If you feel like keeping up with seasonal maintenance on your home is impossible, you aren’t alone. The average American has less than five hours of free time per week. This can make it hard to get anything done at all, much less cross time-consuming projects like cleaning out your gutters off your list.
Many homeowners are turning to labor-saving upgrades such as rain gutter guards to reduce maintenance and help them keep up, but does gutter guard installation eliminate the need to clean out your gutters? Here are the facts.
Even the Best Gutter Guards Aren’t Perfect
Homeowners have a variety of gutter guard materials to choose from when they elect to install guards. The top three most popular and effective kinds are:
- Reverse curve guards
- Screen guards
- Mesh guards
The best gutter guards are constructed of fine stainless steel mesh. These guards keep the most debris out of your gutters without impeding the flow of rainwater or snowmelt through your gutter system.
Of course, steel mesh guards also cost the most. This is not a small consideration, as gutter guard cost can range from $5 to nearly $20 per linear foot.
Homeowners often believe that installing guards of any material means they will never have to clean their gutters again. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While gutter guards can substantially reduce the debris in your gutters, no style or material of guard can keep it out of your gutters completely.
How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Gutters?
Homeowners should clean out uncovered gutters twice a year. Experts recommend that homeowners clean their gutters as part of their annual summer prep and again before winter. Covered gutters, by contrast, only need to be cleaned every other year or so.
If you have trees near your roof, or your property collects higher-than-average quantities of debris from storms or other sources, you will need to clean out your gutters more often.
The type and quality of your gutter guards are also factors. Gutters with fine mesh screen covers can go the longest between cleanings. The wider or looser your covers are, the more often they will need cleaning.
No matter how long it has been since their last cleaning, sagging and straining are good indicators that your gutters need cleaning.
A safe rule of thumb is that when in doubt, you should clean your gutters. Failure to do so can:
- Result in flooding and water damage to your home and property
- Negate your insurance coverage for such damage
- Lead to gutter system damage that can be costly to fix
What Does Gutter Cleaning Involve?
At its most basic, cleaning covered gutters involves the following steps.
- Gather a ladder, cleaning equipment, tarp, and personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Put PPE on and lay out the tarp beneath the area in which you will be working
- Set up and secure your ladder
- Climb the ladder and remove the gutter guard
- Clean out the gutter and clean off the gutter guard using your hands, a hose, or a pressure washer (dropping leaves and debris on the tarp below for easy cleanup later)
- Reaffix the gutter guard
- Climb down the ladder and reposition it and the tarp so that you can reach the next section of gutter
- Repeat steps three through seven until you have cleaned all of your gutters and reinstalled all guards
- Check and clean out all downspouts
- Clean and put away all equipment and properly dispose of the debris on the tarp
Why You Should Let a Professional Clean Your Gutters
While it is possible for some homeowners to clean their gutters themselves, there are many strong reasons why every homeowner should hire professionals to do the job for them.
First, gutter cleaning can be physically taxing and dangerous. There is tremendous potential for things to go wrong.
For instance, homeowners may slip and fall off the ladder. They may cut or otherwise injure themselves in the gutter removal, cleaning, and replacement process. Family members assisting in the process or underfoot while it is happening may also be injured.
Second, improperly cleaned gutters can negate your insurance coverage. Most homeowners’ policies require that homeowners do proper maintenance and that gutters be kept in good working order. If you do not comply with this requirement, damage to your home resulting from a gutter overflow or malfunction will not be covered.
This means that it is critical that:
- Your gutters get properly cleaned
- Your gutter guards are reinstalled correctly
- You can prove you had your gutters properly cleaned and reinstalled
Hiring an expert removes you from the liability equation. It ensures that your insurance coverage will be fully in effect should you need it.
Finally, cleaning gutters yourself is time-consuming. With less than five hours per week to yourself, on average, your free time is invaluable. Spending it climbing up and down a ladder to clean out your gutters by yourself is not a good use of time.
When you hire professionals, they bring the experience and equipment needed to get the job done fast and effectively. This guarantees that you will get a quality job done and frees up your precious time for more rewarding personal activities.
Choosing a Gutter Cleaning Service
When choosing a gutter cleaning service, it is best to go with one that also provides roof cleaning services. Having your roof cleaned at the same time as your gutters:
- Prevents roof debris from washing into newly emptied gutters and negating the cleaning
- Brightens and improves the total appearance of your home
- Ensures that you meet all of the maintenance and upkeep requirements in your insurance policy
- Is more economical than having your roof and gutters cleaned separately
- Allows you to cross off all of your pre-summer or pre-winter prep at once
You may also want to look for quality providers that are:
- UAMCC Roof Certified
- OSHA Compliant
- Offering maintenance contracts
This will allow you to work with only the best and get optimal results.
Schedule an Appointment
If you have gutter guards on your gutters, don’t take the risk of trying to clean them yourself. Schedule an appointment today and let our experienced professionals do the job for you. Our Soft Wash roof and gutter cleaning method will leave your home protected and looking like new in no time.