When cleaning your gutters, you might be faced with a decision as to whether or not to purchase gutter cleaning products from the store or just make them yourself. Each of these — DIY and store-bought — have their pros and cons, and in this article, we’ll offer a comparison between the two. Having clean gutters does more than boost your home’s curb appeal, and making sure that they stay that way is an important part of protecting your investment as a homeowner.
Know When to Clean your Gutters
How often you should clean your gutters is, in a large part, dependent on where you live and the vegetation surrounding you. Oak trees and pine trees, for example, both shed different amounts of growth. If you have a lot of trees, you should clean your gutters more frequently, while homes without as many surrounding tree branches might get with only seasonal cleaning and maintenance. In colder climates, ice and snow become just as important to consider, as an ice dam can be just as damaging as clogs caused by debris.
Once you get a feel for how often your gutters will need attention, the question becomes: how? There are, in fact, do-it-yourself gutter-cleaning solutions that you can make from scratch, without much that you couldn’t probably find in your pantry. You can use a paste made from water and cream of tartar to buff the outsides, and a solution of water and white vinegar to help clean out the inside. For vinyl gutters, a mixture of water, liquid detergent, and bleach can be used. With some care and proper rationing, you can save yourself a lot of money and keep your gutters clean and functional.
Store-bought gutter-cleaners tend to be more chemical-laden, and also work on tougher, hard-to-scrub debris that sticks to your gutters and doesn’t come off. Their effectiveness and long-lasting protection are definitely advantages. The impact of these more potent chemicals to your pocketbook, as well as the environment, are their only drawbacks.
DIY gutter-guards can be made from chicken wire, mesh, plastic shields, or other products from around your yard or home. But the problems with these are manifold, and although the ingenuity of the DIY spirit is to be admired, makeshift gutter guards tend to harm your roof when they are installed, making them harder to remove or replace when you eventually have to call in the gutter experts. They also don’t protect your home thoroughly, as many of them have openings that allow for debris to become trapped, and have a much shorter lifespan.
It’s pretty easy to want to lock yourself into the DIY mindset, especially when you take so much pride in yourself and your home. And many of the do-it-yourself solutions you hear of certainly have some merit. You don’t necessarily need to spend money on harsh chemicals, you could get by with household cleaners and a little know-how. But when it comes to gutter guards and other fixtures of the home, you should at least consult the professionals before you make a potentially damaging decision that can affect the life of your home.