Gutter cleaning: DIY Tips

GutterCleaning_Incorrectly_1-300x225Use this checklist before you tackle your DIY gutter cleaning.
At its best, gutter cleaning is a tedious and dirty task. At worst it can be downright dangerous. A slight misstep or over-reach and you could end up with more than a bruised ego.

Consider that falls are among the leading causes of unintentional home injury and death; with nearly 1500 deaths per year according to a 2003 Statistics Canada report.

“Knowing how to use household tools and equipment safely should be the first thing you consider before starting any project if you are going to do it yourself,” said Al Johnson, WorkSafeBC’s Regional Director for Construction. If you are unfamiliar with correct ladder usage take a moment and familiarize yourself with the basic steps for safe ladder use.

• Asses your home. The challenge for every cleaning project is access. How will you get to all the areas? Do you have multiple or inset rooflines? Dormers? Is your home on a slope?
• Have the right equipment. Wooden ladders, and step ladders are not recommended because they are often wobbly. Opt for extension ladders if possible.
• Wear gloves. Protect the hands from scratches  and exposure to bird & animal waste.
• Rake off the roof. Clear the valleys first otherwise in the next rainfall this material will end up in your gutters.
• Over reach from the ladder. You’re won’t save much time by reaching for that extra six inches. Climb down the ladder and reposition.
• Walk on the roof. As tempting as it may be, roofs can be slippery.
• Use metal tools inside the gutter. Scraping the gutter can introduce the area to rust.
• Lean the ladder on the gutter it will cause dents. Use ladder bumpers and set against the roof.

Hire a Pro
Hesitant on doing this yourself? Consider a professional gutter cleaner. get three estimates but don’t go for the cheapest one. The guy with the 1980 pick up truck and a rock bottom price could possibly do a good job, but might not have insurance. RULE #1, make sure whomever you hire has insurance. If someone takes a tumble off a ladder and is not covered, you as the homeowner are liable.