Cleaning and Repairing Your Home’s Gutter

Home Maintenance
A home's gutter diverts rain water away from the roof.

Cleaning, repairing, and even preparing for the general upkeep and management of your home’s gutter is a task that is often overlooked and forgotten by many, but is actually very important. Although your gutter may usually require cleaning and inspection only once or twice a year, it is important that it gets done for a number of reasons. These include water damage that is caused by the build-up of leaves, debris, mildew, and mud—all of which can stop the water from properly draining.

This excess water that isn’t drained and is leaking over the edges of the gutter leads to problems like, rotting the siding on your house, flooding your basement and weakening the foundation, and eroding your garden or flower bed. So, here are the steps to clean, repair, and ensure that your gutter is functioning the way that it should.

Cleaning the Gutter

  1. The very first step in the gutter cleaning process is to make sure you have all the essentials to clean it with. You will need: a good, sturdy ladder, a garden trowel for scooping, a couple of buckets, a hose, and a rag.
  2. Once you have the essentials and are firmly standing on the ladder, begin by removing the gutter guards and use the trowel (or something to serve as a scoop) to scoop out the leaves, debris, etc. into one of the buckets. Use the other bucket to keep your other tools in, and use wire hooks to attach the buckets to the ladder.
  3. Then, clean around the downspout and check for any clogs. You can do this by inserting a hose (with gutter cleaning attachment on hose, or a rag wrapped around it)and direct the water through.
  4. Flush the gutter with the hose at full force at the end opposite of the downspout, and make sure it is flowing from the end of the downspout.
  5. It is also an option to use a plumbing snake to break up debris or mud, and use the hose to flush out any remaining debris.

Inspecting and Repairing Your Gutter

  1. The proper slope that your gutter should be is at least 1/4in. every 10ft. toward the downspout. So, to make sure your gutter is slanted properly, it is best to use a carpenters level to measure it and to make sure there still isn’t any standing water left in the gutter.
  2. Also, make sure all hangers are securely attached. If the gutter doesn’t slope enough, detach hangers and adjust them enough for them to drain properly, then reattach them.
  3. The support hangers should be placed every 2ft. along the gutter, and within 1ft. of any seams. Make sure they are properly spaced and inspect them for any damage or missing parts.
  4. Then, check and repair any leaks. You can check for leaks by running water through them.
  5. Mark any leaks and let gutter dry before making repairs.
  6. Use gutter sealant at the seams making sure the gutter ends are tight against one another, and squeeze out a bead of the sealant on both sides to join them.
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