Gutter cleaning is up there with some of the worst household maintenance tasks, but it’s a necessary evil.
It’s a good idea to clean your gutters at least once a year, preferably at the end of autumn after the leaves have fallen and before the heavy rain starts. If you don’t, your gutters can become clogged, leaving your home and garden susceptible to potential water damage.
You can of course pay a professional to clean your gutters for you, but it’s simple enough to do yourself if you have the right equipment.
There are a few ways to clean your gutters yourself, the safest being from the ground up using a ladder. Keep reading to learn how to DIY your gutter cleaning and decide which type of ladder will work best for you.
What’s the Best Ladder for Cleaning Gutters?
The type of ladder needed for cleaning gutters will depend on the height of your house. If you live in a single-storey home such as a bungalow, a standard leaning ladder measuring 4m tall or more would work fine.
However, if your house is two storeys you’ll likely need to use an extension ladder. If you don’t already own one, there are plenty of DIY extension ladders out there available to purchase at reasonable prices.
Cleaning Your Gutters with an Extension Ladder Safely
Extension ladders are ideal for domestic use and DIY jobs like cleaning gutters, washing windows and trimming trees.
However, as with any task that requires working at height, it’s important that you perform a proper risk assessment and understand how to safely use an extension ladder before attempting to clean your gutters yourself.
How to Check Your Extension Ladder Is Safe Before Use
The first thing you should do when risk-assessing a ladder is check its overall condition. Is it in a good state of repair? Are there any signs of damage to the feet, rungs or body? Look out for damaged or twisted side rails, warped rungs or cracks in the feet. If you notice any of these signs, your ladder is not safe to use.
For extension ladders, it’s very important that you also inspect the rung locks. If these aren’t working properly, the extended part of the ladder could slide down while you’re using it, which could cause serious injury.
Here are a few other extension ladder safety checks to include:
- Max load capacity – Check the maximum load your extension ladder can support. Ensure it can take your weight as well as the weight of anything you’ll be carrying while ascending or descending.
- Potential hazards – These can include uneven flooring, work that requires overreaching or standing on the top three treads of the ladder, and tools or objects that are too heavy for you to carry up and down the ladder.
- Securing an extension ladder – When setting up your extension ladder against the wall, follow the 1 in 4 rule: 1 unit out for every 4 units up. Next, you’ll need to secure it. This can be done by tying it and/or using a ladder mat to stop it from slipping. Make sure the extending section is also locked before using the ladder. Use the rung locks to secure it at the correct height.
How to Clean Your Gutters
When your ladder is correctly positioned and secured in place, you’re ready to get stuck in. If you’ve never cleaned your gutters before and you’re not sure where to start, here’s some handy guidance:
- You can just use your hands to pull leaves and debris out of your gutters, but it’s preferable to at least wear gardening gloves and/or use a garden trowel to scoop and scrape.
- After cleaning all that you can from the spot you’re in, you’ll need to descend and reposition the ladder before attempting to reach the next section. It’s very important to never overreach when working from a ladder.
- Once you’ve removed as much of the larger debris as you can, if you have one, use a hose to flush the remaining dirt away.
Top Tips for Cleaning Gutters
- It’s much easier to clean gutters on a dry day
- Clean gutters at least once a year (more often if positioned under trees)
- Never overreach – if something is out of reach, always safely reposition your ladder
- Use gardening gloves to make the job easier and less messy
Cleaning your own gutters may seem like a long, boring task but your home and garden will thank you for it. You may be tempted to save yourself some time and try cleaning your gutters from the roof, but that is very dangerous and should not be attempted.
If you don’t already own an extension ladder for this task, you can purchase one at Ladders UK Direct today.