Cooler weather is here, and it’s clear that Fall is on the way, even here in Northeast Florida. Fall is the perfect time to get to those outdoor DIY projects, especially gutter cleaning. Leaves and debris have been building up in your gutters throughout the summer, and especially during the past few months, and your gutters are likely getting weighed down and clogged. The good news is that gutter cleaning is a relatively easy and inexpensive DIY project, especially with our tips. The bad news is that if you ignore your full gutters, you’re setting yourself up for trouble!
Why Do I Need Clear Gutters?
If rainwater can’t flow properly thru your gutters, problems will be created that are annoying at best, and costly and frustrating at worst. For example, rainwater can’t pass through clogged gutters, so the gutters will overflow and leak or drip onto your front stoop, or worse, onto unsuspecting visitors. Clogged gutters also enable mold and mildew to thrive and allow bacteria to fester. Worse still, clogged gutters will allow water to pool onto your roof, and flood the foundation below. Full gutters can rust, they can rot wood, and they can pull away from your house, causing damage that is costly and inconvenient to repair. Read our tips, grab your tools, and clear out those gutters while the weather is still nice!
What you’ll need:
- Protective gloves You will be scooping leaves from the gutters, but you will also be scooping twigs, rocks, and sharp sticks. There can also be sharp metal pieces in the gutters, or gutter screws along the inside, so it’s best to wear thick work gloves. The best work gloves for the job are also waterproof, since bacteria, bird droppings, and other unsavory runoff can lurk in your gutters, and would absorb into cloth or canvas gloves.
Nonslip shoes - You will need to climb a ladder, and most likely walk along the roof, so nonslip shoes are an essential part of staying safe.
Rake or stiffbristled broom - Your first step will be to remove the existing leaves from the roof.
Plastic trowel - A small, plastic scoop is the perfect tool for collecting debris out of gutters. A plastic trowel is ideal, and is available at many hardware stores. Metal trowels do a great job of scooping, but can scratch the gutters and catch along the gutter seams, causing gashes that can eventually rust.
Bucket and/or tarp - Spread a tarp or old sheet onto the ground and drop the debris onto it for easy cleanup. Or, keep a bucket nearby and scoop the debris into it.
Garden hose and adjustable nozzle - You will flush the gutters with water to test your work.
Small, stiff bristled brush - You might need to gently scrub buildup or residue to loosen it.
Step 1: Rake or sweep all debris from the roof and either into the gutters, or onto a tarp below. Otherwise, the next rainstorm will just wash all existing debris into your newly cleared gutters.
Step 2: Scoop all debris from the gutters. Use your plastic trowel to clear all contents from the gutters and into your bucket or onto your tarp. Ideally, the debris should be damp, in order to be most easily scooped. If the debris is completely dry, it will blow around, and if it is soggy, it will be annoyingly heavy to scoop.
Step 3: Flush the cleared gutters with your garden hose. Use an adjustable nozzle, and start with a gentle flow but work your way up to higher pressure in order to create an effective flush. Wash out the length of each gutter, working toward the drain outlet. After flushing each section, look inside the gutter, and if there is leftover buildup or residue, you may want to scrub it out with a brush. After scrubbing, flush the section once more. In each section of gutter, make sure the water is flowing freely and draining completely.
Step 4: Clear out anything that is blocking your downspouts. Long sticks and all sorts of debris can become lodged in the drainpipes and block the water flow, regardless of how clear your gutters are. You may need to take apart the downspout to fully investigate.
Here in beautiful Northeast Florida, the leaves from the Live Oak trees fall all year long, and the Spanish moss, pine needles, and other Florida flora can accumulate on our roofs, across our lawns, and definitely in our gutters. Keep your gutters clear, and keep the water flowing freely and flowing away from your home’s foundation. Gutter cleaning can be a satisfying project for DIY enthusiasts. However, it can also be a wet, messy, and generally frustrating job, to say nothing of dangerous, if you are unaccustomed to working atop tall ladders. If you’d rather skip the task, find the best gutter cleaning company and let the professionals take care of it for you! There are many great gutter cleaning companies in Jacksonville FL, but First Coast Home Pros is the best choice for your home. Our technicians are highly trained, meticulous workers, and will leave your gutters and downspouts completely clear. We specialize in removing all debris from your roof and gutter, and then cleaning up after ourselves, leaving your home and lawn looking great and safe from the threat of full gutters. Homes in downtown Jacksonville, Southside, Ortega, Beaches, and beyond are free of clogged gutters because of us, and your home deserves the same level of care!