Unless you enjoy climbing up and down wobbly ladders, getting dirty, rotting debris in your face, and using up one of the last nice weekends of the fall before winter sets in on yard work, you’re probably not a huge fan of gutter cleaning in Collinsville, IL—and who can blame you? There’s nothing enjoyable whatsoever about this messy job, except for maybe the satisfaction you feel after a job well done and the knowledge that you burned a few extra calories without going to the gym.
If you’ve ever seen a professional Collinsville handyman clean gutters, you were probably impressed by the speed, agility, and downright gracefulness they used to tackle that project. From the ground looking up, the project doesn’t seem quite as miserable. You can clean your gutters with just as much finesse as a professional with just a few tweaks to how you approach this job.
Many Collinsville homeowners don’t realize that they’ve been cleaning their gutters the wrong way all these years, and how could they? There’s no manual for homeowners on gutter cleaning, so you do your best. With the help of this article from our experts at Mr. Handyman of Metro East, you can adjust your approach to gutter cleaning in Collinsville, IL, and get the job done faster without compromising your safety. We can’t promise you’ll enjoy it, but the least we can do is help you suffer less.
Why Gutter Cleaning Isn’t Optional
There are several little white lies that Collinsville residents tell themselves to feel better about some of the decisions that they’ve made. They tell their dentist that they regularly floss but forget sometimes (i.e. forget 99% of the time) and apologize to their mother-in-law for the ‘messy’ house that they spent their entire weekend cleaning from top to bottom. They even lie to themselves sometimes by saying, “Gutter cleaning in Collinsville, IL isn’t really that necessary.” Though we wish this were the case, failing to clean your rain gutters even twice annually can result in costly damage to your property. While your curb appeal will certainly be affected, clogged gutters can also cause major water damage.
The longer you leave pine needles, deciduous leaves, and other natural debris in your troughs, the more likely it is that a clog will occur. Clogs prevent rainwater and snowmelt from flowing through your troughs and into your downspouts, instead forcing it to trickle over your trough’s edges. From here, it drips down your fascia boards and pools on the ground next to your home’s foundation. While gutter cleaning in Collinsville, IL is a pain, paying for costly repairs for basement flooding or new fascia boards is more than just a pain.
Now that you know you can’t lie to yourself about the importance of gutter cleaning in Collinsville, IL any longer, check out our list of ten time-increasing mistakes you could be making while doing this unpleasant job, and learn what changes you can make to make gutter cleaning your Collinsville, IL home more bearable.
You’re Not Using The Right Tools And Equipment
Gutter cleaning in Collinsville, IL may seem like a straightforward task that you don’t need to do a lot of preparation for, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, you can get up on a step ladder with nothing but gloves on and get to work, but you’re going to make this job a lot more difficult for you than it needs to be.
Professional gutter cleaners arrive at the homeowner’s property with many different tools and supplies in hand that will help them get this job done faster. Some of the basic tools and equipment that you should have on hand before beginning include:
- A sturdy ladder that can be adjusted to reach the optimal height
- Two buckets hung on the side of your ladder—one for tools and one for debris
- Garbage bag to dump debris into when the bucket is full
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Safety goggles
- Work gloves
- Dust mask
Think a mask is unnecessary? Think again. All that damp leafy debris in your troughs can make an attractive home for disease-carrying pests and any excrement they leave behind. Protect your lungs and your health by playing it safe and wearing a mask.
You’re Using Your Hands As A Scoop
You may have to use your gloved hands to scoop some debris, but don’t make this your only gutter-cleaning tool. Several manufacturers make plastic scoops designed specifically for scooping debris out of troughs. Their specialized shape makes it easy to get to the bottom and remove most debris in one scoop.
If you own a wet/dry shop vac, you can also use this to make debris removal easier than ever. You can purchase a gutter cleaning attachment that allows you to either blow or suck up debris from the ground—no ladder required!
You’re Not Rinsing Out Your Gutters
You’ve just spent a solid three hours scraping sludge from your troughs and moving your ladder every three to five feet. A cold glass of water and a hot lunch is calling your name, but the final scoop of debris doesn't mark the end of this job. Take an extra fifteen minutes or so and rinse out all of that fine debris that is still sitting in your troughs with your garden hose or a telescopic hose wand.
Skipping this step can make it easier for clogs to reform. Even though the remaining debris looks inconsequentially small, it can easily catch on seams within sectional gutters and create a sticking point for the next batch of leaves that find their way into your rainwater drainage system. It may not seem like much, but the extra few minutes are worth it!
You’re Waiting Too Long Between Cleanings
It may seem counterintuitive, but the more frequently you pull out the ladder and scoop out those troughs, the less time the job will take. The more time you leave between cleanings, the more tedious the process becomes and the more elbow grease you’ll need to put behind this job.
