14 Brilliant Tips and Tricks for Cleaning, Fixing and Repurposing Gutters

Updated: Mar. 13, 2024

Whether it's gutter maintenance or giving old ones a new life, you'll definitely want to check out these clever tips.

using gutters to catch sawdust in a workshop
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Roof Gutter Tool Trays

Here are a couple of clever ways to use leftover gutter parts: Build small bins with the scrap gutter lengths, end caps and corner pieces.

Mount the bins to a wall or workbench edge to hold parts and tools or serve as a dustbin. Or screw downspout sections to a board and mount it on the wall to store wood dowels, bar stock and other long, thin items.

Garden Shelves

Lengths of gutters leftover from an installation project can be cut and mounted on a fence or wall as planter shelves. These narrow planters are perfect for growing seedlings, lettuce and other small plants.

Splashblock Anchor 14 Brilliant Tips And Tricks For Cleaning Fixing And Repurposing Gutters
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Splashblock Anchor

Do those plastic downspout splashblocks tend to wander away from the foundation of your house, allowing water to seep into the basement? To prevent this, drill two holes through the hefty corners of the plastic at the back end. To anchor it, drive two large spikes through the holes into the ground. — Joseph Perrone.

close up of gutter protectors
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Gutter Protector

Do you manage to cave in your gutters every time you lean a ladder against them? Then try this:

In the areas where you’ll place your ladder, drill two 3/16-in. holes and drive two 7-in. galvanized spikes with 5-in. ferrules into the gutters behind where each leg rests. The ferrules will support the weight of the ladder instead of the gutter. Most home centers sell standard gutter spikes and ferrules. — Randy Lucas.

gutters inside a tool bag for organizing tools
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Supplies Storage

Cut your cheap gutters into short sections, about six inches long, then stack and bind these sections so you have several rows of openings. Store these gutter storage slots in a work bag for quick access, or mount them on a table. It’s a great DIY project for hobbyists with supplies that are tough to store and organize.

diy shelving using gutters
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Gutter Shelving

Vinyl rain gutters make great storage shelves for long, thin items such as molding, light lumber, pipe and certain tools. Simply screw the wraparound support bracket to each wall stud and snap the gutter in place.

Gutter Straightener 14 Brilliant Tips And Tricks For Cleaning Fixing And Repurposing Gutters
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Gutter Straightener

Ice coming off the roof can bend the spikes that secure gutters to the soffit fascia. To straighten the spikes without removing them or the gutters, use a two-foot length of angle iron and a heavy metal chain link with the center section cut out of one side.

Working from a ladder (be careful!), you’ll find that the angle iron and chain link provide easy leverage to straighten out the spike and get the gutters back in alignment.

man cleaning leaves out of gutter with paint roller
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Gutter Cleaner

Clean your one-story-high gutters right from the ground with an old paint roller on an extension handle. It’s angled just right to push leaves and debris out quickly and easily. — Lee Sens.

rope inside a gutter
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Annoying Drips

Is the sound of dripping in your downspouts driving you mad? Eliminate the problem by tying a rope onto one of the gutter hangers and running it down into the downspout. Drops of water will cling to the rope instead of plummeting the whole length of the downspout.

Adding a rope does restrict water flow, so think twice if your gutter tends to overflow or if your downspout clogs with twigs and leaves. Choose a rope made of a synthetic like nylon; one made from natural fibers will rot away.

man checking gutters from the ground using a long pole with a mirror at the end
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Gutter Inspector

Time to clean the gutters? You don’t need a ladder to find out. Attach a hand mirror to the end of a PVC pipe. Cut the pipe at a 60-degree angle so the mirror reflects an inside view of the gutter. Here’s how to install gutters.

Gutter Cleaner 14 Brilliant Tips And Tricks For Cleaning Fixing And Repurposing Gutters
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Gutter Cleaner

This gutter cleaner takes about 10 minutes to make and will save you time and ladder climbing. Use 3/4-in. PVC pipe, two elbows, a garden hose coupling and a cap.

Drill four 1/16-in. holes in the cap as shown. Make the handle as long as you need to comfortably reach your gutters, and cement the parts together.

using a caulking tube to scoop out leaves in a gutter
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Caulking-Tube Scoop

An empty caulking tube cut in half at a 45-degree angle makes a handy scoop with a comfortable handle. It’s exactly the right size for cleaning gutters. — Jim Feldner.

man cleaning out gutter downspout with a plumbing snake
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Clear Out Clogged Leaves

Your plumber’s snake is a great tool for pulling clumps of wet leaves out of clogged downspouts.

close up of a hinge on a gutter downspout
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Downspout in the Way

Are you tired of removing your downspouts every time you mow? Consider installing a hinge where the lowest elbow meets the section of downspout that runs into your yard.

Install it easily: Just cut the downspout at a 45-degree angle with a tin snips or metal-cutting blade, and then fasten a two-piece zip hinge with eight sheet-metal screws. The hinges come in white only, so you might have to spray paint them to match.