Safely cleaning gutters from the roof
November 21, 2007 6:39 AM   Subscribe

How do you safely clean your 2nd story gutters from a steeply sloped roof?

I saw this question but it doesn't really address the heart of my question. How would you safely clean gutters from a high, sloped roof? A tall ladder could work, but it seems likely that the risk of falling is increased by constantly moving up and down the ladder. Also, it's a tremendous pain in the ass. Scaffolding would also work but is cost-prohibitive. I suppose I could pay someone but I'd rather not. I enjoy saving money and the satisfaction of working on my home where possible. So that leaves working from the roof. Which is dangerous. And scary. So what methods can be used to safely work from the roof and close to the gutters? Harness and anchor? To what? Special shoes? That won't damage asphalt shingles?

Or perhaps I'm missing other options from working on the ground. Cherry Picker? iRobot gutter cleaner? 2 story gutter wand? Trained squirrels?
posted by lyam to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I recommend the favorite tool of left-handed, acrophobic, Jewish nerds: the yellow pages.
posted by scblackman at 6:43 AM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ladder is going to be what you want. You don't want to working on the gutter from a steep, sloped roof. If you're not comfortable climbing up and down a ladder, or seating a ladder so that it's stable, I'd hire someone.
posted by MarkAnd at 6:49 AM on November 21, 2007

Back when I lived on my palatial country estate I fabricated a version of this out of plastic pipe.
Worked like a charm.
posted by Floydd at 6:57 AM on November 21, 2007

We have one of these (two story, steep roof). We use a long-ass extension ladder and someone at the bottom to hold it. Do you know what you do while you're up there cleaning? You put gutter screens on the gutters so they don't fill up with crap again so you don't have to clean them out again for a long time.

Think of it as an upgrade rather than a chore. It takes a few hours, but saves so much grief later.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:04 AM on November 21, 2007

Seriously, save money somewhere else in your home. My father-in-law made me spend the extra cash when building my home to put in the gutter screens, he knows too many homeowners who have hurt themselves working on gutters.

If you insist on trying it, you don't want to work from the roof. You'll spend more money fixing the shingles than you'd ever save by doing it yourself. And the hospital bills when you take a spill on the steep roof.

If you don't already have a ladder to reach that height, you'll spend a ton buying one or renting one. Not to mention that you must have a person at the bottom of the ladder, which will either be a generous friend or someone you have to pay.
posted by shinynewnick at 7:30 AM on November 21, 2007

I'm curious about this new "gutter cleaning robot" from iRobot. The idea is that you climb the ladder once, put in the robot, and send it out and back. The video demo makes it look neat, but I'd like to hear some first-person reviews. Might be worth th $99 if it works well.
posted by alb at 7:38 AM on November 21, 2007

I saw that on tv a couple of nights ago. Seems like it might work well with dry leaves, but not at all with a wet clump of debris.
posted by lyam at 7:40 AM on November 21, 2007

Yeah, the ladder is the regular tool of choice here. A couple times a year mine makes the journey all the way around both my house and garage, no biggie. I'd hire someone before trying anything newfangled.
posted by iguanapolitico at 8:19 AM on November 21, 2007

Thanks all. A ladder it is.
posted by lyam at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2007

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