With regular gutter cleaning, all those leaves and pine needles won’t have a chance to rot and turn to sludge, making the removal process not just less disgusting, but less time-consuming as well. Blowing leaves out with a shop vac only works when the debris is fairly dry. If allowed to rot, you’ll have no choice but to get back on your ladder and manually scoop your gutters clean.
You’re Not Cleaning Your Roof
Though some leaves and twigs will blow directly into your gutters, most debris that ends up in your troughs comes from the roof during rainfall and snowmelt. Depending on the slope of your roof, the direction it faces, and your shingle material, you may find that it tends to be covered in leaves more often than not. In addition to shortening the lifespan of your roof by creating damp conditions, all that debris will likely end up in your troughs.
If your roof looks like this and you’re not taking the time to do roof cleaning before gutter cleaning, you not only probably want to get some type of gutter guard installed, but you’re going to end up with clogged gutters again in no time.
You’re Not Using Gutter Guards
Gutter guards get a lot of criticism, but this is generally due to the unreasonable expectations that homeowners place on them. Guards, also known as covers, won’t prevent debris from getting into your troughs entirely, nor will they prevent having to clean your gutters. What they can do is extend the time between cleanings and make cleaning easier.
Gutter guard installation can be a DIY job or done by a professional handyman. There are several different styles, all of which have different pros and cons. These include:
- Brush guards. Similar to a bottle cleaning brush, these sit within your gutters and catch large debris, while smaller amounts of waste can enter your troughs. Some leaves will blow right off while others may stick, but you’ll generally have less debris to clean out than you would without anything.
- Foam guards. Like brush guards, open-cell foam sits within your gutters, allowing water to seep through while preventing leaves from entering your troughs. You’ll need to regularly brush these off and rake your yard, but there’s generally no need for scooping.
- Screen and micro-mesh guards. Instead of sitting in your troughs, these grid-like guards sit on top of troughs and prevent large debris from getting through. Screen guards tend to resemble soffits by featuring several small holes, while micro-mesh guards have a much finer weave. Like other guards, these must be brushed off regularly.
- Reverse-curve guards. This non-perforated cover uses principles of surface tension to encourage leaves to slide off its surface while allowing water to curve around its lip and drip into the troughs.
Regardless of the guard you choose, debris is unlikely to become as compact as it would without guards, making cleaning easier.
You’re Neglecting Your Landscaping
On windy days, leaves can travel far and wide before ending up in your gutters. There’s not much you can do about the height and quantity of trees and bushes in your neighbors’ yards or on city property, but you can control the landscaping within your own yard.
If you have large trees with branches that extend over your roof, those dropping autumn leaves will end up in your gutters even on a calm, still days. Investing in a tree trimming service provided by an arborist can significantly reduce the amount of debris that accumulates, as well as how often you have to clean your gutters.
Your Gutters Are Due For Replacement
Even if you’ve cleaned your gutters consistently for the past decade, a time will come when you find yourself in need of gutter repairs. Exposure to the elements and the weight of clogs can cause troughs to sag and pull away from the roof edge, making it difficult for water to flow toward the downspout and allowing more debris to collect. Vinyl and aluminum—the most popular materials for gutters—can also crack and rust, resulting in points of weakness where water can escape and damage your home.
If your gutters have seen better days, consider replacing them. Seamless systems are generally the way to go, as debris is more easily able to flow through these without getting stuck, and cracks and holes are less likely to occur.
You’re Working Alone
If you can convince your better half, neighbor, or friend to help you out with gutter cleaning, you can make the process go by much more quickly. One can stand on the ground to pass up tools and empty buckets while the other stands on a ladder and does the scooping or vacuuming.
You’ll not only have someone to spot you while you’re up on the ladder, but you’ll have someone to chat with and help the time pass more quickly, too.
You’re Doing The Job Yourself When You Could Be Hiring The Pros Instead
At the end of the day, the number one way to make gutter cleaning more bearable is to hire a professional service to do the job for you. Gutter cleaning services are generally one of the more affordable handyman services, making it a worthwhile investment for many Collinsville, IL homeowners.
One of the main questions about pressure washing asked by homeowners is whether pressure washing equipment can cross-function as a gutter cleaning service. Some handyman professionals will attach a pressure washing wand to the end of a pressure washing machine to safely and effectively break down and rinse all the sludge out of your troughs. This is a job best left to the experts, as without training, you could damage your roof and your gutters, leading to costly repairs.
Gutter Cleaning Is Easy, Affordable, and Effective With The Help Of Mr. Handyman Of Metro East
If you need professional gutter cleaning in Collinsville, IL, you can’t go wrong with hiring our qualified technicians at Mr. Handyman of Metro East. Our quality service comes with a workmanship guarantee and is available at an affordable price. We prioritize customer care and make sure our clients are satisfied with our services—and we have numerous positive local reviews to back that statement up!
Whether you live in Collinsville or one of the surrounding communities such as Fairview Heights, Belleville, and O’Fallon, we encourage you to call us to find out how our gutter cleaning services can save you time and money. Let us transform your clogged gutters into functional, clean gutters today!