Clean gutters to protect your siding and landscape plantings, and prevent thousands of dollars of damage to your foundation.
How often to clean gutters
Clean gutters at least once a year—twice a year if you have overhanging trees. Also, clean clogged gutters after big storms. Clogs often occur where downspouts join the gutter system—check these areas closely.
How to clean gutters
- Wear a shirt with long sleeves. Wear rubber gloves.
- Have a good extendable ladder available. Standoff stabilizers (ladder “horns”) are ideal to keep the ladder from damaging the gutter.
- Use a small plastic scoop to remove gunk. Buy a gutter scoop from the hardware store ($25) or try a child’s sand shovel.
- Spare your lawn by dumping the stuff onto a plastic tarp.
- After you’ve cleared the muck, flush the gutters and downspouts with a garden hose—also a great way to spot any leaks.
Cost of a professional gutter cleaning
If climbing ladders is not your cup of tea, you can hire someone to do the job for you for between $50 and $250, depending on the size and height of your house.
Interested in an ounce of prevention? You can slow clogging by installing gutter covers in the form of mesh screens, clip-on grates, or porous foam. However, the cost can be more than the gutters themselves and covers need regular maintenance to keep them clear. Expect to pay $6 to $8 per running foot for gutter covers, installed.
Serial remodeler Pat Curry is a former senior editor at BUILDER, the official magazine of the National Association of Home Builders, and a frequent contributor to real estate and home-building publications.