How to Clean & Repair Guttering
Cleaning your guttering may not be a job that is on the top of your mind during the summer months when there is talk of heatwaves and hosepipe bans. Yet the nice weather doesn’t last forever in the UK; a long few months of rain and storms are always around the corner.
During the autumn months, our gardens and rain gutters can easily get clogged up and filled with fallen leaves and other debris. Then, when the rain comes, this debris can block pipes, gutters, and downspouts. But it isn’t just leaves that can cause issues.
From algae and moss to birds nesting, blocked guttering can happen at any time. When cleaning it all out, you may even spot that you need to repair some sections. Guttering can weaken or crack over time, from the pressure of water, sunlight, heat, or simply as they’re old.
Left unattended, damaged guttering could cause damage to your home. Some signs your guttering needs attention include:
- Overflowing water
- Dripping or leaking through the pipe
- Guttering sagging
- Damp and mould forming inside your home
- Water running down outside walls
If you’ve decided that your guttering needs some attention, it’s a great idea to do everything all at once. Clean it, check for repairs, and ensure it is all secured to the house in plenty of time for winter. You may even want to paint it to freshen it up and carry out other home improvements at height.
How to fix a blocked or broken gutter
As well as wearing PPE, such as gloves, a dust mask and eye protection for this job, you also need a safe platform to stand on. Most people’s guttering will be at the top of the second floor, under the roof. Because of this, a standard ladder may not be stable or secure enough, especially if working alone.
It's important to be safe while performing any work at height. Hiring a one-man access tower will be a good idea. These are scaffold towers which improve safety as your feet will be on a flat, stable base as opposed to a ladder rung.
- Always ensure somebody is on the ground when you’re using an access tower, so they can assist in an emergency. Never work at height alone.
If there is any other work to be carried out at height, such as freshening up paintwork, cleaning windows or tidying cabling, now is also the time to do it.
Always wear shoes with a good grip, such as work safety boots. The weather may be nice, but you need to protect your feet and be stable. Flip flops are certainly to be avoided.
You will also need to wear other PPE when working with power tools, whether this be cleaning with a pressure washer or using a drill to fix guttering brackets.
You will need:
- Access tower (Mi-Tower)
- Plastic gutter scoop/trowel
- Handheld brush
- Pressure washer
- Thick gloves
Step 1: Identify the issues
Why is your guttering overflowing with water or not dealing with all the rainwater? Once your access tower is built, you need to see what the issue is. If the guttering just needs cleaning, you’re good to go with your equipment. But if it needs some repairs, you will have to purchase the necessary parts and hire the power tools.
Try to inspect the guttering up close – you may spot something that wasn’t visible from ground level. You may also see other issues when it is all cleaned out, such as fine cracks which may get worse in bad weather or the cold.
Step 2: Remove the debris
To cause as little mess as possible, remove the debris before carrying out any further cleaning work. This is where the bucket will come in handy; collect it all, so you can dispose of it correctly. Wear your gloves, but also use your scoop to get rid of the bulk of it.
Use a plastic scoop to avoid causing damage to your guttering. If your pipe is PVC, metal tools could scratch it. Start at one end and work your way along, as far as is safe to reach before moving the access tower. Don’t overstretch.
Step 3: Use your pressure washer
Using a pressure washer here will be more efficient than using an ordinary garden hose. The blast of the water will remove every trace of leftover dirt, which the power of a hosepipe may not be able to budge.
Be careful not to use too much force which could cause damage. This is also another reason why an access tower is a safer idea; you will have a more stable surface to stand on when trying to angle the pressure washer.
- SPEEDY TOP TIP: Does your pressure washer have an extension pole? If so, it could mean you can carry out the cleaning without needing to move the access tower too much
Step 4: Brush the troughing
While pressure washing the guttering will get rid of most of the leftover debris, a brush should get those final small bits of leaves and dirt away. You can do this when it has all dried, so you get any final bits of dust and leaves.
Step 5: Check for any further work
The debris may have been blocking a hole in your guttering that will leak when it rains. The bracket holding the gutter or pipes up might be getting a little loose. Maybe the paintwork is flaking so you need to sand it back and repaint it, or you could wish to install a gutter guard to prevent further issues with debris.
With an access tower, you can carry out any further repairs or even replace sections of guttering. Being safely at height also means you can check for broken or missing roof tiles, touch up the paintwork around windows, or refasten aerial wires to the brick. You may also wish to repoint brickwork.
Can I clean gutters from the ground?
It is possible to clean guttering at ground level, thanks to extendable poles and brushes which can attach to hosepipes and pressure washers. However, it is only from an equal height that you will be able to fully inspect your guttering systems and check if you need to carry out any gutter repair.
Small issues which aren’t visible from the ground could get worse over time; you’re best catching them before the problem worsens. Having gutter cleaning tools to hand all year round will mean you can clear out any sudden debris, but you should inspect it all at a height at least once per year.
Can I hire an access tower?
Yes. A one-man access tower is available to hire from Speedy Services, the UK’s number one tool hire company. Hiring an access tower is safer than a ladder and could allow you to undertake more DIY work at height.
You can hire an access tower for as long as you need if you are carrying out multiple jobs. A Mi tower makes scaffolding accessible to solo workers, and the entire unit is on wheels so you can move it exactly to where it needs to be.
Speedy has more than 200 service centres across the nation, hire counters in selected B&Qs and nationwide 4-hour delivery. Hiring power tools has never been easier.
Why not start planning your next DIY project and open a Speedy account today online and instore.
Ready for more Home Improvement DIY tips and ideas?
Thank you for reading the Speedy Services blog, we hope you found this guide to cleaning out your guttering useful. Check out our Gardening Projects page for further inspiration.
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