We spend so much time trying to keep our minds out of the gutters that by the time we actually check them, they’re filled with all sorts of gunk – leaves, mud, old Frisbees and even worse! Because of the effort it takes to prepare for this task, most people opt to do this only once a season at most. That’s fine, but it does mean that it can become a much bigger job to get your gutters into proper function again. See how to DIY and take care of it today:
SIMPLE AND COST EFFICIENT WAYS TO CLEAN GUTTERS
- Low amount of debris in gutter system
- Low, fairly flat roof for easy access
- Access to garden hose
MEDIUM ROOM DIFFICULTY
- 2-story home
- Places on roof where ladder cannot reach or stabilize
- Gutters filled with debris, like leaves, sticks and more
- 3-story or taller home
- Deep angle roof that’s difficult to stand on
- Places on roof where ladder cannot reach
- Gutters caked with hardened mud
- No hose available
Step-by-step guide to clean gutters
Choose your day wiselyLike all outdoor projects, the ability to complete them depends on the weather. This is especially crucial with gutters, because they are there to take the brunt of rain and more intense weather – if they are in use while you’re trying to clean them, it will be slow work. Also, you will be on ladders and your roof a fair amount of time. Wet conditions make it easy to fall and hurt yourself. Make sure the day is dry – the sun isn’t required.
Secure your ladderThe safest way to clean gutters, regardless of how flat your roof is, is to work from a few rungs down on a sturdy, extendable ladder. To avoid damaging your walls or your gutter, secure it with a standoff ladder stabilizer. It distributes the weight evenly into two small, manageable points for your home, keeps it secure, and avoids pressing the bulk of the ladder into the walls.
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Clean the downspoutsMake sure the opening to the downspouts and their general exit points are free of clogs and debris. You’ll want it to be a smooth open area where everything can flow out as you work.
Remove large debrisClimb up the ladder to the gutter proper. Begin by removing any large sediment, like leaves, branches and twigs, as well as objects like baseballs or whatever else has ended up there. Anything that can’t be pulled out by hand can be loosened with a trowel – just be careful not to scratch the sides too much. Toss the debris down to a plastic tarp or bucket as you prefer.
Flush the guttersBring your hose up the ladder and spray into the gutter system, starting at the top of the downspouts. This should force finer material and dirt through the spout. If the water doesn’t drain at the bottom, you have a clog. In that case, remove the downspout and on the ground, feed the hose up from the bottom entrance and use high pressure sprays to try removing the clog. If it persists, use a plumber’s snake tool to clear it. Afterwards, reattach the downspout.
Clean the rest of the systemWith a clear downspout, you can now spray on a lower-pressure setting throughout the system, moving dirt and small debris through and flushing everything out. Anything that is stuck afterwards should be scrubbed out to prevent it from building up again.
Check for and perform needed repairsDuring this process, you might have noticed issues with your gutters. Check that the gutter slopes about a quarter inch every 10 feet toward your downspout, to prevent flooding and standing water – this could cause it eventually to weigh down further. If hangers have fallen off, replace them with new ones – just follow instructions from gutter hanger manufacturers to screw them in. If you found leaks in the gutter, a simple application of gutter sealant at the seams will keep everything flowing smoothly.
Optional: Paint jobIf it’s been a year since the last time you cleaned your gutters, you might find that they’re looking a bit worse for wear. Since you’ve already gone through the effort, touch up paint to cover now-noticeable blemishes can keep your house looking fresher than every other one on the block.
Clean the exit area near the down spoutThere should be a larger amount of water and debris at the end of your downspout since you cleared it all at once. Clean the area to bring the project to a close.
Estimated Time4 hours
- Extendable ladder
- Ladder stabilizers
- Plastic scoop
- Plastic tarp
- Garden hose
- Gutter sealant
Common projects and their price
At Pro.com, we’ve helped thousands of people complete their gutter projects. We’ve got a pretty good idea of how much certain parts of the project should cost. Check out the most common projects we’ve seen people do, and the average cost to complete them nationwide.
Cleaning gutters on an average house
$181 - $205
Replacing gutter system
$1,320 - $1,460
Repairing water damage from rain overflow
$155 - $170