I recently bought a house and now it's fall so I have to clean gutters. I bought a fiberglass ladder and cleaned gutters one time already, but I did not feel safe/stable at all, that was quite a scary and tiresome experience.

I understand that my other option would be to clean from roof and I need something like this: roofer kit. This seem an easier and safer option. Now, I have a couple of questions about securing the lifeline:

  1. Anchor (that's mounted with screws or nails) - can I leave it on the roof and attach to it every time I need to go on the roof, same season or may be even next year?
  2. I have two chimneys on both sides of the roof, kinda like this: ||roof|| If my lifeline is long enough (e.g. long rope ) can I wrap it around both chimneys, kinda like big oval that goes around one chimney on one side of the roof and another chimney on another side?
  3. If answer to question 2 is yes - can I leave this lifeline oval on the roof for a season or longer so that I don't have to put it every time?

Thank you!

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. No matter what method you choose, continue to trust your instincts, and if it feels scary, don't do it. Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 0:37

2 Answers 2


Do not tie off to a chimney. Ever. I've demolished chimneys by pushing on them. (And, parenthetically, the physics of what I think your proposing is exceptionally poor.)

Don't leave nylon baking in the sun under any circumstances.

I'm not a fan of permanent anchors either, though they can be done properly (i.e., safe and waterproof). The downside to them is that you have to get there unprotected to clip in.

I'd consider putting a rope over the entire roof. (Thin cord, tennis ball, tennis racket; tie thick cord to thin cord and pull; tie thick cord to something substantial on both sides of the house. If you choose to tie off to a vehicle, tie a bight around the steering wheel as a reminder.)

Among the benefits of the 'cord over the roof' approach is that you'll have protection as you climb the ladder. Just be sure you know when and how to switch the direction of the rope grab. (Hint: alpine butterfly knot at the ridge and a second tether for when you make the switch.)

Get training on how to self rescue if you slip off the edge and are left dangling. Or at least have a phone tethered to you.

I'm a big fan of protected ropework, but you need to understand the entire system.

  • Can you clarify what you mean by "Just be sure you know when and how to switch the direction of the rope grab" ? You give a hint but seems like a more complete explanation would be of use. Also what do you mean by "tie a bight around the steering wheel" is that a typo? Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 21:48

The ladder is in my opinion the safest, but like you mentioned tiresome moving it around the house. If you don't feel safe on the ladder or up on the roof, no amount of safety equipment will make it better. This is probably one of those jobs best hired out. The various U shaped adapters for a hose or blower do not allow you to see if the gutters are truly cleaned requiring you to go up on the ladder, not to mention you are standing underneath all the leaves and gunk blowing down as you clean.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.