Cleaning Gutters Doesn’t Have to Be Gut-Wrenching. Here’s a Step-by-Step Guide

by Meghan Stiltner
Cleaning Gutters During The Summer

Cleaning Your Gutters at a Glance

  • Tools and materials: Ladder, bucket, scoop or trowel, hose, gloves, silicone sealant
  • Step 1: Climb to roof
  • Step 2: Remove debris from downspout
  • Step 3: Remove debris from gutters
  • Step 4: Flush with hose
  • Step 5: Check for and repair leaks

Have your gutters seen better days? It can be a dreaded task to clean them out — climbing up on the ladder or the roof, pulling out all the tools, getting leaves and who knows what else all over you... But it’s important to keep your gutters clean. Clogged gutters lead to damage that requires expensive repairs.

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Here are some helpful tips to get the job done and knock it off your chore list.

What’s the Best Way to Clean Your Gutters?

The best way to clean your gutters is to climb up to the roof of your house. This way, you can get a better visual of what has gotten trapped in your gutters. Then, you can clean it out thoroughly. If the debris is dry, blow it out with a leaf blower. If there’s a bunch of wet gunk, you may need to spray it out with water or remove it with a scoop.

You can also find kits for extension hoses that fit on air compressors or pressure washers and use these tools to clean your gutters.

What Tools Will I Need?

If you’re going to clean your gutters on your own, you’re going to need a few tools. Here are some helpful gutter-cleaning tools:

  • Ladder with extension
  • Bucket or trash bags
  • Gutter scoop or garden trowel
  • Work gloves
  • Garden hose
  • Silicone
  • Optional: Pressure washer or air compressor

How to Clean Your Gutters

  1. Gather all the supplies you are going to need before you get on the roof. That way, you won’t have to climb back down because you forgot something. Make sure you place your ladder in a level location. Recruit someone to help you or at least keep tabs on you while you’re on the roof.
  2. Clean the downspout drain first so water can run freely when you flush the gutters. Then, work your way around your house. Remove the leaves, twigs and dirt with your hands and put the debris in a bucket or trash bag.
  3. Go back in with a trowel or a scoop to remove anything you couldn’t get out by hand. Depending on how long it’s been in there, debris can become compact and may require a little more leverage to release.
  4. Flush the gutters with the hose, rinsing out any loose particles. Check the downspout to make sure everything came out and that there are no blockages.
  5. Check your gutters for any problem areas. Look for spots that seem to need reinforcing or repairs. You can apply silicone sealants to any areas that look like they may be leaking.

How Much Does It Cost to Pay Someone to Clean Your Gutters?

Did you read the list of instructions and decide the task is too tedious? You’re not alone. Not everyone has the time or tools to clean their own gutters.

Luckily, professional gutter-cleaning services aren’t inordinately expensive. The cost of a professional can vary depending on the size of your home and how easy your gutters are to access. Expect to spend anywhere from $100 to $300.

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What Happens When You Don't Clean Out Your Gutters?

Removing leaves and debris from the gutters is an important task. You can find yourself with major water damage to the siding or even the foundation if you ignore gutter cleaning. When water leaks out behind the siding, mold and mildew may occur. This is an expensive problem to rectify. If you neglect your gutters, your basement may flood. This is another area prone to mold and mildew.

How Often Do I Need to Clean the Gutters?

According to My Gutter Pro, you should clean your gutters at least twice a year — once at the end of spring and once at the end of fall. After spring, you can clean out seeds like those annoying maple tree “helicopters.” Then when all the leaves have fallen, you’ll want to make sure they’re not causing a blockage in your gutters.

The number of times you need to clean your gutters throughout the year depends on where you live. Do you live somewhere that experiences a lot of storms? Do you have a lot of trees near your home? If so, you may need to clean your gutters more often than normal. It’s also a good idea to make sure your gutters are clear after a severe weather event. After a big storm comes through, flush the gutters and downspouts.

What Is a Gutter Guard?

If you live near a lot of trees, or if you have regular storms, you might benefit from a product called a gutter guard. This is a metal grate that fits over your gutters to filter and catch leaves, twigs and other debris. Basically, it’s like a safety net for preventing clogs. It attaches directly to your shingles and gutters. The grate is designed to be just the right size to keep objects out but still let rainwater flow freely.

Since we’re all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.