Chapter One: Hiring Professionals vs. DIY
The Easiest Way to Clean Gutters
The easiest way to clean gutters will be to prepare yourself with all the necessary tools and assistance before getting up on a ladder. The easiest way to clean gutters does not mean waking up one morning and deciding to start gutter cleaning because someone in your house gave you an ultimatum to do it.
The easiest way to clean gutters may also not mean hiring a professional gutter cleaning company.
Should You Hire a Professional Gutter Cleaning Company?
Hiring a professional gutter cleaning company may seem like the easiest way to clean gutters, but not necessarily.
First of all, you will have to hire them at least twice a year, which can be expensive.
Second, there is also a lot of prep work to complete beforehand, even if you hire a professional gutter cleaning company. Also, they won’t help you with any alternative solutions like gutter guards, as they rely on your repeat business to make money.
The cost of professional gutter cleaning doesn’t stop there, as the workers may also cause damage to your roof when they walk around on it. As well, they may need to bolt a safety harness to your roof to hold them securely while they use a commercial-grade leaf blower to blast out the debris from the gutters.
Hopefully, most of the leaves and gunk will make it to the ground and not wind up splattered on your siding. However, that high-powered blower may also damage your shingles, causing them to lift and tear.
Hiring Affordable and Professional Gutter Cleaning
Beware of false advertising when you are hiring affordable and professional gutter cleaning. The company may advertise a $79 rate, but this is only the base price. Once they get a look at your house, they will tell you that your home doesn’t fit the criteria to get that offer. Suddenly, the price can jump to several hundred dollars, and they’re just getting started.
There are other things to consider as well. There is also liability insurance, in addition to worker’s comp insurance.
Does this company have it, or are they relying on your home owner’s insurance in case someone gets hurt?
These are all questions to ask, along with asking how many people are going to show up to do the job.
You will also have to ask them about the equipment they are using for cleaning your gutters. You will be surprised about how many workers will show up with a couple of extension ladders, buckets, and scrub brushes. Then they will charge you several hundred dollars for something you could have done yourself.
If you are tired of paying for professional gutter cleaning and don’t want to do it yourself, micromesh gutter guards from MasterShield are an option that will save you from the worry of hiring affordable and professional gutter cleaning and the damage it can do to your roof.
Home Gutter Cleaning, Step by Step
If you are skeptical about professional gutter cleaning, doing home gutter cleaning yourself will ensure your gutters are kept clean and functioning properly. Here are a few steps to take that will make home gutter cleaning much safer and efficient:
- Extension ladder
- Tarps to protect against gutter waste
- Sturdy, waterproof gloves
- Safety glasses
- Gutter scoop to help scoop out gunk
- Plastic bucket to collect gutter waste
- Garden hose to rinse out gutter afterward
Step 1: Set up the ladder properly by placing it on stable, sturdy ground and climb the ladder to see what you are dealing with. (See our section on ladder safety first.) Start at the end with the downspout and work your way to the middle of the gutter. You want to avoid pushing any of the gunk into the downspout and accidentally clogging it.
Step 2: Clean out the larger debris first. Make sure to clean out your downspout strainer at this time as well. Getting all of the large debris is the main thing to help keep your gutters from clogging. Doing this first will also give you a perspective on what kind of gutter problems you are looking at repairing.
Step 3. Next, clean out the smaller debris. A gutter scoop can be helpful but most of the time you’re better off just sticking your hand in. That is why we recommend using sturdy waterproof gloves. Use a gutter brush to stop any algae from spreading.
Step 4: Once all debris is cleared out, take your hose and spray your gutters to flush out any remaining bits of debris. When spraying the hose, be sure to start at the end opposite of the downspout.
Step 5: Check your downspout to make sure it is working fine and is clog-free. If not, you will need to clean this as well.
Tips & Tricks: The Fastest Way to Clean Gutters
Tip #1. You want to make as few trips up and down the ladder as possible. So when you go up the ladder, take everything you need with you before you climb. Make sure you have your bucket, garbage bag, hose, scoop, brush, and waterproof gloves each time.
Tip #2. It pays to pay a helper with gutter cleaning! They don’t have to get up on the ladder. All they have to do is hand you things or use the power washer to clean up. You will get the gutter cleaning finished in half the time.
Tip #3: Consider attaching your bucket to a rope which you can lower down to the person spotting you when you need the waste bucket cleaned out. Along with a tarp, this will make cleaning up quicker.
Tips & Tricks: The Safest Way to Clean Gutters
The biggest reason people go for professional gutter cleaning is because of the safety issues involved with getting up on a ladder. So here are a few safety tips on the safest way to clean gutters if you use a ladder.
- Do not ever put a ladder anywhere there is mud, snow, ice, or grease.
- Never put a rock or a piece of wood under a ladder leg to make it stable.
- Always climb with dry shoes. If you are using a hose to spray your gutters, this is especially important. Do not put a ladder in a wet pool of water.
- Keep both feet on the ladder at all times.
- Never stretch to reach another part of your gutter. Always climb down the ladder and reposition it so you are better able to reach a new area.
- Wear sturdy shoes and clothes that are meant for working.
- Always have a spotter help you to stabilize the ladder when you are climbing.
How to Lean a Ladder against a Gutter
The main thing about how to lean a ladder against a gutter is that you want to lean it against the roof so that it doesn’t touch the gutters. If you rest the ladder against the gutters, it will bend and damage them, especially if they are rolled formed aluminum.
