Gutter Tips from a General Contractor – Forbes Consultant


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Your roof has hard work to do. Sometimes you need help with heavy lifting. The job of your gutter system is to divert the rainfall that your roof has collected away from the foundation of your home. That’s hard work too. Here’s what you need to know about your gutters and helpful information from our experts to make them up to the task.

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Q: How do professionals clean gutters?

A: Professional gutter cleaners often begin their job by removing dirt from the roof. Then they vacuum dirt from the entire length of the gutter. The downspouts are flushed with water pressure tools and the rest of the system is cleaned with similar tools.

Finally, they flush the gutters to remove any debris and clean the outside of the gutter system. Any stubborn spots are brushed by hand, usually with specially made extension tools. Most companies then take the removed debris with them for disposal.

Q: What are gutter guards and are they worth it?

A: A gutter protection system is a physical barrier that lets water into your gutters but keeps dirt out of them. If you live in a home surrounded by sloping trees, professionally installed, high quality gutter protection is well worth the cost. They will help keep gutter problems to a minimum. However, regular cleaning is still required.

On the other hand, cheap, store-bought gutter guards can do more harm than good, especially if they’re not properly installed. The saying “you get what you pay for” effectively applies to DIY gutter protection. Many homemade gutter protectors are very effective. Just be sure to buy decent quality guards and follow the installation instructions carefully.

Q: Should you go on a roof to clean gutters?

A: Walking on a rooftop should be avoided for reasons other than an emergency. To clean a hard-to-reach gutter where ladders or extension tools won’t work, you may need to go up on your roof. Keep in mind, however, that most household injuries result from ladder and roof accidents. Be extremely careful if you have to go to the roof.

Q: How often should gutters be cleaned / serviced?

A: Homeowners are often told that gutter cleaning is essential at least twice a year. It’s a good rule for most situations. The truth is, it totally depends on the type and amount of dirt your gutters are dealing with.

If your house is surrounded by tall pines or trees that give off a lot of seeds (like my house), you may need to clean your gutters every month during the summer. If there are no trees nearby, once a year is probably enough. New asphalt shingles throw off debris that can cause gutter problems. Check your gutters often if you’ve recently installed a roof.

Q: What mistakes do people make when they damage their gutters?

A: Incorrect installation of gutter protection can be a very costly mistake. The problem is twofold. The misconception that your gutters no longer need cleaning because they are protected will eventually lead to system failure. Worse, if this failure occurs in sub-zero temperatures, it can cause an ice dam to punch a hole in the roof, potentially causing extreme damage.

Q: Can you clean your gutters and gutter guards with a pressure washer?

A: Pressure washer attachments are widely used for gutter cleaning. They are very effective, especially when used in conjunction with wet / dry vacuums or leaf blowers. They are simply rigid pressure washer hose attachments that are long or extendable and curved to allow work from the ground.

Q: Who should you call if you have problems with your gutters?

A: The first call should be to a dedicated gutter company. Most of them perform installations, repairs, and cleaning services. You will be able to fix any issues one way or another. If your gutter problems caused water damage, you may need to call a contractor or roofing company for repairs.

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