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Gutters: Clean or Protect?

Leaky Gutter

Regardless of how you go about it, gutters cannot be plugged up. If they are, disaster will soon follow. With clogged gutters comes massive rain and water damage. The homes foundation will suffer the worst. However, walls can become wet and moldy. Landscaping can be destroyed, walkways and driveways can be dislodged; the list just goes on and on.

Some people prefer to clean their own gutters. There is a careful process involved with cleaning your own gutters. First you need to get to the roof. This can be done with a ladder. Once up on top, you can use your hand or a large spoon, or any kind of scoop to remove leaves and other debris. If there is dry, solid dirt, you first need to wet it, and then remove it with your tool of choice. Usually homeowners will take a bag up with them and just drop it to the ground once it is full. If downspouts are clogged, you need to use a hose to move the junk through. Another method to self cleaning gutters is to use a leaf blower. Once cleaning is complete, take your hose and flush the gutters one last time.

Although many homeowners choose to clean there own gutters, there is a significant risk involved. If you accidentally hold on to the gutter or downspout, they will easily break and you will fall. Another problem can be an unsteady ladder. Many times, accidents happen when the ladder falls over. One last thing to keep in mind is that if you use a leaf blower, you will be balancing at the top of a ladder, while holding a large, awkward blower. Couple that with the dust and debris that could go in your eyes and this becomes a recipe for disaster.

Many other homeowners make the conscious decision to have gutter protectors installed. These covers can either be in the form of a screen or an awning type cover. Either way, these covers drastically reduce the occurrence of clogging in rain gutters. Both of these covers can be discussed with the appropriate gutter contractor in your area. There is a cost for these covers, therefore it is important to shop around and find someone who not only specializes in gutters but also someone who is reasonable priced and guarantees their work. Keep in mind that even though these covers reduce the amount of gutter cleaning you will need to do, you will need to have your gutters checked every few years to make sure any debris that did get into the system is removed and that they surrounding eaves and roofing are still in good condition.

The choice between cleaning your own gutters or installing gutter covers is your own personal decision. Cleaning your gutters is much cheaper but poses a potential safety risk. Purchasing gutter guards, comes at a cost, but is virtually risk free. Gutter guards also require much less care. The choice is yours.


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