How to Clean Roofs and Gutters

Gutters and downspouts should not be neglected.  Annual maintenance or repair si needed if these are to perform the task for which they were built. Gutters and downspouts need to be checked and cleaned out each year apart from the periodical minor repairs and adjustments they require. Most gutter cleaning jobs are simple and require no special equipment or tools.

When tall trees are located close to the house, it is an absolute must that the roof and gutter undergo cleanout at least once a year — ideally in autumn after the leaves have fallen. Cleaning the gutter is most easily accomplished using an old whisk broom or a stiff brush, and may need to be repeated numerous times to make leaves fall continuously.  Piled up debris will clog up the downspouts or dam the gutters, causing rainwater back up and overflow.

To keep downspouts from clogging, the opening at the top should be secured with a special wire strainer which fits into the tip of the downspout. This permits water to flow through, but keeps leaves and other trash from entering the opening. Remember that this, too, should be checked regularly. Accumulated wet leaves could entangle against the outer part of the strainer and prevent water from passing through.

A better way to keep junk out of the gutter is to cover the whole length with strips of 1/4-inch mesh hardware material (a coarse screen wire). One side is pressed up under the lowest row of roof shingles and the other edge is fastened to the outer rim of the gutter using sheet metal screws. This acts like a "strainer" over the whole length of gutter to keep leaves and debris out.

To simplify installations of this form, ready-made gutter guards are available in a lot of hardware stores. These do not require any cutting to make them fit for they have specially made clips which can be snapped quickly into position. They come in various lengths and in rolls which you cut to your desired measurements.

© 2012 Athena Goodlight

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