How to Properly Clean and Protect Your Gutters
Get them clean, and keep them clean
The leaves are coming down, and that means it’s time to give those gutters a good cleaning. It’s a bit of a chore, but with our advice, we hope we can make it as easy for you as possible. Keeping your gutters clean and properly maintained isn't a glamorous job, but it's very important. Gutters work hard to keep all of that rainwater away from your home and foundation, where it can cause serious damage. If you’d like to view our video guide you can here, or read the rest of our written guide below:
For a quick, simple guide, please take a look at our video here. Or view our full text guide below.
Cleaning Your Gutters
The most straightforward and cost-effective way of cleaning your gutters will be to purchase or make your own tool to scoop out all the leaf and gunk build-up. If you’re interested in making a scoop yourself, we recommend using a plastic jug such as a vinegar bottle and carefully cutting it into the right shape. As long as your scoop can fit into the gutter, and not damage it, then you’re good to go.
Secure your ladder, climb up and scoop out whatever gunk is inside. Different areas will likely have different types of debris build-up, depending on the trees that tend to be in your area and their proximity to your gutter, so be mindful as to what your cleaning needs are. Once it’s all cleaned out, climb down, move your ladder over, and repeat the process.
To remove sediment and flush out your gutter, get yourself a long garden hose with a spray nozzle at the end of it. If you need to, take out your gutter protector. Then simply spray towards the direction of the downspout until all the sediment has been rinsed away. Ensure that you monitor the output of the downspout as you flush the remnants away, as any disrupted or unusual flow will indicate potential blockage.
Protecting Your Gutters from Debris
Now that the gutters are nice and clean and free of debris and build up, let's look at how we can protect them. To prevent gutter build up and make your next gutter cleanout way easier than the one before it, there are a few common protection methods.
Open foam-style gutter protectors are a common option. These fold and lay flat in your gutter, and allow water to pass through. However, small organic material and debris such as pine needles or dust can become trapped in the foam and cause clogging. Cleaning will be difficult if the filter is left out for too long. If you can’t clean out the clogged materials then you will need to replace it.
Rigid plastic filters should feature large perforations on one side and a finer mesh screen on the other. The mesh screen will prevent most small items from passing through. However, dust, sand, and pine needles could still be an issue. These protectors are easy to install and fairly easy to clean. They will last significantly longer than a foam filter.
Flexible plastic filters are an inexpensive and easy option, as well as quite effective. These screens have large perforations which will allow smaller items to get through, however, it will block larger items such as leaves. What makes these an easy option is that the filter can be cleaned without removing it from the gutter. As long as you don’t have a large build-up of leaves, you should be able to flush debris out easily with a hose. You may not even need to take it off to clean your gutter!
Protecting Your Downspouts
You can also find several types of protectors for your downspout. Again, your decision will depend on your needs. A simple plastic protector will keep out most debris, however, you may want to look into a protector specifically built for leaves if this is an issue for you, as despite their useful hoods, most of these styles of protectors have gaps large enough that leaves can sneak through.
Another common style is the bendable aluminum protector, which is inexpensive and very easy to use. It's flexible enough that you can form it to any shape of downspout, be it round or rectangular. Always keep an eye on the perforations in your downspout protector, as this is the most important feature. Smaller holes in these protectors will block more debris but clog faster, while larger holes will allow water to pass through easily but may not filter out small debris.
Of course, every home is different but these tips should get you one your way. If you expect smaller debris like pine needles or dust, then go for a tighter mesh option. If it's just leaves you're worried about, then any basic plastic or metal filter will do the trick.
And that's all there is to it. As you can see, prior preparation and a few cheap or homemade gutter protectors can take the hard work out of gutter maintenance in the future. If you have anything in your home or garden that needs fixing this fall, be sure to check out our huge range of repair parts.