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Gutter maintenance top tips

They say 'out of sight, out of mind,' but this isn't the case when it comes to our gutters. Leaving them clogged with leaves and other debris can lead to lots of issues, including leaky or rotten roofs, and water damage to the outside and inside of your home.

Whether your gutters are plastic, cast iron or pressed steel, they should be cleared twice a year. Ideally, one of those times will be in late autumn/early winter – or any time you spot one of these signs:

  • Water flowing over the sides of gutters
  • Sagging gutters
  • Staining on walls outside your home
  • Birds nesting in them

If you're taking on the task, here's some step-by-step advice:

Safety first

First things first: only clear the gutters yourself if you have a decent, sturdy ladder and feel confident using it. If not, it's a better idea to pay for a professional to come and do it for you – you can guarantee they'll make quick work of it.

Scoop out the debris

With an empty bucket to hand and a garden trowel, work your way along the gutter clearing out all of the debris. If there are any trees nearby, you might find this takes a few trips up and down the ladder!

Wash the gutters

The debris may have left some stubborn marks and stains on your gutters, so you might need a stiff brush to get rid of the grime. Before brushing, wash with a hose, working from the end of the gutter and towards the outlet.

Check the hopper heads

As Ideal Home explains, when you're up there, you need to check the hopper heads (the holders at the top of downpipes). If the downpipe is blocked, cover the drain, put the garden hose up the pipe and turn on the water. This should clear it, but if not, you'll need a drain rod to force the blockage down from the top.

Fit guards and mesh

To prevent leaves from clogging up your gutters in future, considering fitting wire mesh over the top; this will force debris onto the ground. The drain outlets can be fitted with leaf guards to prevent blockages, too.

Fix and replace

Are any of your downpipes loose? If so, it'll be because clips or bolts are missing and need replacing, or the wall plugs have become loose. At the same time, check to see if any stop ends are missing and replace these as well.

Stop leaky joints

If water's leaking around any of the joints, it's simple to fix. Clean the joint using a brush, before wrapping repair tape that's a few centimetres longer than the width of the pipe around it. Press it down firmly so it moulds around the joint. Alternatively, dig out old material from the joint using a screwdriver and apply a fresh batch of gutter sealant around it, smoothing it down to achieve a neat finish.

Follow this advice and you'll have tidy gutters in great condition for the winter months and beyond. You can also protect your home with quality cover from Hastings Direct – get a quote today.

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