Fall Projects: Cleaning your Gutters

Fall is here and it is time to prepare for potentially extreme weather in the months ahead. It will get rainy and snowy in the winters ahead. For preparing for the winter, cleaning gutters and doing maintenance on them should be high on the priority list. Family Handyman has a few tips on making you’re your gutters stay hassle-free for the winter.

Cleaning gutters of leaves and other debris

You can clean debris and leaves from gutters using an old plastic spatula. It will not damage the gutter. You can also cut it with snips to fit the contours while cleaning the gutters. The best thing is that the spatula will be easy to clean and wipe off when you are done.

A plumber’s snake is also a great tool if your gutter downspout is clogged with wet leaves. It can easily pull out the leaves and make cleaning the gutters a breeze.

Pro Tip : Spray WD-40 Multi-Use Product before and after on gutter cleaning tools

Repairing sagging metal gutters by mounting a gutter hanger.

In addition to cleaning gutters, maintenance is equally important. Sagging metal gutters can be repaired by mounting a gutter hanger. The gutter hangers are an additional support to help the gutters stay sturdy.

Hook the hanger under the front edge and over the back edge of the gutter. Next, drive the hex head screw through the wood trim behind the gutter.

To make the hangers stronger, look for nail-heads indicating rafter locations and screw the hangers into the rafters.

Add new hangers about every 3 ft. along the entire length of the gutters, if the old ones have let go.

Another style of gutter hanger slides under the shingles and is nailed to the roof boards. If you use this type, be sure the shingles are flexible enough to be lifted without breaking.

Sealing leaking end caps.

End caps can leak even with well-maintained gutters, if they have started leaking, then it is time to seal the leaks. Using a scrub brush or coarse steel wool, scour off the oxidation around the seam or end cap before rinsing with water and leaving it to dry. Squirt some sealer around the seam and work it in with a gloved finger before letting it dry and seal up.

Add gutter covers.

To prolong the life and be safe from cleaning gutters more frequently than necessary, consider adding a gutter cover to reduce the amount of debris that enters your gutter system in the first place.

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