This post was last updated on April 1st, 2021 at 09:25 am
Cleaning gutters is a straightforward task many homeowners have to do a couple of times a year, mainly in the spring and fall.
You need to clear leaves, moss, and other organic material out of the guttering, clean the eavestrough and flush the downpipe clear of any blockage.
Keeping gutters clean helps prevent roof leaks and water damage that can cause costly repair bills later on.
The task is easy enough. Remove debris in the gutter with your hands or a commercial (or homemade) gutter cleaning scoop, put it in a bucket or trash sack for disposal, work your way along the guttering length until you remove all solid matter.
But you will need to work on a ladder. Correct positioning of the ladder is essential to ensure you can work safely without damaging the gutters.
How To Protect Gutters from Ladder Damage
When you work on gutters, whether making repairs or clearing out leaves or snow, one particular ladder accessory can make the task easier and safer for you. It will also protect your guttering from damage caused by your weight, plus a ladder leaning against it.
It's called a ladder stand-off and is for use with extension ladders.
What is a Ladder Stand Off?
A stand-off is a ladder accessory that you easily fit at the top of an extension ladder - usually on two upper rungs. It consists of an arm on either side of the ladder that extends the ladder ends away from the work surface (wall or gutter, for example).
You will be able to rest the ladder on the roof without touching the gutters at all, and aside from operating safely and not damaging the guttering, you will have easier access to the area you'll be working.
Ladder manufacturers such as Little Giant, Werner, and Louisville Ladders make them specific to their products. Still, you can buy stand-offs that are compatible with most aluminum and fiberglass extension ladders that are easy to fit and use.
Ladder-Max Stand-Off Stabilizer
The Ladder-Max Standoff is delivered flat-packed and requires some assembly. It doesn't take long to put together - a quarter of an hour or so.
You fit it to your ladder with three rungs clear above the point of attachment. That is to give you safe access on and off the roof if needed.
Locking pins stop the unit from coming off, but it does tend to slide from side to side on the rungs because it is a universal fitting. You can overcome this by using a pair of rubber tarp straps to provide extra tension around the two mounting rungs and keep the standoff more firmly in place.
The unit is easy and quick to remove and refit.
If your extension ladder has the standard rung spacing, the Ladder-Max will work. But, be aware that it works on a sloping roof only - not on a flat roof.
Ladder-Max Stand-off with Gutter Cleaning Bundle
Ladder-Max is available with a gutter clearing bundle. It consists of the stand-off, gutter scoop, gutter grabber, extension pole and bucket hook.
Levelok Stabilizer Standoff Brackets
The Levelok Standoff Stabilizer is a lot simpler unit. Supplied as a pair of brackets that slide into open D or O rung holes on either side of the ladder, it fits most aluminum and fiberglass extension ladders.
Installing the brackets is a breeze. Just insert them up to the black marker on each end, and the tension in the tubing holds them firmly in place.
The Levelok Standoff comes with either foam or silicone elbows, and it is the silicone version you need as they seem to last a lot longer than foam.
Equipment Needed to Work on Gutters
Apart from a standoff, the rest of the equipment you need to do an adequate job of clearing gutters you may already have in your DIY kit.
Some people remove the gutter debris with bare hands. Personally, I think it's better to protect your skin and use work gloves. If the gutters are blocked and soaking wet, use waterproof gloves; otherwise, any garden-type glove will provide some protection.
Gutter Cleaning Tips
These easy-to-use and set-up ladder accessories can help you do the job of clearing gutters more effectively and keep you safe.