Avoid Expensive Repairs With These 5 Gutter Cleaning Tips

As of 2019, gutter replacement cost ranges from $600 to $1,800 for a 200-foot gutter if you are taking on the project yourself. The price can skyrocket to more than $2,000 if you call in the pros to do the job for you. Indeed, gutter replacement or a major repair can put a significant dent in your budget. Especially if your home’s gutter system gave out unexpectedly. Instead, take advantage of these gutter cleaning tips.

Photo of a corner of a roof with old copper gutters
Gutters come in a couple of primary varieties. These copper gutters are more costly but also more beautiful.

Depending on the type of material and construction of your home’s gutter system, it should last anywhere from 10 to more than 50 years. You can even extend the rated lifespan of your gutters with regular maintenance work that you can take on yourself. A major part of the maintenance requirements of roof gutters involves cleaning, which does wonders to help you avoid premature gutter repair. Here are five gutter cleaning tips to help keep your gutters in tip-top shape.

1. Consider Professional Help

Although there are systems being sold that allow you to clean your gutters from the ground, nothing beats getting up there on a ladder and clearing away leaves, dirt, and debris from your gutters.

If you are not too fond of heights, consider hiring professional gutter cleaners to do the job for you. While such services will come at a cost, it is still more affordable than having to replace your gutters. It’s also a better choice than falling off a ladder.

2. Invest in Specialized Tools

Photo of a tile roof with gutters
Properly functioning gutters will extend the life of your home’s foundation.

There are difficult home improvement projects and there are easy ones. Having the right tools make all of them easier. This is true when it comes to cleaning your gutters. Without the right ladder, you can damage your gutters if you rest your ladder directly on them.

You can purchase stabilizers and platforms for your ladder to keep it from touching the gutter. Motorized wands, sweepers, and lightweight pressure washers can also help you do a better job of clearing away gunk and dirt that may otherwise cake up on your gutters.

3. Clean Thoroughly

Your hands are your best tools for the job, so it will be a good idea to get yourself a great pair of gloves. Use your hands to dig through the pile of leaves and gunk that has accumulated on your gutters. You may also use a trowel or a garden fork to loosen up the pile. Start cleaning from one end and work your way toward the other end. Nitrile gloves are excellent options for people who are allergic to latex. Besides, nitrile gloves have superior puncture resistance compared to latex gloves, and nitrile offers good chemical and abrasive too, making it suitable for many uses. 

Once you have cleared away the larger debris that can be picked up by hand, you can start using your specialized tools such as pressure washers and motorized brush to clear away fine dust and dirt. If you don’t have any of these tools, you may use your regular garden hose. As you run water on your gutters, check if the water is running freely along with it and out the downspout. If there is any standing water left in the gutter after you turn off the hose, readjust the decline to let the water run more freely toward the downspout.

4. Consider Using Leaf Gutter Guards

Photo of a gutter with non-functioning gutter guards
Not all gutter guards are created equal. Some will need routine inspection and maintenance. One of the best gutter cleaning tips is to put the cleaning on your yearly calendar so you don’t forget to do it.

Leaf gutter guards and shields can help immensely in keeping leaves and debris from entering your gutters. While gutter guards will not totally eliminate the need for you to get up there to do manual cleaning, they will make the task far easier. Keep in mind, there are many models, so evaluate their reviews and costs to make the best decision.

5. Repair After Cleaning

As you clean along the gutter line, check for sections that may have loosened up or hangers that have broken off. You can tighten up the loosened parts and replace broken hangers and brackets. Check if there are any corroded sections along the gutter and replace them as soon as you can.

If you see any major damage to your gutter system, ask a professional for advice on how to proceed. You can still save a little if the repair will only require certain sections to be replaced.