Cleaning Rain Gutters on Your House: Essential Home Improvement

Spring cleaning your gutters sounds so romantic, doesn’t it? While cleaning out the gutters along the edges of your home’s roof isn’t most people’s idea of a fun weekend chore, it is an important chore to do each spring and fall, for a variety of reasons. Proper gutter maintenance is crucial for a healthy roof and proper drainage on your house. Cleaning the gutters in the fall and spring may help you save thousands of dollars in future home repairs.

Maintaining your home is cheaper than paying to repair it. Managing the condition of your house and keeping track of repairs before they become crises is just part of goood, responsible home improvement skills. When you look at your gutters and what they do–route water off the roof and away from the edges of your house’s foundation–home owners need to realize what gutters really do.

Gutters collect rain water and melted snow, direct the flow of water, and take it down a drainspout and away from your foundation. If all the water that flows on the roof flowed directly around the foundation of a home, it could overwhelm the dirt and foundation, causing leaks in the foundation or basement. The last thing any homeowners wants is a basement leak. Mold and mildew love wet basements, and a wet foundation can seriously compromise a home’s structural integrity. Therefore, those pesky gutters need to be cleared out of debris, leaves, sticks, and the occasional–yes, it’s coming–dead animal.

This is why a pair of good, strong, thick gloves is a home owner’s best friend when cleaning these systems. Every so often a bird or a squirrel dies on the rook and falls into the gutter. Get a sturdy ladder and lean it safely against he side of the house. Do NOT lean the ladder against the gutter itself, however. Most are made of aluminum, and you can easily dent or bend the gutter with the weight of the ladder.

Use a small garden trowel to scoop out decaying leaves, small sticks, and other debris. Clean the gutters thoroughly.

Next, check drainspouts for blockages. Use the end of a rake, or even a plumber’s snake to go as far up as possible on drainspouts for cleaning. While you are on the ladder, run a garden hose up and spray water through the gutters to detect blockages in drainspouts.

This sort of cleaning maintenance should be done each spring and fall. Waiting years is not recommended; in fact, some tree seeds can sprout and grow in gutter debris, and the tiny trees can start to grow under roof shingles, cusing serious roof damage.

If you cannot manage gutter cleaning maintenance on your own, call a roofing specialist, or look under “gutter” in the local Yellow pages. If you have a teenager, this is a perfect yard work job to teach them; isn’t that what teenagers are for? Dirty work builds character. Teach them to be careful on the ladder, of course. Taller rather than shorter people will have an easier time doing this cleaning chore, and anyone with joint problems should consider bowing out of cleaning these systems. With a bit of cautions and a “can-do” attitude, home owners can find themselves with perperly maintained rain runoff systems.

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