If you’re tired of cleaning your home’s gutters or maybe even have never cleaned them because you’re at a loss for how to clean them, you may ask yourself, “What does gutter cleaning include?” For that matter, you may even be wondering what is gutter cleaning anyway? And how do professionals clean gutters compared to the way you would?
These are all essential questions for homeowners because gutter cleaning is one of your home’s most important maintenance tasks and protects your home and property from water damage.
Gutters are a debris and rainwater collection system placed at the edges of your home’s roof. When gutters work correctly, they direct water runoff to downspouts so water drains safely away from the house.
But sometimes gutters get clogged with debris or water overflows the gutters, hindering their ability to function effectively.
Professional gutter cleaning involves removing debris and grime from the gutters and downspouts and inspecting their condition.
Many homeowners find hiring professional gutter cleaning companies convenient because they have the tools and training to clean your gutter system effectively. Do-it-yourselfers don’t often have the necessary tools and safety gear, so sometimes hiring a pro is less expensive and less hassle than doing it yourself.
We’ll provide practical tips for selecting a professional gutter cleaning company and discuss what to expect when you’ve hired one.
What are the Steps Involved in Gutter Cleaning?
Gutter cleaning is not a complex process, but it does require skill and attention to safety. Professionals have the training, experience, and safety gear to walk on roofs, climb ladders, and protect others on the ground.
If your gutters constantly get clogged and overflowing, consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards help keep the debris from ever entering the gutter, reducing the need for frequent cleaning.
Here are the steps a professional gutter cleaning company will typically perform:
- Set up ladders, safety gear, and tools around the worksite. Professionals receive proper training to set up ladders and other tools commonly used to clean gutters, helping them avoid injury. Gutter cleaning creates a slippery, hazardous environment, but professionals know how to manage those risks safely.
- Remove large debris from the gutters by hand or with a trowel. If the debris is thick and heavy, they will often remove most of it by hand.
- Once most of the grime and debris have been removed from the gutter, a gutter pro will flush out any small debris or dirt from the gutters with a hose or a pressure washer. Often, homes don’t have enough water pressure to push the debris, so gutter cleaning pros bring their own pressure washing equipment to be safe. Some even offer soft washing of the roof, gently removing the debris in the gutters.
- Check and clear any clogs or blockages in the downspouts with a hose or a pipe snake. Sometimes, pine cones, leaves, needles, and twigs become trapped in the downspouts and must be dislodged for the gutter system to work effectively.
- Inspect and repair any damage or leaks in the gutters or downspouts with caulk or sealant. Professionals will also inspect your gutter system and advise you on what’s causing your problem, like overhanging trees or poorly installed gutters.
- Clean up and dispose of any waste or debris. No professional gutter cleaning company should leave a mess. Any debris that lands on the roof or the ground will be collected and disposed of properly.
What are the Tools and Materials Needed for Gutter Cleaning?
To clean the gutters, professionals will need to access the gutters using ladders, remove the debris using a trowel, hose, pressure washer, or pipe snake, and collect the debris.
Here’s a list of the standard tools gutter cleaning pros will have in their truck:
- Ladders: Professionals often use two ladders and suspend a walk board between them.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Sometimes, eye protection, gloves, and a respirator are needed.
- Bucket: A bucket collects the debris and lowers it safely to the ground.
- Gutter Trowel: A shovel-like tool called a gutter trowel is used just for cleaning out gutters.
- Garden Hose: A hose supplies water for flushing the gutters.
- Pressure Washer: The pros bring a pressure washer with them in case it’s required.
- Pipe Snake: Also known as a plumber’s snake, this tool loosens impacted debris.
- Caulk/Sealant: These seal the seams on the end caps and inside or outside corners.
How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?
How often you should clean your gutters depends on the weather, the season, the kind of debris you need to remove, and the condition of your gutters.
The following is a list of factors that will influence the frequency of cleaning your gutters.
