Author Topic: Safest way to get at this gutter?  (Read 7281 times)

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Safest way to get at this gutter?
« on: May 06, 2016, 10:57:03 AM »
It's finally raining here, and I've realized I have a completely clogged gutter. The image below  is not my house but the exterior porch, gutter, and roof configuration is the same. (My house has a brick exterior, not SweetTart-colored vinyl.)

The circled gutter is what's clogged. Nothing is coming out at the X, and that's a recent development. I put the question mark in because I have no idea what that piece of gutter is doing on that other house. That particular one has since been renovated so I can't walk over and find out, either.

My question is - how do I get at this thing? Stand on the roof by going through the windows, and tie myself off through two of them? Big-ass ladder on the side? I have enough side yard space to get at it if needed, but I'm not a big fan of going up high on ladders.

GuitarStv

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Re: Safest way to get at this gutter?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2016, 11:29:26 AM »
I'd use a ladder.  I hate heights, and this has been the only approach that works for me on a ladder:

- Put your boots at the bottom of the ladder, one right in front of each long pole going up.  Then put your hands out in front of you, parallel to the ground.  The ladder should be about this tilted to be safe.

- Put a couple big, heavy sand bags, concrete mix, bags of potting soil, or something similar at the feet of the ladder to keep it from shifting.

- Take a small bit of rope up with you, and tie the rope around the gutter and top of the ladder.

- Wipe off your boots before you climb.  You don't want wet/greasy rungs.  Keep three points on the ladder at all times.  Two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.

^ Do all that and your ladder/climbing will be solid and dependable.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 11:33:57 AM by GuitarStv »

TrMama

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Re: Safest way to get at this gutter?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2016, 11:31:24 AM »
Two Options:

1. Big ass ladder (rented or borrowed). Make sure someone is holding it at the bottom to help stabilize it. Pick the biggest, strongest person you know. While you're up there, put some gutter guards on that section. That roof design is basically a giant funnel that directs all water, and debris, into that little section of gutter. This means it will clog frequently. Since it's such a small section, gutter guards won't cost much, but will make a big difference. You also need to extend the middle section right into the lower gutter so that X no longer exists. The way it's set up now, water running out of the middle section and over the shingles at X will cause premature wear on those shingles. Buy a length of gutter to replace the too short section you have now. Cost: <$100.

2. Hire someone to do all the things in #1. This is what we do. Our house has 2 levels of gutter (kind of like yours) and the uppers are really dangerous to access. I'll happily extend our working years rather than risk going up there. Cost: Several hundred $.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Safest way to get at this gutter?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2016, 11:42:07 AM »
It's finally raining here, and I've realized I have a completely clogged gutter. The image below  is not my house but the exterior porch, gutter, and roof configuration is the same. (My house has a brick exterior, not SweetTart-colored vinyl.)

The circled gutter is what's clogged. Nothing is coming out at the X, and that's a recent development. I put the question mark in because I have no idea what that piece of gutter is doing on that other house. That particular one has since been renovated so I can't walk over and find out, either.

My question is - how do I get at this thing? Stand on the roof by going through the windows, and tie myself off through two of them? Big-ass ladder on the side? I have enough side yard space to get at it if needed, but I'm not a big fan of going up high on ladders.
I think it's either that, or a cherrypicker.

lthenderson

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Re: Safest way to get at this gutter?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2016, 12:56:20 PM »
Personally I would find an easier way up the back of the house and then after clipping into a rope tied off securely, walk down the roof valley and clear the gutter. Almost all roofs have an easier way up on the backside, usually over a porch or bumpout.

If the picture is showing the easiest way, I would go from the side and put stabilizer bars on my ladder to spread out the footprint. They also have rubber non-slip feet. I would also get a spotter while I was up there.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Safest way to get at this gutter?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2016, 01:21:45 PM »
Personally I would find an easier way up the back of the house and then after clipping into a rope tied off securely, walk down the roof valley and clear the gutter. Almost all roofs have an easier way up on the backside, usually over a porch or bumpout.

Nope. Nope nope nope nope. Not walking over the top of that ridge, and getting up the back would be even harder anyways.

Quote
If the picture is showing the easiest way, I would go from the side and put stabilizer bars on my ladder to spread out the footprint. They also have rubber non-slip feet. I would also get a spotter while I was up there.

