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How to clear your guttering

23rd Feb '24 • By Rohit Mankame

Over time guttering can become clogged with dirt, debris and mould. It's important to regularly clean your gutters to ensure your home is well maintained and to prevent potential problems and risks such as fire. But what's the best way to clear your gutters?

Gutters manage the flow of rainwater from the rooflines. This safeguards the roof, walls, base and vegetation of your house. It may lead to sagging gutters, create damp basements and can even damage your interior and exteriors of your homes if debris builds up in them. 

Your guttering can also become a home for rodents and insects. If you have gutters and are neglecting their maintenance, it may lead to costly repairs down the line. 

They should be cleaned at least twice a year, ideally in spring and autumn. If you've never cleaned your gutters before or don't feel comfortable getting up the ladder, we suggest hiring a professional gutter cleaner to clear your drainage. 

Article Summary

  • Why do gutters become blocked?
  • The clearing process
  • Regular maintenance
  • The role of gutter guards in maintenance


Why Do Gutters Become Blocked?

Guttering becomes blocked for several reasons. Dirt and debris can find their way into your guttering, with leaves, twigs and other foreign objects being some of the main contributors. Guttering can also become mouldy over time and algae-like growths can cause obstructions that mean your gutters perform less effectively. Guttering can also rust and develop weak points leading to leakages if you are not careful. As a result, clearing out your gutters from time to time is essential to get maximum performance from your drainage.

The main problems that can arise include:

Cracks or Splits

Minor cracks can develop on your gutters enabling water to infiltrate the cracks, and roof shingles above and below the foundations. It is best to replace any split or cracked sections of gutters.

Paint Damage and Rust 

Usually paint on gutters is weather-resistant. Peeling paint or rust means that water is present on the surface continuously. Look for debris that is blocking your guttering to get the water flowing. It's best to fix the paint on the affected part or replace the section altogether.

Water and Mould

Often, you'll be able to see segments of water logged up in the gutters. This can indicate that there may be a fault in the system. Make sure to remove the clog or replace the section of gutter and downspout. 

Water Damage 

Inspect your gutters on a sunny dry day to check for signs of water damage. Underneath the gutters, water damage may mean that they leak or flood with water, building rust in due time. Check for potential blockages, a gap or a leak in the portion, then fix the problem by removing the damaged segment.

Sagging Gutters

An indication that it's time to replace your gutters is when they begin to sag. Guttering is never meant to sag or pull away from the house. Sagging gutters mean that they no longer drain properly and need to be replaced. 

The Clearing Process

The clearing process for guttering is quite straightforward, and there is very little in the way of specialised skill required. For this task, you'll need a ladder, brush and bucket to remove obstructions and clean your gutters. Feel free to flush your gutters with water where possible – this can again help remove obstructions and bring them down to ground level where they can properly be disposed of.

What are the safety practices that you will need to follow?

  • Ladder safety: Do not overreach and never climb above the second to last step. When using a step ladder, set it up on flat ground. 
  • Wear safety glasses to keep bits of dried leaves and other debris out of your eyes.
  • Put on the rubber gloves under your work gloves if the debris is damp. This will help keep your hands dry while protecting them.


Regular Maintenance

While cleaning out your gutters may not be the most exciting task, it's an essential job to ensure they're working as effectively as possible. Regularly maintaining your gutters means you are less likely to have a costly full-scale replacement. Further, by keeping on top of your gutter cleaning, you reduce the risk of water damage or fire.

The Role of Gutter Guards in Maintenance

Gutter guards are a valuable addition to your guttering system, providing an extra layer of protection against debris and reducing the frequency of manual cleanings. These guards act as filters, preventing leaves, twigs, and other objects from entering the gutters while allowing water to flow freely.

Advantages of Gutter Guards

  1. Reduced Cleaning Frequency: Installing gutter guards significantly decreases the need for regular cleanings, saving you time and effort.

  2. Prevention of Clogs: Gutter guards act as a barrier, preventing large debris from accumulating and causing blockages. This is particularly beneficial in areas with heavy foliage.

  3. Extended Gutter Lifespan: By minimising the exposure to debris and standing water, gutter guards contribute to the longevity of your gutter system, reducing the risk of rust and structural damage.

  4. Enhanced Fire Prevention: In regions prone to wildfires, gutter guards play a crucial role in preventing the accumulation of flammable materials, reducing the risk of fire spreading through airborne embers.

Choosing the Right Gutter Guard

When selecting gutter guards, consider factors such as the local climate, the types of trees around your property, and the specific design of your gutters. Mesh guards, bottle brush guards, and foam inserts are popular options, each offering unique benefits.

Regularly inspect and clean the gutter guards as part of your overall maintenance routine to ensure they continue to provide optimal protection. Investing in gutter guards is a proactive step towards a more efficient and low-maintenance guttering system.

By incorporating gutter guards into your gutter maintenance plan, you can further safeguard your home against potential damage, reduce the risk of fire, and extend the lifespan of your guttering system.

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