Portland Gutter Cleaning 101: Top Tips For DIY Cleaning And Clog Prevention
To thrive in Portland, you have to accept that you’re going to get a fair amount of rainfall. Though there are certainly many sunny Portland days, residents are certainly not strangers to cloud and precipitation. One of the major benefits of having a steady fall of light rain is that it encourages Portland trees, shrubs, and flowers to flourish, making this city a paradise for plant lovers. However, consistent rainfall also means that residents have to conduct regular gutter cleaning on their own, or hire Portland gutter specialists.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Portland gutter cleaning, including:
- Why Portland gutter cleaning is important
- Signs of clogged troughs and downspouts
- Step by step instructions for how to clean gutters
- Benefits and drawbacks of DIY vs professional cleaning
- And strategies to prevent needing to clean so often, if not altogether!
Portland Gutter Cleaning: Why Is It Important?
In Portland, it’s essential that you clean your rain gutters each fall—at a minimum. Even if you live on a property without any trees in sight, you must check your troughs for debris once per year. Keeping your gutters clean is key to protecting your home from water damage. Whether you have big, leafy trees or pine trees near your property, dry leaves and pine needles can clog your troughs and prevent proper water flow.
When blockages are big enough, water is unable to reach the downspout, causing a stream of water to flow over the edge of your trough. This can result in several problems, including damaged fascia boards and basement flooding. Both of these types of damage are incredibly costly. Though gutter cleaning takes some time, it will cost you far less than fascia, siding, and basement damage repair would.
Common Signs of Clogged Gutters
Depending on your landscape, property and existing gutter system, your troughs may need to be cleaned more frequently than once per year. At this conjecture, you may be wondering: how do I know if my gutters are blocked and require cleaning? The answer is really quite simple. All you need to do is test water flow.
To test for blockages, simply turn on your garden hose and place it inside your trough. Take a walk around the perimeter of your home and look for any areas where water is overflowing over the side of your troughs. Keep an eye out for any slow draining from your downspouts as well, as these can also become clogged.
Even if there don’t appear to be any blockages, it’s worthwhile getting up on a sturdy ladder to visually check for debris. This will give you a good indication of how quickly your troughs fill up and how often you may need to give them a good clean. Even if you don’t have a clog large enough to completely block water flow, the weight of debris can still pull on your troughs, causing them to sag and pull away from your fascia boards over time. Additionally, you may have pest activity that is better dealt with sooner rather than later.
How To Clean Gutters, Step By Step
No one enjoys gutter cleaning, but some dislike it more than others. If this describes you, the following easy steps for gutter cleaning will help make the job as painless as possible.
Required Tools and Equipment
To clean your roof gutters quickly and effectively, there are several tools and equipment that you may need. Different types of equipment may be more appropriate than others depending on your property, so choose the tools that are right for you. Safety equipment is not optional, as it’s important to keep your safety in mind at all times when dealing with heights and potentially harmful debris, such as mouse droppings. Some of the tools you may wish to use include:
- Garden hose
- Pressure washer
- Gutter attachments for shop vacs or leaf blowers
- Gutter scoop or narrow garden trowel
- Extension ladder
- Ladder stabilizer
- Extension ladder
- Drop cloth
- Two buckets
- Rubber gloves
- Safety glasses
- Dust mask
Step 1: Prepare And Organize Your Workspace
The key to getting the job done as quickly and safely as possible lies in adequate preparation. Set up your ladder next to the downspout and work away from the downspout as you clean. Lay out your drop cloth to catch debris that is accidentally dropped.
If you’re using a ladder, make sure you use a ladder stabilizer or extension ladder if you’re working on a two-story house or unstable ground. If you’re not comfortable on ladders, you can also use a shop vac or a leaf blower with special attachments specifically for gutter cleaning.
Once you’ve put on your gloves, safety glasses, and dust mask, climb up onto the ladder and get ready to start scooping.
Step 2: Remove Debris
Hook your two buckets onto your ladder. Once will be for debris, and the other will hold your tools. Using your hands, scoop out all of the large debris. If you encounter an area with compact debris, use a garden trowel or gutter scoop.
Bonus Tip: Waiting for a dry, sunny day in Portland isn’t always possible, but the longer you can wait to clean your troughs after the last rainfall, the easier it will be to scoop up debris.
Step 3: Flush Out Troughs
Once you’ve cleared most of the debris, grab your garden hose and spray down the inside of the troughs using the highest pressure setting. Be careful not to hit the underside of your shingles, as this could damage them.
To make the process faster, you can also use a pressure washer with a gutter cleaning extension. Power washing can cause injuries to people or damage your property if you’re not careful, so stick with using the garden hose if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If think you may have a clog in your downspout, put your hose on the highest setting and spray a jet of water from the top to bottom. If this doesn’t work, feed the hose from the bottom and spray again.
Still not working? Grab a drain snake from your bathroom to dislodge the clog.