I think I need to think about how to rearrange the gutters here. I'm 95% sure my problem is a bird's nest as this part of the roof gets almost no debris. I know my attached neighbor's front gutters are all screwed up too. Perhaps we should go in on it together.

TrMama

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Re: Safest way to get at this gutter?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2016, 02:14:56 PM »
Sorry to reply twice, but I just clicked on your photo and noticed more issues. Bad gutter configurations are one of my pet peeves. If your house looks just like this one  you also need to put an extension on the downspout that goes to the ground to direct water away from the foundation. The current setup is directing water into the foundation which will eventually cause water to come into the basement and expensive damage to the foundation. For $20, get an extension and save yourself the hassle.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Safest way to get at this gutter?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2016, 02:17:37 PM »
Sorry to reply twice, but I just clicked on your photo and noticed more issues. Bad gutter configurations are one of my pet peeves. If your house looks just like this one  you also need to put an extension on the downspout that goes to the ground to direct water away from the foundation. The current setup is directing water into the foundation which will eventually cause water to come into the basement and expensive damage to the foundation. For $20, get an extension and save yourself the hassle.

Yep, on my house that goes under the sidewalk and out to the street. Another difference - my house has a tiny third-tier gutter that's all rust at this point as well.

paddedhat

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Re: Safest way to get at this gutter?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2016, 04:24:39 PM »
In your case, given your appreciate for altitude, and how bad it sucks to fall from such lofty heights, you have only one logical solution here. Find a gutter installer with good reviews and pay the man. Seriously, for an outfit with experience, it's a quick easy job. I hate gutter guards, and most of the thieving scum companies that sell them, but this might be a good application for some, once the problem is solved.

CATman

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Re: Safest way to get at this gutter?
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2016, 10:38:51 AM »
I climb roofs like that for a living. I'd say if you have hesitations about it, I'd pay someone to do it for you. If you're up there and not feeling very comfortable then you're only going to increase your risk of having an accident. There are professionals who have the training and equipment to tackle this kind of thing and having an accident trying to clean a gutter is never worth it.

That being said, if you are dedicated to the idea of doing it yourself, you could put a large ladder on the side of the home, and use a long hose to spray the debris out of the gutter. You could also go out the window and use a gutter cleaning attachment for a hose. It's basically an long extension that's hooked at the end so it sprays directly into the gutter for cleaning. That would probably be the safest option.

FIRE me

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Re: Safest way to get at this gutter?
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2016, 08:44:00 PM »
My question is - how do I get at this thing? Stand on the roof by going through the windows, and tie myself off through two of them? Big-ass ladder on the side? I have enough side yard space to get at it if needed, but I'm not a big fan of going up high on ladders.

If you have one or can borrow one, a good powerful leaf blower will clear the down spout by blowing into it from the bottom (the X on your photo).

Cyaphas

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Re: Safest way to get at this gutter?
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2016, 02:17:38 AM »
A good ladder with someone holding it firmly at the bottom. DO NOT do this alone. Make sure your base person understands not to move until you're back down near the third rung.

Don't tie off to the gutter. If the ladder falls it'll most likely just be more debris to fall on top of you. You're better off throwing a rope from the window that is properly anchored to a stud with a decent eye bolt/lag. On the ladder end, make sure you have some type of quick release system, a carabiner to an over hand loop knot or something. Make sure the rope doesn't have much slack in it that the ladder can just fall or swing.  This seems kind of extreme, but if you feel like you have to anchor make sure it's to something extremely secured. Something like this:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_21795-1277-MP2150BC___?productId=3151703&pl=1&Ntt=eye+lag+screw


Stay on the ladder. That's a pretty good pitch and working without any fall gear on the pitch facing down it towards the gutter would be really hazardous. Don't reach further than you're comfortable. When you can't get something out of reach, go back down and adjust the ladder to the new spot.

Make sure you and the base person can hear one another well. Make sure the base person has an adequately charged cell phone readily available should something go wrong.

If you should fall, don't stay with the ladder. This won't happen if your base person is doing their job. The ladder and gravity are most likely going to do more damage than just gravity.

Base person: feet on ladder's feet. make sure ladder feet have jagged edge out. Always have both hands on ladder stabilizing it at all times. Make sure they have a brimmed hat and some safety goggles or even sunglasses for falling leaf debris. If you can, make sure they're over 150lbs.

If you're uncomfortable with heights this wouldn't be a good starter project. You'd be really surprised how inexpensive it would be to hire this out.