Cleaning your gutters is a necessary task to ensure your walls and roof are free from water damage. But this essential task is also very dangerous as Roofers are at risk to suffer fall injuries the most. Misplacing the ladder is a major reason why these falls occur. Placing the ladder in the right place can reduce the chance of falling off the roof!
So how do you know where to place ladder when cleaning gutters?
As a rule of thumb, the ladders should be placed on sturdy surfaces such as the wall to avoid risking a fall. If you place your ladder directly on the gutter or the tiles or window, these could make the ladder topple.
While it is advised to get a professional to help with this, many homeowners can avoid these mishaps by following the right safety guidelines.
Here, we would guide you through safety tips to adopt while cleaning the gutters on a ladder as well as alternatives to using a ladder for cleaning gutters.
What Size Ladder Should I Use To Clean Gutters?
When considering safety, the size of the ladder is very important. Things to bear in mind are the height of your building and the working height of the ladder. The working height is the space on the ladder from which you can reach without causing an imbalance to the ladder. Safe ladders for cleaning gutters will come with an ideal working height at the level of the gutter.
To get the right height, you would need to measure the height of the gutter from the ground using a laser measure. You can also measure a brick and multiplying that by the total number of bricks you have, you can estimate the height of the gutter.
As buildings come in different structures and designs, you would need different ladders for different houses. For instance, to clean a bungalow or single-story building with an approximate height of 3.3 m, using a 10 or 12-step ladder works well.
Meanwhile, you would need extendable ladders with about 8m extendable height for 2-story buildings. For buildings with more stories, it is often advisable to get professionals or use tools that would not require climbing the roof.
Where To Place Ladder When Cleaning Gutters?
There are some do’s and dont’s of placing a ladder while cleaning the gutters. These are-
- Avoid placing your ladder on the gutter because the gutter might not be firm enough to support the ladder. If your gutter is made of plastic, it could break off and cause the ladder to topple.
- Asides from the gutter, be careful to not place the ladder on other surfaces that are not very firm such as tiles. These could get broken and cause general roof damage.
- Leaning your ladder on a window is also dangerous as the ladder can cause the glass to shatter consequently leading to the fall of the ladder. Fascia boards could also get damaged if ladders are wrongly placed on them.
- When setting up the ladder for cleaning gutters, ensure it rests firmly on the brick wall or any sturdy surface. As a way to make this possible, many safety guides advise that you use a ladder stay or standoff to help place the ladder correctly.
Follow These Safety Tips While Cleaning The Gutters With A Ladder
Climbing a ladder to clean the gutter is a dangerous feat, but there are simple safety tips you can adopt.
- Wear the right footwear when you have to climb a ladder. Choose shoes with a heavy sole over those with leather shoes.
- Wear a tool belt if you need to carry any tool up the ladder. This is important, so you have your hands free for climbing.
- As discussed above, select the appropriate ladder size that can carry your weight with tools. The ladder should also have enough working height.
- Place the ladder on the level ground, not a slope or a slippery space, so you don’t risk a fall.
- Ensure your ladder is not in the way of a closed door or a closed window to avoid accidents.
- Avoid climbing in bad weather. Instead, wait till it gets fairer and risk-free.
- Three points of contact: it’s the rule spells out that while ascending or descending from the ladder, always make sure that you have either two feet and a hand or two hands and a foot on the ladder.
- Face the ladder when ascending or descending from the ladder.
- Don’t climb a ladder if you feel unwell. Dizziness and tiredness can make climbing very risky.
- Climb carefully and don’t make sudden movements that can unbalance the ladder.
If You Don’t Have A Ladder To Clean The Gutters…
Perhaps with the risk of climbing the gutter, you are wondering if it is possible to clean them without climbing. Well, there are some alternatives to climbing with a ladder. While these are not so common they are pretty much effective.
1. Gutter Vacuum
Just as you would use a vacuum cleaner for cleaning in the house, by attaching this gutter vacuum to a leaf blower, you can easily remove debris from the roof gutter. Dirt is sucked into the vacuum bag through the hose that curls on the edge of the gutter.
Some of such debris that can be removed using the gutter vacuum are twigs, pines, and leaves. Once they are collected, the bag can be emptied and reused again.
2. Gutter Flusher
With the gutter flusher, you could clean the gutter using high-powered water to flush the dirt away. The flusher comes with metal poles that can be extended and connected to a regular garden hose.
Once that is set, you turn on the water and blast it on the gutter. The downside of this is that there is usually so much mess caused by water.
3. Gutter Cleaning Applicator
The gutter cleaning applicator as with the flusher makes use of extendable poles. But in this case, the poles are similar to painters’ poles and allow you to wipe off the dirt from the gutter.
Using the poles, you do not have to climb up to clean the gutters.
4. Gutter Sense Gutter Cleaning Tool
Here, you have tong-like features built with extendable poles that do not require you to climb up a ladder.
Because the tongs of this gutter cleaning tool run flat into the gutter, they make picking up debris from the gutter easy. They are made with plastic and glass-filled nylon, so you do not have to worry about them being too heavy.
5. Leaf Filter
Leaf filters are structures set in place to prevent debris from getting into the gutter at all. These structures are made of a mesh net and hangers through which they are hung on the gutter.
As water flows on the roof, it is drawn into the gutter through the net while the dirt is kept out by the net as well.
Safety when cleaning a gutter is very important. It begins first by identifying where to place ladder when cleaning gutters. One thing to know is that your ladder must be placed on a very sturdy surface. Not the gutter, not the fascia board, and definitely not the window but the wall instead.
If you are looking for how to work without climbing a ladder, there are several alternatives available. When the ladder is well placed, you should also adhere to other safety tips to ensure your gutter cleaning task is done without accidents.