It’s probably not the first thing that pops into your mind on a lovely summer’s day, but now is the perfect time to clean out your gutters. Why? Well, because it’s dry and warm, meaning it’ll be a much more pleasant and safer task than if you’re doing it in the driving wind and rain or when there’s ice on the ground.
And, cleaning out your gutters is an essential task for any homeowner anyway. That way, you prevent gutters from getting clogged and leaking water down the brickwork. Or, worse still, becoming damaged and falling off on a member of the family’s head as they walk past the house. Neither scenario bodes well.
@Family Handyman: “You should clean your gutters a minimum of once a year. You should do it more often if you have overhanging trees and after a big storm.”
Here’s what you should be doing for your gutters on the next nice sunny day:
Get rid of the old leaves, scraps of paper, feathers, stones and other debris that have fallen into your gutters since the last time you looked.
Look out for nests – whether birds or insects. House martins commonly nest under roofs near gutters. You’ll be able to spot these right away. Some birds, however, nest inside gutters. Move the nest out, together with any other twigs and resultant foliage.
Wasps can also nest around gutters. For an infestation, it’s important not to tackle this yourself but to call out a pest exterminator. And do it quickly – before the wasps decide to settle inside your home.
Use a wet brush to get rid of any dirt and mould that has accumulated on the gutters. You could also opt for a cleaning solution if that makes it easier to get rid of the grime. Just rinse the cleaner off afterwards when you power-wash down with a hose on a low setting.
Inspect the gutters for physical damage. That means looking out for cracks or gaps where the two sides have broken away. Check too for rust. If there’s a lot of rust then consider replacing that part of the guttering.
When you hosed your guttering down after cleaning it, you’ll have noticed if there were any leaks, indicating gaps and holes that need repairing. Small leaks can be repaired with roofing cement and metal flashing. Otherwise, bring in a professional to deal with it.
And, talking of inspecting, while you’re up there checking out the gutters, it’s a good idea to do a quick once-over of the roof too.
Do any of the tiles look loose and about to come off? Or are some of them cracked? Either way, these will need to be fixed. Not only could they cause dampness problems, but they could come off on a windy day and hit a passerby – with calamitous consequences. Again, in these circumstances, it’s best to get in a professional roofer to replace the tiles rather than risk doing yourself an injury by falling off.