The Homeowner’s Guide to Roof and Gutter Cleaning
Any homeowner knows the nightmare that comes with roof and gutter maintenance but unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil. Keeping your gutters clean and free of debris is pivotal to ensuring your home remains protected from water damage. Approximately 29% of homeowners’ insurance claims relate to water damage, making high-quality gutters one of the best investments you can make for your home.
Not only do you need to make sure you have reliable gutters, but regular roof and gutter cleaning can protect your home and ensure everything functions as it should. Whether you’re a new homeowner just getting started or you’re a veteran looking for tips, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about keeping your roof and gutters in tip-top shape.
The Importance of Roof and Gutter Cleaning
So what exactly does it mean to maintain your roof and gutter? Gutter and roof cleaning involve removing dirt, debris, and other potential blockages that could stop rainwater from being directed away from your roof, walls, and foundations.
Homeowners who invest in maintenance throughout the year will extend the lifespans of their roof and gutter systems. Sounds expensive right? You may be surprised to learn that proper roof and gutter maintenance actually cuts costs in the long run. You can also hire professionals to help you install, maintain and repair gutters at reasonable prices.
Let’s examine why maintaining the condition of your roof is so beneficial to both your home and your wallet.
Prevent Roof Damage
Clogged gutters cannot remove rainwater from your roof via downspouts. When rainwater gets trapped in the gutter, it increases the risk of penetrating your roof and causing costly damage to your home. Some of the most common consequences of blockages include:
Compromising the structural integrity of your roof
Roof damage from weather is more common than you think. In 2017, approximately 10.7 million homes saw their roofs damaged from hail storms alone. With severe weather becoming more common nationwide, something as simple as removing leaves from gutters could save you from a massive roof repair bill.
Protect Exterior Walls
The exterior of your home is especially vulnerable to rainwater. If there’s a gap in your guttering, rainwater can quickly seep down your walls. The fascias, soffits, and shingles become vulnerable when your guttering is waterlogged.
Mold, mildew, and algae are familiar sights on exterior walls without regular gutter cleaning. While most of these issues are aesthetic, real damage can be caused if the problem is left unattended.
Prevent Cracks in Your Home’s Foundations
Cracks in your home’s foundations compromise the integrity of your entire home. Did you know that 25% of all U.S. homes will experience problems with the foundations at some point? Repairing foundation issues are among the costliest repairs a homeowner can make.
Inefficient or blocked gutters result in water from the roof reaching your basement and the foundations. Over time, the water will erode your landscaping, saturate the ground, and place unnecessary strain on your foundation.
Some of the most common issues caused by water reaching the lowest levels of your home include:
Doors and windows no longer closing
Cracks in the drywall
Cracked foundations also occur because when water saturates the ground around your home, the soil expands and pushes against the home’s foundations. After the ground dries, your foundation contracts. Constant shrinking and expansion will eventually cause permanent damage to the foundation.
Prevent Pest Infestations
Small animals and insects like to nest in areas with standing water. Gutters filled with leaves are the perfect nesting ground for birds, squirrels, rats, and insects. While it doesn’t happen overnight, blocked gutters provide a gateway for infestations in your attic, especially during winter. Cleaning your gutters acts as a deterrent for unwelcome guests and keeps your home safe from pests (and the diseases they bring).
When to Get Your Gutters and Roof Cleaned
Knowing the best way to clean gutters from the ground is useless if you don’t do it often enough. But how do you know it’s the right time to spend a Saturday afternoon doing some DIY gutter cleaning?
Generally, the best time to clean your gutters is before the rainy season starts (this may vary depending on your region, so do some research on local weather patterns). However, you should keep an eye out for warning signs throughout the year. Whether you choose a homemade gutter cleaner or enlist the help of a professional, every homeowner can take care of their gutters by knowing what to look for.
Here are some common symptoms of your gutters needing a little TLC.
Pooling - Water pooling on your lawn, in your driveway, or next to your home’s foundations is the most common sign that your water isn’t being drained away from your property correctly.
Dripping/No Dripping - If your gutter is constantly dripping, you have a leak. On the flip side, if your gutters fail to drain entirely, you have a clog somewhere.
Water in the Wrong Place - Leaks in the attic, water in the basement, or damp spots on your walls are all places water shouldn’t be. These are red flags that your foundations or roof may have sustained damage.
Animal/Insect Presence - If you’ve got bugs in your house or you’re starting to spot animal droppings, you may have an infestation in your walls or attic.
In short, anything that looks out of place means it’s time to call in an expert.
How Often Should I Clean My Gutters?
Like many other home improvement questions, the short answer is: it depends. Where you live will significantly impact how often you should clean your gutters. Most experts recommend having your gutters cleaned by a professional at least once a year. Preferably, you should hire someone to clean your gutters once in late spring and once in the early fall.
Some homeowners may benefit from additional inspections and cleaning. For example, if you have pine trees above your house, you may need to have your gutters cleaned once every three months. Homeowners living at higher elevations may also need to have their gutters cleaned throughout the winter. For these locations, it’s highly recommended to hire an expert to avoid damage and injury.