Climate and Weather Conditions
If your home is in a temperate region with many deciduous trees and conifers, your roof may experience more than average debris. Hiring a professional gutter cleaning company can save you more in repairs than the cleaning service costs.
Heavy snow and rainfall can cause your gutters to overflow, especially if driven by severe wind. Consider entering into a maintenance contract with a gutter cleaning pro that schedules regular cleaning to avoid missing a cleaning, which could damage your gutter system, home, and property.
Changing seasons and falling leaves can cause a blockage in your downspouts, leading to a gutter system overflow. This is less of a concern if you live in an arid region with little precipitation.
However, seeds, flowers, buds, and twigs can get into a gutter and clog up the downspout opening. Scheduling regular visits from a gutter cleaning company alleviates this risk and is a predictable expense you can budget for.
Type and Amount of Debris
Leaves and twigs aren’t the only things responsible for clogging gutters and downspouts. Moss, pine needles, and pine cones can block a downspout as quickly as a large leaf. The trick is to remove the debris as soon as possible instead of waiting for another weather event.
If your gutters fill up quickly with debris or have severe water overflow, clean your gutters more frequently. You may also need to get a gutter expert to inspect your gutters to ensure they are installed correctly or don’t have another problem.
Condition and Age of Your Gutters
If your gutters are in disrepair and sagging, no amount of cleaning will solve your debris or overflow problem. Gutter cleaning professionals usually repair, replace, and install gutters as well as clean them, so they can advise you if cleaning your old gutters is money well spent.
If your gutters are sagging or leaking, often the least expensive option over time is just replacing them. Enlarging the gutters and downspouts is often the best way to keep your gutter system clean, or you can install gutter guards to reduce the problem.
General Guidelines for Determining How Often to Clean Gutters
- At Least Twice Per Year: Generally, unless there is a specific problem, like overhanging tree limbs, you can get away with cleaning your gutters twice each year. Most homeowners have their gutters cleaned in the spring and again after the leaves have fallen in autumn.
- Four Times Per Year: Cleaning your gutters each quarter is the best frequency if you live in areas with frequent harsh weather. Quarterly is also best if you have problems with your roof collecting debris, like overhanging trees.
- As Needed: In addition to the regularly scheduled cleanings, inspect your gutters during a rain event and note any signs of damage, clogging, overflows, stains, and erosion. If you see any unusual ruts in the ground after heavy rain, have your gutters inspected as soon as possible to avoid soil erosion.
How to Hire a Professional Gutter Cleaning Service
Hiring a professional gutter cleaning service may be more expensive than doing it yourself, but good results are guaranteed.
Here are a few elements to look for when shopping for a gutter cleaning company you can trust:
- Experience and Reputation: Find a gutter cleaning service that has serviced homes for at least 10 years. You’ll also want to research online for customer reviews to ensure they have a good reputation in the business.
- Licensing and Insurance: Ask for copies of the company’s licensing and insurance for your state. A reputable gutter cleaning service will have both.
- Warranty and Guarantee: Only do business with a company that offers a warranty and guarantees their work and the materials they use.
- Written Cost and Estimate: Make sure the company you hire provides a well-documented and written estimate with all the details and costs of the service they will provide.
- Schedule and Availability: Hire a gutter company that is considerate of your time and flexible enough to accommodate you for your gutter cleaning. If they don’t work around your schedule, chances are, they don’t have a large enough crew.
What Does Professional Gutter Cleaning Include? Almost Everything You Need for Your Gutters
Knowing what gutter cleaning includes and what to expect from your gutter company will help reduce confusion and improve communication. Professional gutter cleaning is safe and effective and can take some stress off your shoulders.
Clean gutters will improve drainage from your roof during storms and protect your home and property from water damage.
If you suspect a drainage problem from inefficient gutters, contact All Star Home as soon as possible for a free estimate and inspection. Doing so will help you enhance the safety of your home, improve curb appeal, and minimize potentially expensive repairs.