Must-Have Gutter Cleaning Tools if You Love to DIY
The typical gutter is probably holding leaves, twigs, branches, animal refuse, insects, bird nests, and roofing materials that have built up over long periods of time. While they may not pose any direct danger now, all of this debris will eventually become harmful as they clog your gutters and downspouts. This then leads to overflows, ice dams (depending on your location), pest problems, damage, and so much more.
That being said, a good homeowner keeps every part of their home clean and regularly maintained – that of course includes the gutter. And the key to efficient DIY gutter cleaning is having the proper tools. Let’s face it, if you don’t have the right tools, your job will be needlessly difficult, and your safety could even be compromised.
Let’s look at the necessary tools to have in your arsenal that will make cleaning your gutters quick and easy.
What to Know Before You Start
When cleaning your gutters, there are a few things that you must keep in mind before diving in (and we don’t mean that literally).
First, know the right time to clean. Doing it too early or too late in the season will result in even more debris getting into your gutters after getting them unclogged. With that being said, always clean your gutters once at the end of spring and again at the end of fall.
Spring cleaning removes the built-up pollen from trees, which is important as pollen-coated plant matter will build into an acidic film that can erode gutter materials and sealants. Meanwhile, fall cleaning removes all the leaves, tree limbs, branches, pest droppings, and just general blockages that have accumulated over the season. Needless to say, both are essential in keeping your gutters clean and fully functioning all year round.
Invest in the Right Tools
There are two major categories when it comes to gutter cleaning tools and both are designed to make the job efficient and to protect you from harm.
Tools for Cleaning
This special type of brush, designed specifically for gutter cleaning, is used to scrub the dirt and residue from the bottom of the gutter. After using this brush, you can then proceed to rinse everything out.
Gutter guards, also known as gutter screens or helmets, are nifty attachments that make cleaning your gutters quicker and more trouble-free. They are accessories, typically a mesh made of plastic or metal, that you attach to the top of your gutter system to block any debris from falling inside, with openings that allow water to still flow in and out.
With gutter guards in place, all you need to do is to brush out the remaining debris from the top of the guards into a bin. Naturally, this process is much easier than having to scoop out gunk from the inside of the gutter.
Gutter hoes, sometimes called telescope claws, bring together the reach and simplicity of telescopic poles with the declogging ability of a gutter scoop. These tools are large claws, scoops, or brushes that come attached to the end of a telescoping wand. Some act as single tools, while others may possess additional multi-tool attachments.
One of the great advantages of the gutter hoe is that allows you to stay in place whilst scooping out debris, eliminating the need to move your ladder around too much or having to move around on your roof. If you prefer to stay on the ground while you work, you might find the brush variant of the tool much more useful, as these can bend and mould around the inside of the gutter regardless of position.
A gutter scoop may be a small hand shovel you can obtain from any local home improvement store or it can be a homemade scoop adroitly fashioned from old containers. The purpose of this tool is to remove gutter debris from the base of the gutter trough in a manner that is both quick and easy.
When used properly, you may find that it is the most important tool to have in your collection. Gutter scoops, often made to resemble plastic hand trowels, may come in different shapes modelled to fit the shape of a particular gutter system. We strongly recommend the ones that are made out of hard plastic, as they are durable and flexible enough to fit into every nook and cranny of your gutter.
A good gutter vacuum will easily suck up all the debris and materials clogging your gutters and place them into an easily disposable receptacle all at once. The only disadvantage you may face is some debris, like tree limbs and bird nests may simply be too large to vacuum.
Gutter vacuums usually come with extensions to allow you to clean your gutter while working on the ground.
The most economical tool to flush out your gutters is a telescope hose wand. Simply use it to rinse the dirt out after removing the debris and scouring the gutters. You usually wouldn’t need a ladder for this, as telescope wands are actually extension poles with an insert for your good ol’ fashioned gardening hose.
Depending on the amount of grime in your gutter, as well as the power of your hose, you can even clean out your system completely without ever needing to climb up a ladder. However, you will most probably still need something else to handle larger amounts of debris.
Leaf blowers are not only wonderfully fast at cleaning out debris, but they also make the task much easier and less messy. Wait for your gutters to dry to operate the leaf blower – turn it side to side so all the gunk stays away from your roof, walls, and windows. If you’re lucky, using a leaf blower might be able to clean your downpipe in just one single go.
Tools for Protection
Face and Eye Shields
Some debris can pose threats to your health, like animal droppings for example, as these can contain dangerous pathogens. Protect yourself from these contaminants by donning proper face and eye protection when cleaning your gutters.
A set of high-quality safety goggles will do the job, but if you want to take a step further with a full-on face shield, that would be suitable as well. For face masks, it might depend on how clogged your gutters are. If this is a regular cleaning, a standard dust mask will do just fine. However, if this is a more severe case and you face the possibility of encountering rodents, birds, or even mould, consider wearing an N95 mask.
Remember: thinner dust masks protect against larger nuisance particles, while only masks officially labelled as N95-approved can protect against smaller, dangerous particles.
Often when cleaning out gutters, you will need to stick your hand into it for stubborn clogs. You need a pair of protective gloves to protect your hands from bacteria in rotting gutter debris, as well as from any sharp pieces of metal.
Gloves are a staple in safety tools that every homeowner should invest in for home maintenance. For gutter cleaning, we suggest purchasing a heavy-duty pair of PVC work gloves. The flexible PVC material will fully protect your hands and won’t be damaged when it comes into contact with any wet, acidic materials.
A sturdy ladder tall enough to extend beyond the edge of your roofline will prevent you from having to reach out and potentially lose your balance when cleaning the gutters. For this task, we propose going with a medium-sized, handheld model. A telescopic ladder will most probably be too large and simply too unwieldy to use.
When choosing a ladder, consider the size of your gutters, plus the amount of debris you expect to encounter.
Clean Your Gutters with the Experts
Cleaning your gutters doesn’t have to be daunting or tedious. With the right set of tools, cleanup will be a breeze and should be over in no time. At the very least, you’ll need a strong ladder, a hose, a thick set of gloves, and protective gear for your face. Other more advanced tools may include scoops, leaf blowers, and gutter brushes.
But if you want to skip investing in all these tools and equipment and spending your time cleaning your gutters, why not get a professional in to do the job?
If you choose to work with us, you’re getting a team with more 20 years of experience under their belt. We’re knowledgeable of the Sydney region and what you need from your gutters, so call us today to organise a free, no obligation quote.