After damaging spring storms took their toll on Houston, Texas this spring, repairing your home’s exterior may be on the top of your to-do list. Before you take out your ladder, read the do’s and don’ts of ladder safety from LeafGuard by BELDON®. We take ladder safety seriously, and want you to be well equipped before you perform any gutter system repairs this fall.
Do use a sturdy ladder. Inspect your ladder before climbing up it. Look for any dents or damage, and check that all the parts are tightened. Also, look for the ladder’s maximum capacity. Set your ladder on sturdy, even ground. Clear any debris out of the way, including mulch and straw.
Do wear the correct gear. Cleaning gutters can be hard work, and your ladder can become slippery. Wear non-slip shoes to ensure adequate traction while moving up and down the ladder. Use flexible, work gloves made out of heavy duty material; these gloves should allow you to easily grab the gunk in your gutters without cutting up your hands.
Do have a spotter. Have a friend or family member standing on the ground to help brace the ladder. Ladders may slip at the bottom, so it’s helpful to have someone keeping it steady. Also, if you do happen to be injured, having someone nearby can mean your injuries are cared for sooner.
Do use a harness when necessary. In some cases it may be necessary for you to have a harness. Such is the case when you’re cleaning your gutters from the roof, or when you’re extended far above the ground.
Do have the proper tools. Being equipped with the proper tools can help you get any gutter maintenance done efficiently. Use a tool belt as necessary, or have your spotter hand you tools as you need them. Try to keep at least one hand free for holding onto the ladder.
Don’t work near power lines. Power lines can feed into your home directly over or under your gutters. The lines may have become worn over time or may not be well insulated. If there appears to be damage to the cables, have the wiring fixed before cleaning the gutters. Use a fiberglass ladder when working near power lines rather than a metal ladder.
Don’t lean your ladder on your gutter system. When using an extension ladder, don’t balance it on your gutter system. This can cause scratches on the finish and put too much weight on your gutters. The surface of gutters can also be slippery causing the ladder to slide.
Don’t overreach. Sometimes you may feel like you need to strain to reach your gutters, or try to reach to the side rather than moving the ladder. Overreaching can throw you off balance and end with you on the ground. Stay square over the ladder and remember to keep three points of contact, two feet and one hand. Move the ladder when you feel yourself straining.
Don’t stand on the top two steps. You’re likely to lose your balance and fall off the top two steps. If you slip, you’re likely to grab your roofing gutters for support. This could result in injury to yourself, as well as a broken gutter system.
Don’t climb your ladder during inclement weather. While inclement weather is more likely in the spring in Houston than the summer, this “don’t” is still worth noting. Strong winds can blow your ladder over, and it’s easy to slip during wet or icy conditions.
Gutter maintenance is important throughout the year, and with many people using ladders to perform the appropriate maintenance, knowing how to do so safely can prevent common injuries. Replace your current gutter system in Houston with a clog-free LeafGuard gutter system, and minimize the time that you spend on a ladder. Contact a nearby LeafGuard gutter installer today for an estimate.