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Shop Talk: The Surprising Home Maintenance Project That Saves Portland Homeowners Thousands

Few cities embrace spring with the eagerness that Portland does. After months of looming grey skies and damp socks, can you blame us? When dormant maple trees begin to awaken and electric pink camellias line neighborhood sidewalks, shrugging off the memory of winter rains is the natural response for many. However, Portland homeowners shouldn’t be as quick to leave the winter season behind. That is, not until they’ve properly addressed the seasonal impacts to their home and ensured proper maintenance of their gutter systems.


Dramatic winter rainstorms and rich arboreal diversity are signatures of the Pacific Northwest, but these same characteristics are a menace to gutter systems. Over the course of the fall and winter seasons, it is common for this foliage to create blockages in your gutter, impairing its ability to properly direct water away from your home. Left unaddressed, improper drainage can result in extensive water damage to your foundation and roof. Proper gutter maintenance helps prevent damage to your home’s structure and landscaping, which can result in savings exceeding $10,000. Before spring fever takes over, be sure to follow these simple steps to tend to the gutters in your home.


  1. Survey the area. Before you begin this project, make sure to take a close look at your property for any potential hazards which may put your safety at risk. Issues such as electric lines, imposing trees, or uneven terrain could be cause for concern. In this case, consult a professional before proceeding.


  1. Gather your materials. For this home maintenance DIY, you’ll only need the following:
    1. Hand shovel or plastic scoop. Select a small hand tool that will help you scoop any debris out of the gutter.
    2. Opt for rubber if you can, this might get messy.
    3. Plastic tarp. Speaking of messy, considering throwing a plastic tarp over your yard so you can easily remove any waste afterward.
    4. Reliable ladder. Be sure your ladder is secure, and—if possible—use one with standoff stabilizers to protect your gutters from ladder damage.
    5. Use a garden hose to flush away any remaining debris. Additionally, your hose will help you spot any leaks or blockages.


  1. Get started. Once you’ve collected the necessary tools, you simply need to repeat the following steps until all areas of your gutter have been examined, cleared and tested.
    1. Using your scoop and gloved hands, remove any leaves and gunk from your gutter.
    2. Using your hose, run water through the gutters to examine for leaks and blockages. To check drainage in your spouts, turn the water flow on your hose to high and direct it down into your spout. If the water comes through more slowly, there is a blockage. Using your hose, work it into the spout through the bottom opening, flushing the spout until all debris is removed.
    3. Check the gutter system’s stability, ensuring it is securely attached to your house.


Responsible Portland homeowners should anticipate cleaning their gutters at least twice a year, performing consistent spot checks on their drainage system to catch blockages before they become hazardous. Gutter maintenance is one of the most impactful ways to preserve the health and value of your home, so be sure to add it to this year’s spring cleaning checklist!




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