Should You Walk on Your Roof to Clean Your Gutters?

Should You Walk on Your Roof to Clean Your Gutters?

Cleaning accumulated debris out of your gutters is an essential maintenance task for your home. But is walking around on your roof to access and clean your Should You Walk on Your Roof to Clean Your Gutters? gutters safe or recommended? There are some factors to consider when determining the best method to clean your gutters.

Dangers of Cleaning Gutters from the Roof

Here are some of the risks involved with accessing gutters by walking on your roof:


The steep pitch and smooth surface of most roofs makes falling a real danger. Falls from roofs can result in severe injury or death.

Damage to Roof

Walking around on your roof can damage shingles, especially older or delicate materials like wood shakes. Damage leads to future leaks.

Lack of Visibility

It’s difficult to see what you’re doing while crouched on Should You Walk on Your Roof to Clean Your Gutters? an angled roof surface. Lack of visibility increases the chances of clogged areas being missed.

Electrical Hazard from Wet Surfaces

If the roof surface is wet from rain or dew, you could get electrocuted by coming into contact with overhanging power lines.

Limited Mobility

Trying to scoop and clean gutters while balancing on a roof is challenging and limits your movement and ability to apply cleaning techniques.

How can GUTTERS cause the destruction of your home?

If gutters aren’t regularly cleaned, there could be damage such as:


Water that is leaking from the gutters and then down the exterior walls of the home may cause wood to decay. The wood at the roof (soffit or fascia) could begin to decay and be spread to the roof or attic.


If water seeps out of the gutters, and down the sides of your house this can cause foundation damage because it spills onto the ground next to the home and then eventually the foundation of your concrete.


If the rainwater does not pass through the gutter as it is blocked by foliage and other particles it may spill over into the ground below and get into the lower levels or basement of a home, causing humidity within the. The excessive moisture could cause water damage, black mold and even mildew smells, as well as basement flooding which can cause significant damages to your home.


When the gutters are overflowing to let water out, that water may pool at the roof’s edge which can lead to decay of the wood as well as water seeping into the roof and down into the house below. In the winter months snow and ice could accumulate on roofs which can cause Should You Walk on Your Roof to Clean Your Gutters? damage to the roof that could be costly to fix. The ice buildup can leaks into the attic, and roof leaks could result in mold growth in the attic and on the walls of the house — eventually causing significant damages to the house.

OSHA Stance on Roof Work

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires certain safety precautions for roof work in order to prevent falls. Homeowners should adhere to similar precautions even without being legally obligated:

  • Wear slip-resistant shoes
  • Use a fall restraint system like guardrails or safety nets
  • Utilize a full body harness as fall protection
  • Have someone monitor the work being done

Given the inherent risks of roof work, OSHA would likely consider cleaning gutters from the roof inadvisable for homeowners. Using one of the safer methods outlined below is more aligned with OSHA fall prevention guidance.

When is Roof Access Acceptable?

There are a few scenarios where getting on the roof to access gutters may be suitable:

  • Cleaning out a few small areas of debris that can’t be reached otherwise
  • The roof is low sloped or mostly flat rather than steeply pitched
  • Using proper fall arrest equipment like harnesses and restraints
  • Having extensive roofing experience and training
  • Areas where other access methods aren’t possible

But even in these situations, other safer options should be considered if possible before stepping out onto the roof.

Safer Alternative Methods of Accessing Gutters

Here are some other techniques for reaching and cleaning gutters without walking on the roof:

Use an Extension Pole

A gutter cleaning pole with a scooping tool on the end can be used from a ladder or the ground to scrape out debris in most situations.

Rent a Telescoping Lift

For high roofs, a powered telescoping lift or cherry picker provides safe access to gutters from an elevated work platform.

Install Gutter Screens

Gutter screens fitting over the gutters minimize debris accumulation so cleaning is needed less often.

Hire a Professional

A professional gutter cleaning company has the right equipment and training to safely access and clean gutters from ladders.

Pros of Walking onto Your Roof to wash your Gutters

One of the major benefits of stepping on the roof of your home to clear your gutters provides you a clear glimpse of your drains. This lets you get rid of obstructions and Should You Walk on Your Roof to Clean Your Gutters? debris more quickly. This will help keep your gutters clear and operating correctly, which will help avoid flooding and other issues.

Cons of Walking onto Your Roof to wash your Gutters

There are possible negatives of climbing up onto your rooftop to wash your gutters. One of the biggest issues is security. Roofs are often slippery, particularly Should You Walk on Your Roof to Clean Your Gutters? when they’re wet. Consequently, it’s easy to lose feet and slide off. This could result in serious injuries, and in some instances, even death.

Key Takeaways – Roof Cleaning Dangers and Precautions

  • Walking on the roof to access gutters carries substantial risk of falls and injury.
  • Potential damage to roofing materials also makes roof access inadvisable.
  • OSHA mandates fall protection equipment for professional roof work indicating the inherent dangers.
  • While possible in limited cases, roof access should only be a last resort when safer options aren’t feasible.
  • Extension poles, lifts, gutter screens, and hiring a pro offer ways to clean gutters without walking on the roof.


Before stepping out onto the roof to clean debris from your home’s gutters, consider the hazards involved and if an alternative method could Should You Walk on Your Roof to Clean Your Gutters? get the job done. In most situations, the risk of slips, falls, and damage make roof walking ill-advised. Using the proper tools and equipment to access gutters from ladders, lifts or the ground can allow you to properly maintain your gutters safely.

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