Fall Home Maintenance: 4 Steps to Clean Your Gutters

Gutters are a vital component of the roofing system and require routine maintenance to keep your home looking and functioning well. Gutter cleaning has more benefits than just aesthetics; it protects exterior siding, windows, doors, basements and foundations from significant water damage. Gutters that are clogged with leaves and debris, or otherwise not functioning correctly, can result in serious damage. By channeling rainwater away from the perimeter, gutters act as the first line of defense against water running and seeping into your home.

How to Clean Gutters

While professional gutter cleaning by a licensed company is always the safest way to keep your gutters and downspouts clear, we understand many homeowners prefer to handle this task themselves. Here are tips that will help you get the job done safely.

  • Safety first. Before climbing a ladder, be sure you have assembled items that will keep you safe when cleaning gutters. Gloves are important to protect hands from rotting debris and sharp metal edges. Safety goggles keep eyes protected from splatters and flying debris, while a sturdy ladder ensures you can carry out the job safely. Always let someone know you will be using a ladder to work on your roof or gutters.
  • Clean the gutters. Remove gutter covers, if applicable. Use a garden trowel or a homemade scoop (a plastic half-gallon milk jug can be fashioned into a convenient scoop) to remove debris from the gutter trough. Be sure to wear gloves while doing this and take care not to damage the gutter.
  • Flush the gutters. Using a garden hose, flush the cleared gutter with water to wash out small bits of debris and check for proper flow. If the water isn’t draining, check the downspout strainer and clean as necessary.
  • Check the downspouts. If water still doesn’t flow, you may have a clog in the downspout. Insert a pressure nozzle into the downspout at the base and spray at full pressure. If this doesn’t clear the downspout, use a plumber’s snake to clear the blockage. Flush the entire gutter again.

If you are uncomfortable with heights or ladders, or notice damage to your gutters while cleaning, call a roofing professional for assistance. By taking care of this maintenance chore during the fall, after leaves have fallen, you can prevent problems with your home over the winter.

Learn more about the protective benefits of LP® SmartSide® engineered wood siding for your home by visiting www.UpsidetoSmartside.com. For questions about home siding or home siding repair, contact an LP SmartSide remodeler near you.

Chemeka Dabney

Chemeka Dabney

Chemeka Dabney is a Segment Marketing Associate for the LP® SmartSide® Business Marketing team in support of all Repair & Remodel (R&R) siding segment marketing initiatives. She has a history of assisting with the creation, development, management and measurement of marketing efforts, sales team support and complete event management for lunch-and-learns, seminars and technology showcases. When not blowing away her co-workers with her mad marketing skills in the office, Chemeka is passionate about giving back through volunteer involvement with local Nashville non-profits. She also is a huge sports fan (Go Titans! Go Predators!) and a self-admitted book addict that is unfortunately guilty of reading all the Twilight books cover to cover. For more from Chemeka, visit the LP SmartSide Trim and Siding blog.

4 thoughts on “Fall Home Maintenance: 4 Steps to Clean Your Gutters

  1. Being safe is a great tip to follow while cleaning. Due to the nature of gutters, there seems to be a high risk of falling. I might even be smarter to hire a professional to make sure everything goes smoothly. Thanks for posting this great info, Chemeka!

  2. Chemeka Dabney Chemeka Dabney says:

    You’re very welcome!

  3. I really appreciate that you mention safety first, because cleaning gutters can be a dangerous thing! It seems like many people underestimate the danger associated with going onto the roof or getting on a ladder and cleaning the gutters. For me, I will probably leave it to the professionals, because yielding hefty equipment like hoses and milk jugs on a ladder is probably out of my range of expertise. Thanks for the article!

  4. Jason Strong says:

    I’ve been a city boy my whole life and lived in apartments that didn’t need gutter cleaning. Now that I’m married and am living in my first home, I realize that my gutters do need cleaning. Since I’ve never done this before, I have no idea how to go about doing this the right way. These tips helped a ton, and I plan on being safe and following these tips to a T.

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