Gutter cleaning is definitely not something we look forward to job but it is a very critical part of gutter maintenance. The biggest problem with seamless aluminum gutters is that they tend to fill up with leaves, sticks, roof particles and other debris. Keep in mind that most of this debris could be kept out of the gutter system by simply installing gutter leaf screens.
Even with leaf screens installed, you should still take a look inside your gutters at least twice a year. (Typically in the Spring and Fall). If you do find debris in them, just take a water hose and spray right through the screen and wash the debris right down the downspouts. Be sure to disconnect any downspouts that are connected to underground drain line first. Occasionally, debris such as pine needles may need to be manually cleaned off.
Gutter cleaning on gutters without leaf screens is a little more labor intensive. If the debris in the gutter is not compact or matted and you have someone to help you, the easiest thing to do is vacuum the gutters out with a wet/dry vac. One person on the ground to hold the vac and the other person to vacuum out the gutters.
Keeping your gutters clean can be a difficult task, but there are quite a few gutter cleaning products on the market that are designed to make your job less difficult.
The Gutter Getter 00652 Gutter Care and Cleaning Kit can be used to remove encrusted layers of leaves and debris. I have also found that an angled paint scraper about 3 inches wide, works great. It fits perfectly down inside a 5 inch gutter and the angle allows you to lift out the debris.
Start cleaning from the downspout area first, since this is where the heaviest buildup usually is. Try not to let the debris fall into the downspout where it may become lodged. This is especially important if your downspout is connected to an underground drainage system.
While you're doing the semi-annual the gutter cleaning, this would be a good time to check the gutter for potential problems like loose or damaged gutter brackets, cracked or missing sealant, signs of leaks like rotten wood or stains.
For general exterior gutter cleaning to remove soil and stains known as tiger stripes resulting from industrial fallout, tree sap, insecticides or chimney fumes, use ordinary nonabrasive household detergent. The solution should be applied to the soiled surface by means of a soft rag, sponge, or soft bristle brush with a gentle rubbing action. Do not rub vigorously so as to create glossy areas over the satin finish. Soft bristle brushes equiped with a long extension handle may be used to reach some of the higher areas. It is important that immediately following all washing operations, the entire surface be thoroughly rinsed with water.
To remove stubborn stains, use a heavy duty cleaner such as "Fantastic". Heavy soil deposits may not be removable in one application and may require repeated cleaning over some length of time.
Do not use cleaners containing abrasive particles, ammonia, solvents or paint removers for cleaning. These materials may soften or remove the finish.
There are several gutter cleaners on the market such as KRUD KUTTER KR32 Tough Task Remover, 32-Ounce and Gutter Zap Cleaning Spray - Improvements that are environmentally friendly and biodegradable so they are safe for people, pets and plants. If you have plants or shrubs below your gutters, be sure to use cleaners that do not contain bleach or ammonia.
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