Gutter cleaning is an essential part of good house maintenance. But cleaning your gutters yourself does call for a bit of forethought beforehand. While a small one story house is mostly just a frustrating chore, a three-floor townhouse is likely a job for a professional.
A good rule of thumb is how easy it is to get a ladder to reach your gutters. If you can easily find the ladder you need to reach your gutters, you could reasonably consider doing the job yourself. If it takes some effort to find a ladder tall enough to reach your gutters, you should hire a professional company to deal with the problem as that kind of gutter cleaning at that height can lead to falls that are crippling for life, if not immediately fatal.
Still, if you can reach your gutters with ease, cleaning them yourself is more than possible. It is relatively easy to scrape the sludge out of the gutters with a scraping tool, and the natural sludge of rotted leaves and other debris can be used as mulch or thrown on a compost heap. The downspout of the gutter system is particularly important as that needs to remain as unclogged as possible. If a downspout becomes plugged, water will not drain properly and will start seeping into the house, leading to mud in the house and potentially toxic mould and mildew. On top of that, the gutters will eventually sag, and if left unattended long enough, they will eventually collapse on themselves.
Check the spikes to make sure they’re all in the right place. A gutter spike is supposed to fit through the actual gutter, then go through the next layer, the fascia board of the house and finally rest in the rafter behind the fascia board. Spikes do eventually push their way out of the hole over the years, so investing in new gutter spikes to ensure the gutters are secured where they need to be may not be a bad idea.
Checking for leaks in the gutters can also be a good idea while you are cleaning them. Cracked caulking and holes in the gutters are the most frequent source of leaks and can cause a lot of damage if left unrepaired.
Scraping the old caulking out of the area with an old chisel, followed by applying a new layer of silicon sealing will keep water out of the damaged areas, keeping it from rotting the wooden material beneath that the house relies on to stay standing. While up there, also check the rivets that are attached to the downspout. They can get loose and fall down completely over the years, meaning that they’ll need to be replaced, and the new rivets applied with a rivet gun.
Cleaning the gutters is a matter of patience. One should scrape the sludge out of the gutters with a scraping tool, starting on one end of the house and then scrape what they can reach there, before climbing down, moving the ladder a bit to one side and then scraping out what they find there.