About the Post

Jerry Hardy

Author Information

I was a Building Contractor along with owning rental properties where I did most of the repairs myself. Its my pleasure to pass on to you some of the methods I had used in the past. Hopefully, this will save you the expense of hiring a professional to do the work.

Cleaning Eavestrough

Cleaning the eavestrough and downspouts on your home should be done at least once a year to prevent overflowing which could cause extensive damage to the foundation and interior.

The tools needed to do the job are:

* Ladder, either folding or extension depending on the height of your roof.

* Gloves; rubber if the debris is wet or regular gloves if dry.

* Garden hose

* Garden spade or trowel

* Plastic bucket

* Straightened steel coat hanger or plumbers snake

* S hook  for holding pail to ladder  (can be made with a steel coat hanger)

NOTE: If the debris in the eavestrough is dry, I suggest you purchase a small plastic pail and cut out the bottom.  Place a plastic bag around the opening and tape it to the pail with a good tape such as duct tape. The pail will act as a guide for the leaves entering the bag. This method will prevent you from climbing up and down the ladder emptying the pail. Keep the pail in storage for next years eavestrough cleaning.

Secure ladder

Start by setting up your ladder on a solid footing and starting at the downspout, begin cleaning the eavestrough of all debris.

Cleaning eavestrough

If the material is stuck on the bottom of the eavestrough, use the spade or trowel to loosen it.  Continue doing the same, working your way along the eavestrough until you reach the end. Remove and clean any downspout strainers. If the debris taken from the eavestrough is wet, you may want to drop it on the ground in a tarp, moving the tarp as you progress.

Flush with water

After removing all the debris, run water into the eavestrough with the hose, starting at the end opposite the downspout.  If the water is not draining, it’s time to clean the downspout. 

Clearing downspout

To unplug it, remove the lowest section of the downspout, insert the hose and turn on the water. If this doesn’t clear it, try inserting the hose from the top. If you still have a problem, break up the obstruction by inserting a straightened metal coat hanger or for better results, use a plumbers snake, if you have access to one. . When the obstruction is cleared, flush out the downspout with the hose.


Check drainagecanstockphoto5762957

Once the cleaning of the downspouts is complete, fill the eavestrough with water. If the water is not draining, it means that that the eavestrough is not sloped correctly. The slope should be 4 inches for every 10 feet of length for good drainage. If yours doesn’t have this or greater slope, remove the hangers and make the adjustment. The hangers should be spaced every 2 feet for good support.

Seal leaks

If you have any leaks in the joints, wait until the eavestrough is dry, then apply  joint sealer along the seams at the leak. Always apply the sealer on the inside surface.  Never attempt to repair a leak from the outside.

Install strainers

After you have completed all the steps in cleaning the eavestrough and downspouts, if you don’t have any strainers over your downspouts, I would highly suggest installing them. Most all home improvement stores carry them and they are relatively inexpensive.

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