Clogged gutters and downspouts can result in costly damage.  Water overflow can damage your roof by seeping in where water shouldn’t.  It will also cause ice to build up in the winter causing damage.  Water overflowing down the outside of your house can damage siding and paint.  Water that is not properly drained away from the home can cause basement flooding problems and even damage foundations.  Clogged gutters are heavy.  This will cause them to sag and come loose or fall off.  Debris sitting in gutters can attract unwanted pests, including ants and mosquitoes, and mildew.

Now prepare for the job.  You will need a garden trowel, kitchen utensil, or homemade plastic scoop to get the debris out of the gutters.  Gloves are also recommended.  Then you will need to decide how you want to collect the debris.  Some like to take a bucket or bag up the ladder with them, others prefer to drop it to the ground.  Using a tarp can make this method easier to clean up.  All are acceptable and come down to homeowner preference.  A sturdy ladder with either a ladder stabilizer or stand-off will protect the gutters from damage from the ladder.  A garden hose or power washer will clean up and unclog.

If you have gutter covers, you will need to remove those first.  Check the gutters for loose spike and repair or replace.  Check for holes or broken seals and re-caulk.  If your gutters are older and rust, clean off the rust, sand, and repaint to minimize further problems.

Then begin to scoop out the debris and put it into your chosen disposal method.  Once the gutters are clean, check the downspout for clogs by spraying water down the spout with your hose.  If you find the water isn’t coming out the bottom with an equal amount of pressure you have a clog.  Pushing the hose into the spout or using a plumbers snake will usually unclog most problems.  With debris-free and unclogged downspouts, rinse the gutters by starting at the end furthest from the downspout and spraying water from the hose or power washer toward the downspout.

Homeowners should clean their gutters and downspouts twice a year in the spring and fall.  If you are leery of climbing up to your roof, consider hiring a professional gutter cleaner. The time or money spent will save you the future hassle, damage, and costly repairs.

Craig Gouker Roofing has been installing quality residential roofing in South East Pittsburgh since 1991 and is the expert in shingle roof replacement.