We have compiled some easy tips to help you keep on top of gutter maintenance, to help keep gutters working and reduce the risk of unexpected repairs bills. This will help maximise the service life of gutter components. We also take a look at gutter guards and their effectiveness.
This can take place at any time of the year not just in the Autumn when the leaves fall. In Spring seedlings grow, in Summer plants thrive, in Autumn leaves fall and in Winter when freezing temperatures arrive standing water/debris will freeze adding additional weight and stress to gutter components. Also moss from roofs can fall into the gutters any time of the year. So any season during the year can be a good time to check. Once the gutters have been cleared, our advice is to make it a yearly check.
There are two options available for you.
1. You can do it yourself if you are fit and able. Most importantly it needs to be done safely and requires a head for heights.
2.You can get a gutter cleaning company in to do the clearing work for you.
There are also two methods to clean out gutters.
1. The traditional way is with a ladder, bucket and trowel. It will be slow, could be dangerous and you may not be able to access all the gutters. e.g. conservatory blocking access to upper gutters.
2. High level vacuum systems are specifically designed for gutter cleaning. It is operated safely from the ground, so is safer, quicker and in most cases can access all the gutters.
There are many different types of gutter guard systems available. From our experience customers who have guards fitted often ask us to permanently remove the gutter guards. You can see from our pictures what happens to gutter guards over time. When we arrive, more often than not debris has built up on top of the guard which causes rain water to run over the gutter. The debris breaks down and falls under the guard causing gutters to block. In some cases the guards even help support plants as they grow. This all adds weight and stress to gutter componets, which can shorten component service life or cause the gutters to detach from the property.
Brush Style system
Is normaly fitted by laying in the gutter channel. Sometimes secured with permanant ties or over clips to stop the brush from coming out during stormy weather. This makes it difficult to remove the guard and clean debris accumulation inside the gutter under the brush. Leaves and debris get caught in the bristles, moss can also stick to the bristles and accumulate. The only way to clean is to remove the brush guard from the gutter and give it a good shake. It will be very messy too.
Mesh Style system
Is normally fitted inside the gutter and self curls to create a tube effect. Usually secured with permanant ties or over clips to stop the guard from coming out of the gutter. This makes it difficult to remove the guard and clean the debris inside the gutter. The ties are normally permanant and need to be cut in order to clean the guard. New ties will need to be installed to resecure the guard into the gutter.
Grid Style system
Is normaly fitted over the top of the gutter. It is secured by clipping the support brackets on the front edge of the gutter run. The rear of the guard normally rests on the gutter edge and is prone to slipping into the gutter. Once the guard falls into the gutter there is an increased risk of debris accumulation and blocked gutters. Removing the grid guard requires you to unclip the gutter bracket support and delink each guard section.
That depends on the system and how they are fitted and secured. If you need to clear the gutters under the guard, then you will need to remove them first. On a lower ground floor this is relatively straight forward. However, if it's 2nd/3rd floor gutters then the job can be quite hazardous. If you have an extension or conservatory then its almost impossible without the correct safe access equipment.
If you are looking to stop debris entering the drian via the downpipe. Then we would recommend fitting a downpipe guard. These are inserted at the top opening of the downpipe and cost only a few pounds. The are made of steel wire or plastic and can be eaily removed for cleaning.
The video on this page, was made during an inspection with a customer and demonstrates why gutter guards make gutter cleaning a challenge. In some cases gutter guards do not illiminate debris entering the gutter. At some point the gutters will need cleaning out.