How Much Does it Cost to Clean Gutters & Downspouts?
Gutters and downspouts are solely responsible for removing potentially problematic excess rainwater from your roof and away from the home itself. Without a functioning gutter, costly leaks or flooding could result. To keep gutters and downspouts working properly, they must be checked for clogs and cleaned out on a regular basis.
National Clean Gutters & Downspouts Costs
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The cost of cleaning out the gutters of a home depends on three main factors: the type of gutters, size of the area and the height of the roof that the gutter is attached to. There is usually no material cost involved, so it will amount to the cost of labor involved to complete the job. Most handymen and contractors will give free estimates, so you can compare costs.
Certain types of gutters are are much less accessible to clean than others. While most gutters are very straightforward and require nothing more than easy labor, more expensive gutters have covers over them to curb clogging as a whole. Labor costs can go up significantly when there are covers involved that must be removed and replaced in addition to the cleaning service. If these covers break during the cleaning process, they must be replaced.
Another variable that can dramatically increase the price of having your gutters cleaned is the height of your roof. If your home has high roofs, a roofing specialist may be required to complete the service, which will increase labor costs significantly. Every contractor will take the height of the roof into consideration when figuring the price. Because of working on ladders, cleaning gutters that are extremely high up poses a risk and is more time-consuming to complete.
If you've decided to hire out to have your gutters cleaned, you need to decide which option is right for you. For regular gutters, hiring a handyman is the least expensive option and still have the job done right. For more extensive work, many general contractors can complete the task, although this will cost more as the laborer is more skilled. If you have gutter guards or a similar product, hiring a contractor may be your best option. If you have an exceptionally high roof, it may be necessary to call a roofing specialist to reach the highest parts of the roof effectively.
Although having your gutters cleaned can be an inexpensive bit of maintenance, in certain cases it can be made more complicated by your type of gutter and the height of your roof.
DIY Gutter Cleaning
Now firmly into the fall season, a homeowner chore you can’t ignore is gutter cleaning. Whether you see it or not, leaves and dirt are starting to pile up and failing to remove these natural elements can ruin your home’s foundation, damage your roof or even cause a leak in your home. While getting up on a ladder may not be desirable for some, it is that time of the year for homeowners to grab their gutter cleaning tools and ensure their homes are prepared for the winter ahead.
Whether you have the standard rain gutter or the more popular Seamless gutter, the following steps should be taken every spring and fall season. Learning how to clean your gutters is not rocket science, but a friendly step-by-step process can never be undervalued. If you are physically unable to perform any of the subsequent tasks, consider hiring a professional in your area. As always, if you think we missed a step, let us know in the comments section below.
Preparation & Materials
Before you make your way up that ladder, you need to prepare and make sure you have the necessary gutter supplies to the complete the job correctly. Believe it or not, there is an opportune time to clean your gutters. According to Lowes, you should clean your gutters a few days after it rains. This way, the leaves, debris, twigs and so on will be somewhat damp and easier to remove as opposed to when all is dry and hard. As a general safety concern, we would also recommend cleaning your gutters on a dry day to avoid slippage on the ladder.
In order to effectively clean your gutters, you should have most, if not all, of the following materials; ladder, gloves, hose, bucket, towel, gutter scoop, a leaf blower and a sidekick to hold the ladder for safety. Not having one or two of the items will not vastly delay your gutter cleaning, but as is the case with any home improvement project, it is better to be overprepared than not.
Place your ladder on level ground, preferably with your helper holding it down for extra safety. We would recommend starting near the downspout area, as this is usually where leaves and debris like to pile up. If you have a leaf blower, try this tactic first. However, we realize most homeowners will not have this gutter-cleaning tool, so we’ll assume for this article that no leaf blower is available. With your bucket, towel and gutter scoop in hand, head up the ladder (the bucket should free up your hands). Start by clearing all the leaves and physical debris in this area. Place everything in the handy bucket you carried up as opposed to throwing on the ground (save some time raking leaves). As you are doing so, make sure you are checking for holes, leaks or signs that the gutter is pulling away from the roof. You won’t be able to fix everything in one visit, but you can mark these sections with a permanent marker or any other obvious sign you will easily be able to find at a later date. These signals will alert to come back to this area and fix the gutter with the proper tools.
After attacking the downspout, move your way up the gutter. Remember, you are not Stretch Armstrong. Rather than being lazy and risking your safety, head down the ladder and take the time to move it a couple of inches as time. The added energy may be a hassle, but as you clean your gutters, it wont hurt to get a workout in as well.
After you have cleared out all the leaves and other debris from your entire gutter, make sure you test the route to make sure everything is flowing smoothly. You do not need to wait for rain to test. Just take your hose and have it run at half speed for at least three minutes. If there are any leaks, buildups or overflowing, make sure you mark those spaces for future maintenance.
Protective gutter guards and leaf screens are somewhat debated in the industry, but they have been shown to prevent leaves and debris buildup in multiple gutter arrangements. Like many home improvement materials, there are multiple versions to choose from. Our friends at Lowes highlight each one here and below.
- Solid Gutter Cover
- Hinged Gutter Cover
- Snap-In Filter Gutter Guard
- 6"x20' Plastic Gutter Guard
- 3" Downspout Strainer Aluminum
Last updated on May 12, 2016
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