Clearing autumn gutter blocked with leaves by hand

How to keep your gutters clear and protect your home

Keeping the gutters on your house clear of blockages and properly working is one of the most important home maintenance jobs. 

Clogged gutters can cause damage to the walls and roof, or even lead to leaks inside your house.  

Together with building validation specialists Virtus, we’ve put together some tips on how to keep your gutters in good shape.

Clean your gutters at least twice a year

If you’re able to reach them safely, you can clean your home’s gutters yourself. Aim to do this in late spring and late autumn, as a minimum. If you live in a wooded area, and your gutters easily fill up with leaves and other debris, then you’ll need to give them a clean more often. 

It can help to use a plastic scoop, like the one you might use for measuring out pet food, to shovel out leaves and other debris.

You’ll likely need to use a ladder, so remember to always be careful and follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions. Be sure to work from a ladder that's tall enough to let you reach the gutters comfortably. 

After cleaning out all the loose debris, flush the gutters with a hose. While you’re up there, check your roof for loose tiles or holes where rainwater can seep in.

If you don’t feel safe or confident reaching your gutters, then get help from a professional.

Inspect your gutters

Once your freshly cleaned gutters have dried completely, inspect them for signs of damage, including rust, leaks, or holes. You’re most likely to see these at the gutter joints, where metal edges were welded together. Rust spots and holes can be mended with scrap wire screening and asphalt roof cement, which you can buy in DIY stores.

Replace broken sections

If the gutters look particularly dented, rusty, or have started to dip, then consider replacing them. You can either call in a professional to help with this, or do the job yourself, if you can do it safely.

Check and clean the downspouts 

A downspout, or downpipe, is a vertical pipe that carries rainwater from the gutters.

Alongside the gutters, these are also an essential part of your home drainage, so inspect them for rust, leaks, holes or corroded joints the same way you did for the gutters. Again, repair any problems or fit replacement pipes, if you need to. 

Whether you do it yourself, or seek help, regularly giving some attention to your gutters is an essential part of home maintenance and can help you keep your home safe, even on rainy days.

For tips on how to protect your home, go to Solved.