To protect your home, gutters should be cleaned regularly to prevent them from becoming damaged due to a clogged gutter system. When cleaning the gutters this spring the tools you use to get the job done can make your spring home maintenance chore almost effortless. Vancouver gutters can take a lot of abuse during the winter months. Some basic gutter cleaning tools you need this spring include a gutter rake, a medium-size pail, and a sturdy ladder.
Some homeowners find gloves – any kind of glove – cumbersome when cleaning the gutters. While you might think you can get away with bare hands, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A good pair of leather or suede work gloves will keep your hands from coming directly into contact with debris (germs) and insects (bites). They will also protect your hands from snagging on sharp edges, nails, etc. that are a part of a gutter system. Avoid rubber gloves that can be torn or poked and cloth gloves which don’t offer enough protection. Wear latex gloves beneath the work gloves to keep your hands dry.
A general guideline for ladders is if your home is one storey use a step ladder; for two or more storeys use a straight or extension ladder. One made of metal is preferable to one made of wood since wood has a tendency to warp as it ages. When you are purchasing a new straight/extension ladder take into consideration any special features you would like – for example, if you have aluminum gutters, you might want to include a ladder standoff, also known as a ladder stabilizer, to protect the gutter system from dents.
Gutter Scoop vs. Garden Trowel
You can use a garden trowel to remove debris from the gutters. However, a gutter scoop is designed specifically to fit into the gutter channel. Trowels are typically made of metal; gutter scoops are usually made of plastic, reducing the risk of scratching aluminum gutters. A scoop also has higher sides, allowing for more debris to be removed at one time.
A gutter rake is useful for pulling the debris in a gutter channel toward you. There are a number of types of gutter rakes. Choose one that will allow you to work over and under the gutter hangers and can be attached to a short extension pole of a broom handle. This will allow you to increase your reach to a total of 12 to 15 feet, decreasing the number of times you have to climb up and down the ladder to move it along the gutter run.
Pail vs. Garbage Bag
While on a ladder, a medium-size pail is more convenient to deal with than a garbage bag. A pail can be hung from the ladder and debris removed from the gutters can be easily dumped into it. Some professional window cleaners and gutter cleaning technicians say that a square pail balances better when on a ladder than a round pail and takes up less storage space when not in use.
Pistol-Grip Spray Nozzle
A garden hose is the most efficient and safest way to rinse out the gutters once the debris has been removed. Using a pressure washer might do more harm than good, especially if the gutter system is older and made of aluminum. A garden hose with a pistol-grip spray nozzle will allow you to control the direction and flow of the water, eliminating the chance moisture can get in behind the gutters where it can encourage mold growth (gutters and siding) or wood rot (soffit and fascia).