So before you get up on a ladder, you will need to purchase a ladder stand-off. A ladder stand-off is a ladder accessory that attaches to the ladder so that it puts the weight of the ladder against the roof and not against the gutters. This way you will be able to easily reach the gutters to clean them without damaging the roof. The ladder stand-off will also give the ladder more stability when you are standing on it for added safety.
Gutter Cleaning Safety Harness
If you decide to go up on the roof to do your gutter cleaning instead, always wear a gutter cleaning safety harness, even if you have a spotter for the ladder. It is not worth a trip to the emergency room – when you could spend about $100 on a gutter cleaning safety harness that could also save your life.
You may need someone to help you install it, as this kind of harness will need to be anchored to the roof. A gutter cleaning safety harness will come with the anchor, but it has to be fastened to the roof with screws.
As well, if you get a professional gutter cleaning, make sure each worker uses a gutter cleaning safety harness to do the job. When they drill the holes for the anchor, though, you will have to make sure they don’t do any damage to your roof.
Cleaning Moss from Gutters
Cleaning moss from gutters may not seem like a priority, but the biggest problem with moss growth is that it retains excess water that can clog your gutters and weigh them down.
You can start cleaning moss from gutters and the roof by using a roof rake and gutter brushes to loosen and remove it, but this is about all you can do by yourself. Do not use toxic solutions like bleach for cleaning moss from gutters. Cleaners like bleach can damage your shingles and erode the metal, causing other problems in the future.
Unfortunately, you will probably have to have the moss cleaned off by professionals. One thing you can do, however, is to give your roof some more sunlight. Moss needs shade to grow, so if you have large trees around your home, you may want to trim them back. This will help keep your gutter cleaning to a minimum as well.
You can also protect your gutters from moss, algae, and other organisms with copper gutter guards from MasterShield. MasterShield’s new copper technology weaves 99.9% pure copper threads into a 316 stainless steel micro mesh filter. This ground-breaking micromesh works to kill moss spores and other organisms that can live in the damp environment of your gutters.
Cleaning Gutters with Covers
Cleaning gutters with covers is a frustrating project. This is mainly because someone told you that you would never have to clean gutters if they had covers on them. Nevertheless, here you are, cleaning the gutters one more time. Only now you have to clean the covers too.
Once you get up on the ladder, you will have to remove the covers, but in order to do this, you will definitely have to have a helper. It will take two of you to remove the gutter covers and then put them back. Then, while you are cleaning the gutters on the ladder, your partner can be cleaning the covers on the ground.
The gutter covers will probably be held on by clips or screws, but some simply just sit down in the gutter along with the debris which you will also have to remove. They will also have to be put back when you are finished cleaning, but there is a better solution – gutter guards.
Gutter guards are gutter covers that go over your gutters to prevent debris from clogging them. MasterShield gutter guards are micro mesh gutter guards that allow water to freely flow through while preventing all other materials from getting inside your gutters.
Cleaning Copper Gutters
Many people buy copper gutters to add an attractive line to the edge of the roof. They may not realize that over time, however, the shiny copper surface changes to a patina color as the copper surface oxidizes. Cleaning copper gutters is a chore, but if you want to restore them to their original state, it is possible to do this by using common household products.
For a homemade and safe cleaning solution, mix 4 cups of salt, 4 cups of flour, and four cups of vinegar in a bucket until it forms a paste. Using a soft-bristled scrub brush, rub the cleaning paste into the copper surface with a circular motion.
When the patina is gone, wipe the surface with a soft cloth. When you have a section completed, move the ladder to the next section and repeat the process. Finish off cleaning copper gutters by spraying them with water to remove any excess paste.
Gutter Helmet Cleaning
Gutter helmet cleaning is much like cleaning gutters with covers. You will have to remove the gutter helmets before cleaning the gutters.
Unlike gutter covers, gutter helmets are more than likely held on by rivets, screws, or clips. You can usually remove the clips by hand, but the screws will have to be removed with a screwdriver. Rivet heads have to be taken out with a drill bit by drilling into the rivet head until it comes off.
Again, this is a two-person job. After your partner helps you get the gutter helmets off, you can clean the gutters while your helper is doing the gutter helmet cleaning.
Cleaning The Outside of Gutters
Cleaning the outside of gutters will improve the look of your home the most dramatically, and yet is actually the easiest of the gutter cleaning projects. In this case, prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The outside of gutters is easy to wash off periodically with a garden hose and a pressure attachment. This will remove loose buildup and other stains like bird droppings. You can also use a bucket of mild, soapy water to scrub off any more stubborn stains with a soft nylon scrub brush. Never use harsh cleaners on your gutters.
Rinsing off your gutters every few months will also give you a chance to inspect them for gutter problems like bird nests, leaves, and other debris. Removing this kind of debris once a month can save you a lot of time when it comes to gutter cleaning twice a year.
What is Ladderless Gutter Cleaning?
Ladderless gutter cleaning is one of those terms that home improvement centers use to get people to buy devices that will help with gutter cleaning when someone can’t get up on a ladder to clean the gutters themselves.
As you will see in the following headings, we will be covering the various forms of ladderless gutter cleaning which includes gutter cleaning tools and gutter cleaning systems. You will see many different ladderless gutter cleaning tools and systems on the market because they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
If you’re not sure you want to make the investment in ladderless gutter cleaning, but still want clean gutters, then microfiltration gutter guards may be a better option. The state-of-the-art micromesh technology found in MasterShield gutter guards can permanently put an end to clogged gutters, saving you from even having to think about cleaning your gutters ever again.
That may be worth more to you than any ladderless gutter cleaning tools you could possibly buy.