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With the arrival of autumn come dead leaves, many of which will end up in your gutters. Left unattended, leaves and other debris, such as twigs and moss, can cause blockages and lead to water leaking into your roof causing serious damage. Cleaning your guttering at least twice a year could save you a costly repair later.

Gutters with Leaves

Falling Leaves can Block Gutters and Downpipes – Image from Go Direct Access

Working at height safely means using the right equipment…

Doing that, of course, means getting access to the guttering. If it’s a business premises, then you really should have specialised height equipment for general service and maintenance, but even if it’s your home, having the right platform won’t just make those jobs around the house go more quickly, it will also make them a lot safer.

When performing tasks at height, such as cleaning a gutter, a ladder often won’t do. What you need is a proper safety platform for work space and your equipment, such as those offered by Go Direct Access on their website.

Choosing when you carry out the work can make a big difference too. Wait until a few dry days have passed, as the debris won’t be so mucky. Make sure it’s not too windy either. Although many safety platforms are designed to operate in high winds, it’s certainly not advisable.

…and the right tools for the job

While having the right equipment for access should be your priority, there are other safety concerns to take in consideration too. Make sure you wear a pair of sturdy work gloves. An additional pair of latex gloves under these will protect you from wetness and odour. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris.

For the job, you’ll need two buckets; one for the debris, and another for your tools. You’ll also need a trowel, a garden hose, a drill, screwdriver, any replacement guttering or parts needed, and sealant. With all this equipment, you can see how the important it is to have the right safety platform, both for your tools, as well as space to work.

Getting to work

Start near the downspout and remove large pieces of debris from your gutters first, such as twigs and leaves. Use your trowel for the packed materials. Pay particular attention to any strainers there to prevent your downspout getting clogged.

Once that’s done, use your garden hose to clean the dirt you can’t remove manually. If the water doesn’t drain from the downspout, then there may be a blockage. To clear it, feed your hose into the bottom of the spout and turn it on at full pressure. Try flushing the gutter again to see if this has removed the blockage. If not, you may have to use specialised gutter cleaning equipment or call in a professional.

Any standing water in the gutters is a sign that it is not sloped correctly. Generally, gutters should decline a quarter inch for every ten feet. If that isn’t the case you may have to loosen the gutter to realign it correctly. Brackets should be fitted every two feet. Once that’s done, make sure the joints are tight and use the sealant to fix any leaks.

For more gutter related DIY jobs go to the Projects section on our main site.

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