Korkers and Ropes for Gutter Cleaning

You experienced gutter cleaners out there can help me out I’m sure. I heard someone on here talk about Korkers shoes or something like that that are made for roof walking. Can anyone tell me the exact kind of Korkers I would need? Also, do most of you guys use ropes when climbing steep roofs. I’ve seen videos where one guy stands on one side of the roof and holds a rope for the other guy going down the other side. What specific kind of equipment do I need for this? Or, if anyone has a better idea to SAFELY walk on roofs I would appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

I believe Larry uses the Korkers, there are several different soles for different types of roofing, from what I remember they have some that are interchangeable to your different needs.

I know a competitors site which sell them, but I actually read the WCR rules and they request we don’t talk about them. I WOULDN’T BUY THESE, but it gives you an idea of what they look like

Korkers K-5000 Buckled Fishing Sandals

Clearly you don’t wear spikes on comp or metal roofs, but they work "good’ for wood/cedar roofs.

As for ropes and harnesses. Home Depot carries a basic set up for $99. Yeah it would suck to fall off a roof and have that harness catch you but I think it would suck to fall off wear a $300+ harness. It would be much safer to attach the harness to an anchor on the roof than have a guy hold the rope.

I did roofing for over 20 years… a good pair of softer soled reeboks work well. I still clean gutters from the roof at times and these are the sneakers I use.

I’ve also read that Tiger Paws are good. That’s what I’d buy if I were to spend the money.

I use the korkers on cedar roofs when they are wet. Even a few drops. Here in the northwest, a wet cedar shake or shingle is like ice, you’ll go down in a flash. Yes you will leave holes in the roof, yes customers may not like it. I give them the option of returning on a dry day or wearing the shoes. There are times when wearing them is the only option.

If I were to purchase a rope and harness system to roof walk a little safer, where would I secure the ropes to the roof or any other structure?

Don’t know about MO, but in WA ST any structure built after 1995 is required to have a anchor. Often times they are covered by black plactic caps. We clamp our rope/harness into those. Once I have used a chimney.

Really. I had no idea roofs had anchors on them. I’ll have to check that out.

if you’re going to get on a cedar roof. Get spiked Korkers. Wear them no matter what. Even whe cedar is dry, the condition and pitch of the cedar shake roof can be slick or even brittle, in that case use extream caution. PM me, we can run down a list of rope and equipment you’ll need. Sneakers with a soft rubber sole work great on comp. roofs.

OSHA has a good manual on their site. Don’t have the link anymore sorry. But when I read it, it was very helpful. The arching is the problem. If you tie off to one end of the home and walk to the other side and fall. You may still not be protected as the rope would be long enough to allow you to hit the ground. The manual showed some pretty interesting rigs for roofing to include some triangle style rigs, where as one end of the rope is tied to one side of the house and the other to the other side. You would then tie a rope to this line and it would allow you to walk left to right, right to left with the rope length remaining the same. So if you were to fall you would be protected. Hope that makes some sence. I pass on these jobs as they are not worth the headache and risk of potentially dieing or being in a wheel chair. Anything over 1 story homes now is passed on to another company. You can’t trust chimineys or anything sticking out of the roof to tie off on. You don’t know if it’s really strong enough because if you fall the stress that is created at the end of the fall on the chimney etc would be much greater then you can do with a pull test. You can tie off to a tree or truck on the other side of the house, which is how I do it on 1 story homes. But still it’s becoming a PITA and not worth the money anymore. I keep telling myself I’m going to get a or make a gutter vac but I never get around to doing it.

BTW I have the korkers also and don’t really like the ones I have. You have to tie them to your boots and they never really feel secure to me. I would prefer to wear climbing shoes or skate boarding sneakers.

While we wear them almost daily I will admit Korkers can be hazardous. While it has only happened once that I can remember, they can fall off due to any number of circumstances. There are boots you can purchase which are much safer but they are $150 and up and take more time to put on/off. Additionally you can purchase boots/shoes have have the spikes put on them. I think that would be the safest way to go…yet I still wear korkers.

Would you guys suggest Korkers with the rubber soles for asphalt roofs over just standard running/tennis shoes?

Just a soft rubber shoe will be fine. its the pitch and condition of the roof you need pay extra attention to. Really you should have a safety line with you no matter what. I know, it’s not practical on low pitched roofs. I’m guilty of it. But accidents happen anytime , anywhere. A preplan of your task is good to have too.
Do a walk around, take note of hazards, pitch & condition of roof, anchor points (natural or engineered) things like that.

look into getting some COUGARPAWS. recently purchased some and they’re a bit expensive but worth every doller. i use them for roof cleaning but have to admit that they dont work at a 100% when wet. should’nt be that much of an issue for you since you need them for gutter cleaning though.

You can obtain korkers from a roofing supply store. *** roofing supply is one of the larger ones. They have velcro bottoms that allow you to switch between the metal spiked pads for cedar roofs of the rubber sole for metal roofs. For metal or tile, I have found that cheap rubber boots work phenomenally well where as on composite roofs, plain sneakers with a good sole works best.

As for tying off, OSHA, in Oregon, says that your tie off point must be able to support 5000 lbs and you must tie off above 10’. So you can have a harness (I will be purchasing a tree climbing harness) with a rope tied to a tree or something down below that will support that weight. It is not recommended that you tie off to your vehicle unless you hold the keys as an employee may start the vehicle and drive off with you attached (the OSHA rep told me that has actually happened). Your other option is to use a fall arrest system with a lanyard and a roof anchor. You can buy these from Home Depot, most lumber yards, or maybe even an equipment rental store. I prefer these but if there is no roof anchor already installed you have to install one. There are portables and permanents. Basically, if the house does not have a roof anchor it’s a pain in the butt to try and accomplish any gutter cleaning from the roof. Do what you can with a ladder.