Top Tips For Quick And Effective Gutter Cleaning

Posted on: 25 April 2016

Your roof and guttering are the first line of defence in protecting your property from water damage.  Cleaning your gutters regularly not only keeps them working freely, it gives you the opportunity to check for damage.  Once the gutters are clean, you can contact a professional roofer to come and carry out repairs.

Here are some tips on how to clean your gutters quickly and effectively.

What you'll need

  • ladder
  • gloves
  • trowel
  • buckets
  • garden hose
  • pressure washer (you can hire one from a good tool hire shop if you don't have your own)
  • plumber's snake (auger)
  • stiff brush

You'll need to recruit a helper to 'foot' your ladder for you, as cleaning gutters does involve working at height.

How to do it

  1. Your first job is to get rid of any leaves and other debris from the gutters.  The easiest way to do this is by scooping out the muck with your trowel and dropping it into a bucket. Place your ladder on a level, firm base.  Ask your assistant to place their foot on the bottom rung and to hold the ladder firmly with one hand on each side.  When you stand on the ladder, keep your hips between the rails and don't lean out to the side, which could destabilise the ladder.  
  2. Now you need to clean out the downspout.  If the downspout is clogged up, the water will back up into the guttering, causing the gutters to sag and eventually leading to overflowing and splitting.  To do this, pull off the end of the downspout and set it aside.  Push the hosepipe or power washer into the downspout and use the water's power to flush out the blockage.  
  3. If the blockage in your downspout proves particularly stubborn, you might need to use a plumber's snake to push it or pull it out.  You can hire one of these tools from a good tool hire shop.  
  4. Once you're confident that the downspout is clear, you can set about cleaning the gutters.  Use the pressure washer to blast away any lingering debris.  Try to avoid hitting the gutters at a high angle in case you dislodge your roof tiles or drive water underneath them and into the roof space.  
  5. Any encrusted dirt can be removed by scrubbing it away using a stiff brush.

In conclusion

It's a good idea to routinely clean out your gutters at least annually after the leaves have finished falling in the autumn, so that the winter rains will drain away.  This also gives you an opportunity to check the gutters for any loose spikes or damaged caulking that may require the attention of a professional roofer.