground to make it easier, but most people have a ladder and household utensils for DIY gutter maintenance. You can use a spatula, pasta fork, gutter scoop or small plastic hand shovel.
Step 1: Clear the roof.
Sweeping, raking, leaf blowing or pressure washing your roof prior to cleaning your gutters removes any debris waiting to fall into them during the next storm.
Step 2: Clean the gutters.
Standing on your extension ladder, use your hand scoop to remove debris from the gutter. Work around the house to remove debris, but be careful to stay within the ladder rails to avoid tipping. Lay a drop cloth or tarp for catching falling gutter debris to make clean up easier.
When you’re done scooping, run a hose through the gutter system to flush out straggling gunk and build-up.
Step 3: Check for gutter wear and damage.
When your gutters are clear, check them for any rust, cracks, loose joints and fastenings. Small cracks and holes can be filled with caulk or repair tape but rust indicates it’s time to replace the gutters. Loose or detached gutters will need to be refastened with gutter hangers.
Gutter Maintenance Tips
- Wait for dry conditions to start cleaning your gutters and roof
- Have a friend or family member on hand to help
- Install gutter guards to keep out debris and pests
- Check the direction of downspouts and position away from your foundation
Schedule Gutter Maintenance Today
If you live in the Napierville, Oswego, or Montgomery area, schedule your next gutter maintenance and cleaning with Amenity Roofing. Our certified professionals bring 20 years of experience in maintaining the life and performance of roofs and gutters. We provide comprehensive maintenance services, identifying and rectifying early issues to keep your costs low and your home safe.
If you would like more information on protecting your gutters and your home, contact our team today.