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Installing & Cleaning Gutters: Dangers of DIY

Installing & Cleaning Gutters: Dangers of DIY

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When fall hits, the accumulation of dead leaves and debris can really create a problem for homeowners' gutter systems. To correct this problem, DIY gutter maintenance can seem like a no-brainer, but in actuality, there are high numbers of injuries, and even some deaths, resulting from falls and roof/gutter-related projects every year. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, "unintentional falls" were the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in 2007, for all age groups, races and sexes. Falls resulting from cleaning out gutters and shoveling snow off the roof are included in this category.

Skipping the risk of serious personal injury is always a worthy reason to loosen the purse strings and hire a professional to fulfill your gutter installation, gutter cleaning, gutter repair and gutter replacement needs. Individuals with two-story homes, or business owners with roofs topping three and four stories, should especially not undertake a DIY gutter cleaning or maintenance project. Keep reading to find out more gutter maintenance basics, and to learn about the risks of DIY gutter projects vs. professional gutter services!

The Importance of Gutter Maintenance

First off, what's the big deal with gutters anyway? To many homeowners, gutters are certainly low on their list of home improvement priorities. However, gutter maintenance can be a relatively straightforward task that can prevent future damage to landscaping and lawns, the staining of house siding, and in the long run, it can even prevent foundation issues. Lack of proper gutters may even lead to the required installation of a sump pump to alleviate frequent basement flooding.

Gutters are typically seen as an essential necessity for homes throughout the country. Unfortunately, gutters have a tendency to get filled and clogged with debris, leaves, twigs, etc., thus considerably hampering their purpose and function. The most cost-effective way to keep your gutter systems flowing smoothly is to regularly clean them out, and to quickly make repairs or replacements when needed.

Whether you're attempting to clean your home's gutters in preparation for winter, in an effort to pick up after a series of high winds or a storm, or as part of your roof maintenance routine, there are some things to consider before breaking out that ladder...

DIY Gutter Risks

It's one thing to try cleaning the gutters on your one-story ranch house; it's quite another to attempt clearing out or repairing gutters atop a 3-story home or apartment building. DIY gutter cleaning, gutter repairs, gutter replacement or gutter installation may seem like easy projects, but there's nothing simple about the risk you run when attempting these jobs minus experience or adequate preparation. It comes as no surprise that the fall season is a popular time for tending to roof and gutter systems. It also comes as no surprise or coincidence that this same time of year is when greater numbers of home improvement accidents are recorded.

Common accidents that occur while attempting DIY gutter projects are typically related to a fall from the roof. You might think this couldn't happen to you, but accidental falls can result from a loss of balance, from slipping on an unsteady ladder, from external distractions, from overreaching, etc. Needless to say, accidents can happen to you or to anyone when working on a roof and/or gutters—even when following proper safety guidelines. The elderly, more than any other age group, are especially at risk for serious accidents resulting from falls during home improvement projects.

To avoid any accidents or unnecessary injuries with roof or gutter projects this year, why not hire a professional roofing contractor or gutter specialist to take care of your seasonal upkeep? Not only will they be more experienced in the task at hand, they will have the necessary tools, knowledge and resources to handle these jobs safely and efficiently.

Why Professional Gutter Services are a Smart, Safe Option

The benefits of professional contractor services as opposed to DIY gutter installation and replacement should be obvious in part, but we'll extrapolate a bit more. DIY gutters can be an unsafe job to attempt for several reasons, such as:

  • gutters are located on the edge of roofing systems—a particularly precarious spot to safely reach and tend to.
  • gutters stretch all around a home's roof perimeter, meaning that there will be plenty of trips up and down the ladder to complete a full gutter installation or replacement. The greater the size of the project, the greater the chances of an accident are.
  • DIY gutter projects are usually attempted by inexperienced individuals, or as solo projects. In both cases, the DIY-er usually approaches the task-at-hand too casually and ups their chances of an unintentional injury.

Professional gutter service contractors have more streamlined systems and techniques for taking care of these risky gutter improvement tasks. They know the best way to avoid injury while cleaning or replacing gutter systems, and they utilize the appropriate tools and attire to finish the job right the first time.

There are also many choices available when it comes to gutters today. In terms of materials, popular options include vinyl gutters, aluminum gutters, copper gutters and steel gutters. Then there is a wide variety of gutter accessories to select for your personal home gutter system, including gutter guards or gutter helmets. A licensed home contractor with experience in gutter projects can give you in-depth information on these details, and also make recommendations for the appropriate size and profile shape of your new or replacement gutters.

Gutter Project Costs: DIY vs. Professional

Aside from overconfidence, most DIY-ers attempt gutter maintenance tasks because they are trying to cut costs. But in truth, the cost of brand new gutter parts, gutter materials and gutter tools can leave homeowners with total project costs that are very close to what professional gutter services would average. Of course, the cost of professional gutter services will mainly be determined by the type and scale of the gutter job, but many gutter contractors have the cost of materials already built in to their estimate fees, so you won't have to sweat any additional costs.

Professional gutter contractors will also be able to give you helpful information about today's various gutter accessories and materials, not to mention tips on keeping your gutters clean and in good shape all year round. You might even say that the info obtained from a gutter service provider could be of use to you when possibly attempting a DIY gutter project down the road!

Getting Your Gutter Maintenance Project Underway

If you need gutter assistance now or in the near future, we can connect you with a trusted gutter contractor in your area; to advise you and to complete the project in question to your exact specifications. By contacting our knowledgeable service representatives, we can schedule your first appointment with a local contractor and even help you obtain free estimates for your individual project! So if you've decided that the professional cost of gutter installation and/or repair is worth avoiding the cost and hassle of a hospital stint post-fall, SignatureContractors is ready and willing to help you in your home improvement endeavors!

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