Gutter Cleaning Reality for Fall on the Suncoast
Gutter cleaning is one of those necessary evils of homeownership. With the amount of rain, we get our gutters to get a workout helping drain away water from our home year-round. Of course, getting up on a ladder during the summertime months is definitely a backbreaking and heat-stroke-inducing activity. As we move into fall though, temperatures come down and rain is not as prevalent gutter cleaning is an important thing to remember to ensure these essential fixtures to your home continue to properly function all year round.
Why Clean Gutters
Many people think that gutters are an install and forget kind of device for the home. Sure, they drain water, and it would seem that that means they remain clean of debris and such by constantly running water through them. This is not the case debris can back up, clog and cake your gutters causing water to back up. Here are some great reasons to ensure gutter cleaning is part of your home maintenance schedule:
- Prevent water damage from water backlogged by items in the gutter. Water can overflow the gutters and moved into cracks and crevices of your home causing damage.
- Prevent foundation issues, as gutters move water away from your home effectively and protect the base of your home from cracks and leakage that can occur when water pools around it.
- Pest control is another great reason to ensure gutters are clear of debris and goo that many pests and rodents like to take of residence in.
- Roof protection as water that overflows gutters will many times back up onto your roof causing water leaks.
- Landscaping can also become a victim of bad gutter drainage. All the time and money spent to make the outside of your home beautiful can be undone if water drains and floods these areas instead of properly draining away from the home.
- Maintaining the gutters themselves and additional expense is the best reasons to do regular maintenance on these devices. With maintenance gutters and downspouts should last about 20-30 years, with the cost of gutters ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, having to replace them can is more expensive then a good maintenance schedule.
DIY Gutter Cleaning
Many love the ability to get out and care for their home themselves. Gutter cleaning will involve getting up on a ladder and doing some pretty intensive cleaning, but with the right tools and a little patience is easily accomplished. Here is a comprehensive step by step of how to do your own gutter cleaning:
- Make sure you have a good, sturdy, extendable ladder. Always place the ladder on a sturdy surface (beware of landscaping rocks below, which can shift). You can use a ladder stabilizer both for safety and prevent damage to the gutters. Also, it’s best to have a helper around if you drop something or need a hand with the ladder.
- Dress for the job. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, work pants, and rubber gloves.
- To remove the gunk from the gutters, use a small, plastic scoop. Gutter scoops are available at the hardware store, or a child’s sandbox shovel also works just fine. If you have an old plastic kitchen spatula, that works too, and it won’t damage the gutters.
- Spread a tarp underneath your workspace to collect all the gutter gunk and protect your lawn and landscaping.
- Once you’ve removed the debris from the gutters, use a garden hose to flush the gutters and downspouts and clear out any remaining debris. This will also show you if you have any leaks.
- Once the gutters are clear, repair any sagging metal. You can do this by mounting a gutter hanger. Many gutter repairs are DIY jobs.
- Once you get the hang of it, gutter cleaning isn’t that bad, and you’ll feel great when it’s done! Now that you know how to clean out gutters, add them to your to-do list at least once a year.
Finding a Professional
Of course with many that keep second homes in Florida, or simply don’t have the ability or desire to do it themselves, hiring a professional to clean your gutters might be your best option. That said, this is a critical part of your home maintenance and there are a few things to check for in your gutter cleaning professional.
- Be sure they are licensed as this job involves your home, so you want to ensure that the person doing the work is licensed, insured, and bonded for your peace of mind.
- Local companies are important as they will know the issues impacting gutters due to elements unique to your climate and area.
- Be sure they have thoroughly inspected the home when providing a quote to ensure no “hidden” or “unknown” charges creep into the project.
- Warranties become important when hiring a professional. If there is damage during the work or shoddy work after the job is complete, who covers the cost is critical to know upfront.
- What additional services do they provide – gutter guards, repair, and such to know expectations for such things as they go. Finding a single professional able to do all gutter projects A to Z is normally best for your project’s cost, timelines, and turnaround.
- Reviews are very important for consumers to check. The internet gives various information on service providers, and doing your homework upfront can ensure fewer heartaches down the road.
Your home is one of the biggest investments you are going to make. Ensuring proper maintenance of all aspects will ensure that investment continues to hold up well year over year. Gutter cleaning is a critical component of ensuring that all the rain we see here on the Suncoast is properly drained away from our home to prevent a variety of concerns from arising impacting your roof, foundation, and landscaping. Doing it yourself or hiring a professional this vital process needs to be on every Suncoast homeowner’s list to check before our next rainy season.
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