For the next couple of weeks, The Tacoma Community Connector would like to focus on the most simple and inexpensive things that can boost your curb appeal quickly. When we think about curb appeal, our thoughts quickly turn to things like: painting the entire house, installing a new rock wall, or ripping out the entire lawn and starting anew. We’ll get to all of that, eventually, but for these first few weeks I thought we’d start out easy.
Last week, we went out into the world and looked for inspiration. Maybe you found an interesting entryway or a really neat water feature. Maybe you thought about installing a new porch or creating an outside living space. With your creative juices flowing you now have a better vision of what you want. I hope with your new discoveries, you kept the house that you have in mind. In case you didn’t or you just need a little refresher, these projects will give you a great idea of where you’re starting (and where you’ll be headed). Plus, your house will look a whole lot better when you’re done.
Cleaning Gutters/ Inspecting Roof
A bucket with a sturdy handle
A plumbing snake (maybe)
A garden hose
An S hook
Now, I know that gutters aren’t super exciting, but they do perform a very important job. The functionality and overall look of your home can be greatly impacted by faulty or overflown gutters. Symptoms of gutter problems include: dirty streaks or mineral stains on your siding, flooding basement, crumbling foundation, minor to extensive wood rot found in walls and roofing, and of course fallen or hanging gutters. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to prevent the aforemetioned problems. A quick scoop and rinse twice a year can keep your gutters working well for years to come.
There are two main methods of cleaning gutters “The Bucket Method” or “The Drop Method”. I find the drop method a little messier, but easier and faster. The bucket method involves putting everything you pull out of the gutter into a bucket. You’ll need to secure your bucket to the gutter by hooking one side of the S hook to the gutter and hang your bucket from the other. Unfortunately, once the bucket fills up you have to climb back down the ladder, and repeat until the job is done. With the drop method, you drop everything you pull out of the gutter onto a large tarp. Then when everything is emptied out, climb down the ladder, rake up any stray debris, and move on to the next section.
1) You’ve got the collection method all set up. Now it’s time to clean those gutters out! Use your leaf scoop to get everything out of the gutter. Try to leave as little as you can behind.
2) Once the gutter is free of sticks, leaves, and needles; you’ll need to check the downspouts for clogs. Make sure the downspouts are clear BEFORE you rinse out the gutters. Rinsing the gutter when the downspouts are clogged up will only make the problem worse. First, take a hose and insert it into the downspout. Have a helper turn on the water and make sure a good stream of water is coming out of the other side. If nothing comes out or if only a small amount of water is slowly draining out, you’ll have to unclog the downspout. Use your plumbing snake to clear out the clog, and check with the hose again to see if it’s all clear
3) Now that the hard parts are over, all you have to do is give everything a good rinse. Starting at the farthest point from the downspout opening, spray any remaining gunk off of the bottom and sides of the gutter. Continue along the entire gutter until you reach the opening of the downspout and check the downspout again for any new clogs.
4) After cleaning and rinsing everything down, inspect the tiles on your roof. Are any of them loose, or pulling up at the corners? Do you see any moss or mold growing in the cracks? If so you may need to call up a professional and see if there’s any roof damage. Trust me, it’s better to get an expert when the problem is small. The bigger the problem, the bigger the bill.
Yay! Now you have one super clean and functional gutter. Repeat this process with each gutter on the house and you’ll have a happy house for years to come. Not to mention, your wallet will thank you when you don’t have to pay those expensive repair bills that come along with neglected gutters. Try it out and let us know how it goes!