If it’s time Eavestrough Cleaning, read our step by step guide on how to stay safe and how to do it right the first time.
Eavestrough and downspoutOut of all the home maintenance chores you can do, cleaning your eavestroughs is one of the least exciting tasks, but definitely most satisfying once the job is done. It’s a job that yields virtually no thanks from your family members, but it’s not about that. It’s about ensuring your gutters are clean and functioning properly.
The bottom line is if you don’t clean them regularly, the dirt and debris will build up and cause problems for other parts of your home – problems that can become expensive too.
When your eavestroughs are too full and debris is building up, pooling water can damage other parts of your home. It can affect the stability of your roof, damage shingles, and destroy the boards behind the eaves.
Down below, pooling can cause problems with your deck by promoting rot and decay; it can deteriorate your driveway; it can ruin flower beds, flood your basement, destabilize your home’s foundation and in extreme case become a major eye-sore to your neighbours.
Eavestroughs and down-spouts are installed for a reason and if you neglect them you’ll eventually be forced to clean them out. The longer you wait the harder it will be, so save yourself some turmoil and add the eavestrough maintenance task to your regular home maintenance schedule.
Here are some useful tips to properly cleaning your eavestroughs.
- Practice Safety First
The first priority with gutter cleaning is always going to be safety. You’re working high above the ground so you need to be extra careful. Unless you’re forced to, don’t tackle cleaning your eaves from your roof. It’s safer to use a ladder. When using a ladder make sure the area below you is clear and always test to make sure your ladder is stable too. If you can it’s a good idea to someone to spot you just in case you fall or something dangerous occurs down below.
Small elbow joint down spoutIf you’re worried about making contact with your ladder and your home or eavestroughs, you can purchase a ladder-stabilizer which prevents the ladder from resting on the gutters themselves or your home siding which at times could lead to damage.
Don’t reach out too far to clean either. If you have to reach, simply get off your ladder and move it over a few feet. Don’t stand on any of the top three steps of your ladder either because as stable as your ladder may seem, it’s quite easy to lose your balance and take a hard-tumble to the ground.
When working from a ladder you can use a bucket to collect the debris and another bucket or carrying case to hold the tools you’ll need.
You can use wire hooks to attach your buckets to the ladder or simply place them on the roof. If you place them on the roof make sure they are stable and won’t fall off.
Alternatively, you can also lay out a tarp out a few feet to the side of your ladder and then dump the debris there to clean it up later.
Wear protective gear and clothing
You’re probably going to get a little dirty, and scrape your arms so wear an old long-sleeve t-shirt and remember to wear rubber gloves. These articles of clothing will help keep your arms and hands safe from injury from sharp objects; they’ll prevent slivers, and hinder injury from sharp areas of your eavestrough that may been damaged.
- Removing The Gunk & Debris
Here comes the fun part. Using either a small garden trowel, a small plastic scoop from the hardware store, your hands or even a child’s sand shovel, scoop out the leaves and debris, starting at the down-spout and away from it.
Eavestrough full of leave Burlington houseDo not scoop up in the direction of your down-spout so you avoid clogging it. Use your hands to pick up the bigger items.
When you’ve cleaned as much as you can in one area, move the ladder over 2 to 3 feet and repeat the process.
After you’ve cleaned up as much of the muck and debris that you can, grab your garden hose and start flushing the finer debris away starting at the far end of your eavestroughs away from the down-spout. Let the water run until the water coming out at the bottom of your downs-pout is clear and clean.
Dealing with Clogs
If the water is only trickling out at the end of the down-spout, you’ve got a clog to deal with. It could be at some point in the down-spout, or at the down-spout elbow connector. If that’s the case, try running your hose at high pressure – pointed directly into the down-spout – and if the water pressure is strong enough, it should unclog it.
If high water pressure doesn’t work seem to work, you can try to use a use a long and flexible metal wire like a clothes hanger to try and disturb the debris so it’s easier to flush out. If worse comes to worse and the clog won’t get free, you’re going to have to remove your down-spout or elbow connecter and clean un-clog them manually. If you are unable to, call your local roofing company.
- Cleaning Up
Now that you’re done cleaning your eavestroughs, gather up all your tools, buckets, tarps and all the debris from your work area. The debris you’ve collected can be put into a garbage bag, and put to the curb to be picked up, or you can put it into a compost or your garden to decompose.
- Maintenance and Upgrades
While you’re cleaning your eavestroughs and down-spouts, you may notice damage or areas that need tightening or general maintenance. You can visit our page about maintaining your roof after repairs for an overview of general roof maintenance best practices. You can find information specific to eavestroughs below.
Consider Installing Gutter Guards
Installing gutter guards is one of the best ways to protect your eavestroughs from clogging and gathering debris. If your do-it-yourself eavestrough cleaning job tired you right out and discouraged you from ever wanting to do them again, do some research into gutter guards and discover their benefits and how they making cleaning much quicker and easier.
Gutter guards are not terribly expensive to install and they have so many benefits to do a little research on them and decide for yourself.
- Inspect for Damages to Your Eavestroughs
You can inspect sections of your eavestroughs and down-spouts for visible damage and any missing parts. These parts of the home endure severe weather, especially in Ontario so don’t be surprised if you discovery parts are missing, dented or broken.
If you find any damage it’s advised to speak to a professional company that provides eavestrough repair services so the rest of your roof and gutters can be inspected and repaired, or replaced where needed.
If your eavestroughs are in good condition and functioning properly, you can opt in for giving them a paint job if you want to make them look new again. There’s never anything wrong with giving parts of your home a new paint job.
Never leave your eavestroughs uncleaned for more than a few years. Years of accumulated debris can weigh heavy on them, cause them to sag, and disfigure the structure of your roof-line. Make sure to always consult with a professional if you have any questions.