Step 4: Clean Outside Of Troughs
To clean the outside of your troughs, use a pressure washer or garden hose. Again, be very careful not to spray the edge of your shingles—especially if you’re using a pressure washer.
If your garden hose isn’t strong enough and you don’t own, or want to rent a pressure washer, you can also clean the sides by hand using a cloth. As this is a tedious process, you may be better off hiring a power washing service.
Step 5: Touch Ups And Clean Up
All that debris you’ve collected from your troughs can be thrown away, or better yet, added to your compost pile. If you don’t already have a compost bin going, now is the perfect time to start.
Now that your troughs are clean, now is also a great time to touch up any repairs that your gutters need. Any seams, cracks, or holes can be sealed using gutter caulking. Aluminum gutters can also be touched up with a fresh coat of paint.
Common Gutter Cleaning FAQs
- How do I clean out gutters I can’t reach? If you can’t reach your troughs on a ladder or use a shop vac attachment, it’s probably in your best interest to hire a professional gutter cleaning expert.
- Can I pressure wash the outside of my gutters? In most cases, yes! However, there are many different types of trough material, including aluminum, vinyl, and wood. Pressure washing shouldn’t be used on all materials, and if your gutters are painted, pressure washing could actually strip the paint.
- How do I get rid of tiger stripes on gutters? The term ‘tiger stripes’ refers to black lines that extend down the lip of a trough to the fascia boards, and sometimes even the siding. These lines are caused by a combination of contaminants found in dirty troughs, such as dust, pollen, dirt, tree sap, algae, and more. To get rid of these stripes, all you need to do is give your gutters a thorough cleaning.
- Can I use Wet and Forget on gutters? Wet and Forget is a product that is intended to remove staining caused by mold, mildew, and moss. This biodegradable product can be sprayed onto the surface of concern and left. When it rains, the product is reactivated and will last on surfaces for one year or longer. In theory, Wet and Forget may be used on aluminum and vinyl troughs to address staining caused by organic growth, but do so with caution.
DIY vs Professional Portland Gutter Cleaning
By using the above steps, you can effectively clean your gutters on your own. That being said, you may wish to employ professional gutter cleaning services for one reason or another. It’s a good idea to consider hiring outside help under the following circumstances:
- You’re not comfortable climbing ladders. Maybe you’ve always had a fear of heights, or maybe you’re no longer the spring chicken you once were. Don’t risk your safety and health by climbing a ladder you know you shouldn’t.
- You don’t have the time. You know you should clean your gutters at least once per year, but realistically, you’re unlikely to get up on that ladder before winter rolls around. Life gets busy—spend your time doing the things you love and hire someone else to do the dirty job for you.
- You don’t have the equipment. Some of the tools and equipment required to efficiently clean your troughs are expensive. Instead of buying this equipment, consider hiring a professional. The average cost of gutter cleaning tends to be significantly less than the upfront costs of cleaning equipment, especially if you live in a small to midsize home. The more feet of gutter you have to clean, the more it will cost.
How To Prevent Gutters From Clogging
An alternative solution to regular professional gutter cleaning is to take steps to reduce how much debris collects in your gutters. The best way to do this is with gutter guards.
There are five main types of gutter guards:
- Screen guards
- Micro mesh guards
- Brush guards
- Foam guards
- And reverse curve guards
These guards work by either preventing debris from entering the trough altogether, or by allowing small bits of debris to enter your troughs while keeping large debris out. Almost all types of guards fail to eliminate the need for gutter maintenance entirely, but they do reduce the frequency of cleaning. There is one exception to this—the Gutter Shutter system.
This reverse-curve all-in-one gutter and gutter guard system is guaranteed to remain clog-free and sag-free. Using principles of physics, this system is designed to allow water to drip into the troughs along a reverse curve while forcing debris to slip off the edge and onto the ground. This allows rainwater to be effectively carried to your downspouts and away from your home while also eliminating the need for regular maintenance.
Made from 0.032 gauge aluminum, these seamless troughs can easily bear the brunt of the weight of a heavy rainfall, while their large 6-inch troughs carry about 20 percent more water than a traditional trough system. The Gutter Shutter system is also installed directly against the fascia boards, leaving your roof untouched and undamaged.
Tired Of Portland Gutter Cleaning? Contact Pacific Gutter For Gutter Shutter System Installation Today!
As a Portland resident, you’ll need to clean your gutters frequently due to steady annual rainfall. Gutter cleaning isn’t fun, but with the right tools, it can be bearable.
If you’ve downright had enough gutter cleaning to last a lifetime, consider installing the Gutter Shutter. We serve many areas! The Gutter Shutter system is the key to saying goodbye to dirty Portland gutter cleaning forever! For more information on this product and our installation service, we encourage you to give us a call at 503-782-5446, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to helping you eliminate gutter cleaning from your life for good!