It is possible that you have noticed a blockage, or wish to clean your own low-set gutters, but do not feel that you could attempt the work safely from a ladder.
At Property Rescue Services, we want you to remain as informed as possible on every aspect of your gutters and their maintenance. As such, we have created this guide to provide you with everything you need to know about cleaning the inside and outside of your gutters, so they’ll stay in good working order for longer.
We are also able to send our own specialist team of gutter cleaners to complete the work for you if you are unable to finish it yourself. Please contact us today if this is something you’d be interested in and we will book an appointment for your property right away.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that while the below guide does provide helpful tips on how to clean gutters from the ground, we would always advise you contact a trusted property maintenance company for professional cleaning.
Step one: finding out the type of gutter you have
There are a variety of gutter types in use on properties in the UK. Most typically, these will be made from steel or unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, which is more commonly called uPVC. The latter’s long life expectancy and easily-cleaned design has helped to fuel its popularity in building structures over the years. You may also come across aluminium gutters. Other materials which may be used to create rain gutters include:
- Galvalume (these are steel gutters reinforced with a layer of aluminium and zinc)
- Wood (this is less common in modern properties)
The most typical style you will find for a property’s gutters is K Style Guttering. This style is characterised by its ridged, decorative crown moulding, and is noted for its excellent drainage properties. It is also suitably shaped to ensure there is little chance of overflow from the roof in bad weather, while remaining relatively clear of debris under normal circumstances.
Conversely, your property may have Half Round Gutters, which hang from the roof and are easily spotted by their rounded, half-open design. This style is noted to need cleaning more often than other types of gutters, owing to the fact that they overflow easily and drain poorly. This is more commonplace if the gutters were installed incorrectly, or if the roof they are hanging from is not level.
In some cases, there may be fascia gutters installed on your property. This type has been given this name because they are attached to a fascia board. They are mostly found on customised gutters and placed near to the ends of rafters, in order to hide the ends from sight. You may have also chosen to install European style gutters, which are shaped in the same fashion as Half Round Gutters, but have a noticeable difference in the outward-facing bead. Generally, this style is also made from weatherproof materials such as copper.
Step two: identifying the cleaning tools to use
Once you have found out what type of gutter you have, the next step is identifying what tools to use. There are a number of home options for cleaning gutters in the UK, all of which can be adapted for use from the ground. They include:
- Gutter vacuum cleaners
Specialist gutter vacuum cleaners are available to purchase, and are ideal for removing dry, lightweight blockages. Certain types also come with a range of vacuum attachments to make the process easier.
- Leaf blowers
A leaf blower will offer the same end results as a vacuum cleaner, only it will blow the blockage through and out of your guttering system, rather than suck it out into a separate container.
- A garden hose or pressure washer
If your garden hose is powerful enough, or if you own a pressure washer, you may be able to flush clogs and blockages out of your gutters. Some varieties of hose may allow you to fit applicators, such as a “Roof Gutter Flusher and Cleaner”, which includes a sharp edge and mirrors so you are able to see what you are doing. It must be noted that if your gutter has a large clog of debris, it is unlikely that this method will be of much use.
- Gutter cleaning tongs
These are operated via a rope, which is attached to a metal pole. They are a particularly beneficial tool if you wish to remove large pieces of debris, such as leaves or twigs, and can be extended to reach the second storey of your property. However, they are not a very effective method of removing smaller objects, such as pine needles or other debris.
- Attaching a paddle to a telescoping pole
It is possible to purchase a series of specialist paddles that you can then attach to a standard telescopic pole. This combination can then be used to scrape any dirt or debris out of your gutters, with the length of reach depending on the pole being used.
Step three: how to clean gutters without a ladder
This step-by-step guide will provide you with advice on how to clean gutters from the ground, and can be used interchangeably for a variety of cleaning tools and equipment. Of course, these techniques will probably only work for low-hanging gutters as they need to be in easy reach of your tools:
Stand just underneath your guttering system and raise your choice of gutter cleaner vertically above you.
- Beginning the process
Vacuum, scrape up or wash away the debris by slowly moving your chosen tool back and forth through the gutter. Do not rush this step, as this may result in you missing part of a blockage. Repeat this in different sections of gutter if you think any might have been overlooked.
- Using force
Occasionally, it will be necessary to use a greater amount of force on certain spots in your gutters. Do not overdo this, however, as you do not wish to damage the system.
- Being thorough in your task
This work should take you several hours to complete, if it is done carefully and methodically. If you do not miss out spots, you should find that you will not have to carry it out again for several months.
- Flushing your system through
You may wish to complete the task by flushing your gutters through with water from a hose.
Additional Information on Cleaning Gutters from the Ground
How to Clean Your Downspouts
We would highly recommend leaving your downspouts until after you have cleaned the rest of your system. When the main part of the work is done, reach into each of the downspouts and pull out any leaves or debris that you can reach. You may be able to use a plumbing snake for this part of the process, and the work can be finished by rinsing the system out with water from your garden hose.
How to Clean the Outside of Your Gutters
If you wish to clean the outside of your gutters as well as remove any blockages found within, it is important to ensure you are choosing the correct solution. You may find a variety of chemical cleaners available in shops selling home improvement wares, but these may corrode your system if the gutters are made from a material such as aluminium.
This can be avoided by mixing together a solution of white vinegar and water. Another solution may be to make a paste from a small amount of water and cream of tartar, which acts as a cleaner and a buffing agent.
Contacting a Professional Gutter Cleaning Service
It is completely understandable if you would prefer to get in touch with a specialist service, rather than try to clean rain gutters yourself. This especially true when your gutters are located high off the ground.
Many property owners underestimate the risks and hazards involved with cleaning out gutters, and especially if you are attempting the work without a ladder, there is a chance that you may miss blockages or cause damage to your system without realising. Should this happen, you will have to allow more time from your schedule in order for the problem to be fixed. In turn, this will also mean taking a greater amount from your budget.
By contacting a team of fully trained and qualified gutter cleaners, you will be ensuring that the work is carried out quickly, safely, and at a price which you have agreed on beforehand.