When it comes to the end of summer, many people’s minds turn to making sure their house is in as good a condition as possible. With wet weather around the corner, our considerations naturally focus on keeping it dry, warm, cosy and an enjoyable space to spend time.
There are number of things worth doing to the outside of your home to make sure your property stays as dry as possible. In this guide, we look at cleaning gutters and the benefits of a debris-free gutter.
Many people wait until it’s too late to get this job done – when the weather is good is the ideal time to get rid of the debris that accumulates over time. Professionals suggest cleaning gutters twice a year, once in spring and once in autumn. However, if you live near trees, you may need to clear gutters more regularly.
Unfortunately, even having gutter guards or covers doesn’t mean that your gutter is totally maintenance free. No matter how good a product is at preventing leaves and debris from entering a gutter, it’s virtually impossible to stop all of it.
Why is it important to clean the gutter?
When gutters take rainwater away from the house, they are essentially preventing a build-up of water in areas you least want it. Excess water in certain areas can wreak havoc on the structural integrity of your property. Often it will ingress through the walls and into your house. Blocked gutters can be a cause of penetrating damp.
Replacing gutters if you have neglected to clean them out can also be expensive. Often, the weight of debris, leaves and twigs in gutters is heavy enough to break them off. They can also cause quite a lot of damage on the way down!
Can I clean the gutter myself?
You can hire a professional to clear your gutters for around £40-£70. Most window cleaners offer this service, however you can save over £100 a year by cleaning the gutters yourself.
Who is responsible for cleaning a house’s gutters in rented properties?
If cleaning the gutters is a landlord or tenants’ responsibility is a heavily debated issue. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer. If it’s not stated in your contract, then we advise contacting your landlord directly.
How to clean a gutter: step by step
To clean a gutter you need to ensure that you’re safe and that you have the right equipment to clean out the gutter properly.
Tools to clear your gutters
- Tall ladder
- Garden/builders gloves
- Brown garden waste bags or bin liner
- Rake (if you’re going to rake up debris to add to compost)
1. Set a ladder at arm’s length from the wall and ascend with caution. Keep sharp objects out of your pocket and make sure someone is with you.
2. Once you get to the gutter, begin removing the leaves and debris from the gutter. Either put directly into a garden waste bag or bin liner. If you are composting the debris, throw into a pile on the floor and rake up when complete.
Don’t attempt to take buckets up a ladder as it can become pretty precarious. Always drop the bags to the ground when each one is full.
3. Always move the ladder rather than trying to reach further than an arm’s length. The leaves and debris that settle in the gutter can be very heavy and therefore difficult to manage at height.
4. Once the main debris is out of the way, it’s important to clear out the residuals. Use a hose and spray water down the gutter and downspouts first to clear away any bits you may have missed, but also to ensure water flows normally again without getting clogged.
Once this is done, it’s a great chance to make any other amends to the outside of your property. Consider a fresh lick of paint, applying a façade cream or water repellent to protect your brickwork or repair any damaged render.
Here to help
Permagard has more than 30 years' experience in the industry. We can recommend and advise on a wide range of home renovation and damp proofing products. If you are experiencing issues with penetrating damp and water penetration then browse our range of water repellents or get in touch. Contact us for more information.