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Cleaning Gutters and Downspouts

So you've finally decided to clean your gutters and downspouts. Here are some useful tips on cleaning gutters and downspouts. Remember, you'll be happy you took these preventative measures when you see your next door neighbor cleaning his during a rainstorm. Trust us.

1. Wear gloves as you scoop the leaves, bird waste, branches and sediment from the troughs. If you find caked-on dirt, scrape it out with a brush. Once it's clear of solid matter, hose each trough out with water and inspect how it is draining.
2. Using a hose spray nozzle set on full force (or using your thumb over the hose valve), force water into each downspout to clear it. If you find a clog, ream it out with a plumber's snake: Feed the snake into the spout, carefully snaking it down, until it hits the clog. Twist the snake around as you continue pushing until you feel the clog break up. Keep twisting until the downspout opens completely. Spray water full-force from the hose to make sure the clog is cleared.
3. Add screens to your gutters to keep leaves, twigs and other solid matter out. Many gutter screens have hinges that allow you to open them to access gutters for cleaning (which you'll need to do even with screens, but it will be much faster and easier). If you want to save money, you can make your own gutter screens using aluminum chicken wire and cut it to size. Attach the wire to gutters with aluminum screws or rivets (not recommended for copper gutters). This method will demand that you remove the screens for cleaning, but will cost next to nothing.

Tip: If you have copper gutters, the only metal to use for anchors is copper, because other metals will cause copper to corrode. For screening material, choose nylon, vinyl or other material that does not interact with copper.

Hammer Are you cleaning gutters and downspouts and have some useful tips you'd like to share with others? Share advice with other DIYers in our Roofing forums!