How to Clean Gutters from the Ground
Cleaning gutters from the ground is possible without the help of a professional. However, you’ll never get the professional quality that only comes from hiring an experienced contractor. There’s also the risk of damage and injury when performing DIY home projects.
Note: we don’t recommend climbing a ladder and trying to perform the job with a homemade gutter cleaner. Every year, 500,000 people receive emergency room treatment because of accidents involving ladders.
For big jobs, you should always call a professional. But if you’ve noticed a couple of minor warning signs and want to do some minor maintenance on your own, here are a few ways to clean gutters from the ground.
Garden hoses are available for a reasonable price and are a great option if you’re trying to figure out how to clean gutters on a steep roof. Use the water to blast away dirt from your gutters. This method is ideal for dealing with light debris, such as dust, twigs, pine needles, and dry leaves.
Attach an extension tube to the garden hose, adjust the pressure, and start hitting the gutters to direct debris toward your downspout. You’ll need to repeat the process for each side of the house individually.
Make sure your hose is long enough, depending on how many stories your home has. Also, be aware of increasing the pressure to high levels. Pressurized water can damage fragile guttering systems if you’re not careful.
Thought vacuuming was only done inside? Think again! Vacuuming gutter and roof debris is another easy option for removing light debris from your home. For this method, you’ll need a wet/dry vacuum and an extension kit to reach your gutters from the ground. Your extension kit will connect to the vacuum and include a bent end to allow the vacuum to get over the edge of the gutter.
Put your extension kit together, place the curved end into the gutter, and switch it on. After you’ve moved along your gutter, use a garden hose to flush away anything remaining down your home’s downspout. Note: vacuuming may be unsuitable if your gutter is clogged with heavy or sticky debris. In these cases, it’s best to call a professional to avoid damage to your gutters and roof.
Grab your leaf blower and attach a nozzle to it. Investing in the nozzle attachment will allow your leaf blower to produce a strong, steady air stream to blow away light debris.
Direct your leaf blower so any debris will be pushed toward your downspout. After repeating the process on each side of the house, use a garden hose to flush away any remaining debris.
Note: take extra care to avoid blowing leaves into your downspout and creating an extra blockage.
DIY Gutter Cleaning vs. Professional Cleaning
Generally, using a DIY gutter cleaner is only effective if your gutters have light debris inside. Homes with steep roofs, sticky debris, or other challenges are best served by a professional to ensure a top-quality job while keeping you safe.
So, should you hire a professional specializing in roof and gutter cleaning or handle the job yourself? Let’s look at each option in more detail.
DIY Gutter Cleaning
Cleaning your gutters is always challenging unless you have a background in the industry. Some homeowners clean their gutters, but without training and experience, it’s best to entrust this important job to an expert.
Easy to Remove Light Debris - Clean light debris with ease. Opting for roof and gutter cleaning from the ground effectively removes dust, twigs, leaves, and pine needles.
Clean On Your Schedule - Work according to your schedule whenever you have a spare moment.
Save Money - Professionals cost money, but with some basic equipment, you can do some light cleaning at a lower cost.
Dangerous - Accidents happen all the time when people attempt roof and gutter cleaning on their own. Using a ladder to clean your gutters could result in an expensive trip to the emergency room. Another risk is damaging your home, resulting in bills much higher than a standard maintenance visit would have cost.
Time Investment - For what you save in monetary terms, you lose in time. Sacrificing your afternoon means losing precious personal time.
Quality - Only a professional can provide the five-star results you expect, especially if your gutter is severely clogged.
Professional Gutter Cleaning
You can perform some supplementary cleaning on your own but it’s always best to do it alongside a professional. Using an expert ensures your gutter is completely clear of debris, in addition to keeping you and your home safe.
Professional roof and gutter cleaning are not as expensive as most people think. Extending your gutter’s lifespan, completing the job fast, and addressing early warning signs are worth every cent.
Lower Your Risk - Roofing companies assume all the responsibility and liability for accidents or damage sustained on the job. If the worst happens, you won’t be left out of pocket because any legitimate roofing company will be fully insured.
Stay Safe - Without proper training, DIY roof and gutter cleaning can be extremely dangerous. When you hire a professional, you eliminate the risk of falling or hurting yourself, as well as any risk that you may damage your roof or gutters.
Better Quality - Often, gutters are difficult to clean and just hosing them down won’t do the trick. Professionals use specialist equipment to leave your gutters as good as new.
Availability - Spring and fall are when gutter specialists are in high demand. You’ll need to schedule a visit well in advance to ensure your professional has space for you.
Cost - Even the most affordable professionals will cost more than a hose and a ladder. It’s true that you’ll spend more when hiring a professional, but you’ll save money in the long run.
Roof and Gutter Cleaning from Gutt-R-Done
Your roof and guttering system needs regular care and attention to ensure it functions at its best. At Gutt-R-Done, we support homeowners in installing and maintaining the highest-quality gutters in Lafayette, LA.
Our guttering systems are designed to move water away from your home, minimize maintenance, and improve your home’s curb appeal. Choose a company with decades of experience in the business for a healthy home and peace of mind.
To learn more about keeping your gutters in tip-top condition, schedule a consultation with Gutt-R-Done today.