If you’re anything like me, you didn’t clean out your gutters at the very end of last fall or throughout the entire winter. I can’t blame you, it was cold. However, due to the natural course of things, those last few leaves, acorns, and the spring’s pollen are now fairly decomposed inside of your gutters. This presents a problem. Normally, I use a blower to blow the leaves out of the gutters before they start decomposing. This works wonderfully, as the leaves just fall nicely on the ground and we rake them up with all the others that missed the gutters.
If I used the blower at this point in the leaves’ decomposition, I’d get smelly, partly decomposed leaves all over everything around the house. Then I’d have a pretty substantial clean-up job. On top of that, the blower won’t get out all of the resulting dirt that many of the leaves have transformed into during their winter of decompostion.
The two photos above show everything you’ll need to clean out the mess in your gutters at this point in the game: a ladder, some gloves, and a five gallon bucket. If you haven’t got a ladder that will reach to the tallest part of your roof, I highly recommend you get one. I’ve used ours countless times over the three years we’ve owned our home. However, make sure to either store it in your basement or lock it to a tree or something. Stinking, nasty, turds of people will use your own ladder to break into your house if you give them the chance. Lock it up. High quality, leather gloves are a must for anyone who wants to do work around the house. I found four ant nests in my gutters as I cleaned them this time. It would suck to stick a bare hand into that biting, stinging, mess. If you don’t have any five gallon buckets, go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and pick some up. Again, I’ve used them countless times.
This is what came out of the gutter you see in the first photo of this post. It looks more like dirt than leaves. That’s because it IS more dirt than leaves. You can spread this stuff on your gardens or throw it on a compost pile. Imagine using a blower to spread this mess all over your car, driveway, bushes, and the side of your house. Niiiice. This time of year, you’ve just got to pony up and get your hands dirty, scooping this stuff out by hand. That’s the secret to gutters, you’ve got to clean them by hand about once a year. It sucks, but it’s necessary.
At this point, you might be wondering if you can just keep the leaves out of your gutters. TV commercials tell me there are literally hundreds of ways to keep leaves out, and ALL of them work and are easier than cleaning out your gutters. Sure. Go for it. As you can see in the photo above, I installed screens on my gutters all the way around two years ago. The stretch of gutter in the photo is the only stretch where the screens are still in place. Notice how much shade you see in the photo. The lack of shade indicates a lack of trees over these screens. Yes, this gutter was still clean. Yes, its screens are still in place. But there are no tree branches over it to fall and knock off the screens. There are also hardly any leaves falling on this section of our house. The screens have done a fantastic job of keeping out the nothing that falls on them. Everywhere else, the screens let in leaves and I had to peel the screens off in order to clean under them. They’re a waste of money. Don’t buy them.
You can also spend thousands of dollars on those covered gutters where the water slides around the edge and the leaves stay out. My neighbor has those. She tells me that the pin oak leaves that fall from the gigantic pin oak trees around our house are small enough that they slip inside the gutters anyways, thousands of dollars or not.
If you know something I wish I knew about gutters or gutter maintenance, please leave a comment below. I’ve shared all I know. Please keep the knowledge sharing going. Thanks for reading. -Robby