Gutter Maintenance Tips

Leaves can render any gutter useless. They quickly clog gutters and downspouts resulting in water pouring over the side. We’re here to help, whether you need someone to clean gutters for you, or need some tips on how to get them flowing again.

gutter maintenance

How to clean your gutter

Safety First


Stay on the ground if you can. Sometimes hardware stores will sell hose attachments so you can easily clean your gutter by staying on the ground. If you must use a ladder, look out for electric lines, make sure the bottom is on firm ground, tie the top before cleaning the gutter, and stay between the ladder rails.

Cleaning the Gutter


Use a small shovel or scoop to clean the leaves and junk out of the gutter. If you can manage to carry a bucket with you, place debris in the bucket to save yourself the work of cleaning the junk out of the flowerbeds afterwards.

cleaning the gutter

Hose Out the Gutter


Attach a high pressure nozzle to your garden hose and spray out the gutter to remove all the fine dirt that you weren’t able to clean out with a shovel. Spray carefully so you do not cover yourself or your home with the dirt you are rinsing out of the gutter! You may need a brush to scrub off the dirt that is caked fast.

Clean Out the Downspouts if Necessary


Sometimes the downspouts become clogged with debris. Typically this happens at the elbows right below the gutter. If your downspouts discharge into drainage pipes below the ground, pull them out of the ground before unclogging them. This prevents the debris from going into the ground and plugging the pipes at a worse place. A plumber’s auger (snake) works well for cleaning out the downspouts. If they are clogged at the top, you can also straighten a metal clothes hanger and poke it down from the top to loosen the debris. To test your work, spray the garden hose at the top of the downspout. If the water flows easily, you can be sure it is cleaned out. If the pipes are plugged underground, you may need to hire a professional to use a good ‘snake’ to clean out the drain pipes. Thankfully the issue is usually in the downspouts, making the job much easier.

cleaned gutters

Repeat as Necessary


Usually cleaning out the gutters and downspouts two times a year keeps them in good working condition. If you have a lot of tall trees close to the house, you may need to clean them out more often so you can stay ahead of leaf accumulation in the gutters.

Enjoy the Rain


Now you can sit on your front porch and watch the beauty of the thunderstorm like you used to when you were little. Enjoy the pounding rain, and hopefully the storm ends with a colorful rainbow to remind you of God’s promise to the world.

Gutter Maintenance

Make Sure the Water is Draining away from the house.

Newer homes have downspout drain lines that are buried underground to carry the water away from your home. Either the water runs into a storm sewer, a creek, or simply drains away from your house. Older homes often do not have drain pipes underground; instead the downspouts dump the water out on the ground. In these scenarios, make sure that the water drains away from the house instead of pouring into flowerbeds or worse, seeping into your basement.

There are various extenders available that can be attached to your downspouts to help spread the water over a larger surface area or direct it away from the house. You can buy downspout extenders from your local hardware or home improvement store. It is crucial for the water to be safely directed away from the house so it does not destroy your home or property.

Make sure the gutters stay securely fastened to the house.

If a professional installed your gutters, you shouldn’t have any issues with the gutters coming loose or falling down. On some gutter systems, the gutters were installed with long nails. Over time those nails can work loose and eventually your gutter will fall. If you are a handy man, use a ladder and hammer to pound those nails back in and secure your gutter again. Eventually the nail holes will become loose and pounding the nails back in the same spot will not fix the problem. Either you will need to pound them in at a different place on the facial board or purchase new gutters. If you see any part of your gutter coming loose, it is wise to repair it immediately before the issue becomes bigger.

Check to be sure your gutters are sloped in the right direction.

This is another issue that will not occur with a quality installation. But some older homes have cheap gutters that slope the wrong direction over time. Or if the installer did a poor job, the gutters may have been installed at an incorrect angle. If you enjoy fix-it projects, you may be able to correct the problem yourself. However, a professional gutter contractor would be happy to fix the problem for you so that your gutter performs effectively.

Keep your gutters and downspouts cleaned out.

See the directions above to learn how to clean out your gutters. Full gutters are useless gutters, so do what it takes to keep them junk free!

Watch for deterioration on the fascia board.

If the edge of your roof is not flashed correctly or if the facia boards are wooden, they can eventually start to rot and your gutters will come loose. If this happens, hire a contractor to replace the facia board and either reinstall the old gutter or install a new one.

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