Cleaning the Gutters – Basement Waterproofing Outside the Basement

Here’s a strange thing about basement waterproofing: It isn’t always confined to the basement. Sometimes, things that happen elsewhere on your property can affect your home’s foundation. Rainwater can run downhill and pool around your home if it isn’t properly diverted. And it can cause severe damage if it’s spilling out of clogged gutters.

The whole purpose of rain gutters is to divert rain away from your home’s foundation. If rain gutters aren’t lining your roof, rain can simply drip off your roof, pool around your foundation, and create hyrdostatic pressure, which in turn creates cracks and leaks in your basement walls. If those gutters are clogged, it’s like not having gutters at all.

But maintaining your gutters isn’t an easy job. It can take all day. You have to get up on a ladder. You have to wear gloves and risk running into spiders and other nasty pests. But there’s no getting around it; cleaning out your rain gutters is a vital component of basement waterproofing.

Here’s how to do it, and do it well.

Get your gear together

You’ll need a ladder, a bucket, a thick pair of gardening gloves, and something (like a trowel) to scoop out leaf litter. It might help to have a tool belt to secure that trowel. You can also use a straightened-out wire hanger to clean out debris from the downspout.

Get some help

If possible, get someone to stay on the ground and keep the ladder steady while you’re working. It’s not a fun job, but it ensures proper safety

Hook up your hose

You’ll need it at the end of the process.

Start scooping

Use your trowel and your (gloved!) hands to pull out all the leaf litter and other debris from the gutters. You can rest your bucket on the roof as you fill it up. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can lay a tarp on the ground and dump the contents of the bucket onto it as it fills up. But then you’ll need to move the tarp every time you move the ladder.

Clean the downspouts

If you can disconnect it with relative ease, do so — this may make the process simpler. Use your straightened hanger to clear out any big clogs, then hose out the entire thing to get it clean.

Hose out the whole works.

Once you’ve reattached the downspouts, spray out the entire system of gutters to make sure it’s doing its job right. If water comes out the downspouts like it’s supposed to, your job is done. Treat yourself to a nice dinner.

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