Gutter cleaning

Guttering is one of the most important mechanisms your home has to protect against rainwater and other harsh weather conditions. Therefore it’s extremely beneficial to carry out gutter cleaning at least twice per year to prevent blockages and animal nesting.

Regular gutter cleaning is affordable for most people and can save you a lot of money in the long run.

What does gutter cleaning involve?

Most professional gutter specialists use a five-step process when cleaning gutters. The idea is to remove the materials that are blocking your gutter before cleaning and removing any access waste. Here’s what you can expect to happen in detail when you get your gutter cleaned:

1) Remove debris

Cleaning your gutter will start by removing any obvious build-up of debris by hand. This process will also help the professional gutter specialist become aware of any further issues with your guttering that may be hidden by twigs and leaves. Debris that is removed from your gutter will be safely stored away.

clearing leaves from guttering

2) Utilise a leaf blower

Once the main parts of the debris are cleared, the gutter specialist will normally employ the help of a leaf blower to move any stubborn leftover waste. This will ensure that your gutter is completely clear of obstructions and won’t need another gutter clean for at least six months.

3) Spray with a garden hose

Now the gutter is clear, time for the cleaning! The gutter specialist will likely apply a cleaning product before either using a scrub or garden hose to wash the gutter down. This gives the job the best finish possible.

spraying gutters clean

4) Test each downspout

The downspout is the part of the gutter that the water runs down to get to the drain as the base of your home. By testing it, the tradesperson will be able to access whether any part of the gutter need further cleaning or the job is complete. If you’ve been dealing with issues such as a blocked downpipe or overflowing gutter, this procedure will ensure that the problem has been resolved.

5) Remove any waste

Lastly, the professional gutter specialist will tidy any waste that has been removed from your gutter. This is so you’re not left to deal with a pile of twigs, leaves or other materials which will make your home look untidy. There’s normally a small additional cost of between £20-40 to take any substantial waste away, which will be agreed upon before the work begins.

The importance of cleaning gutters regularly

As your home’s first line of defence against rainwater, it’s extremely important that you keep your gutter in the best condition possible. This involves getting it regularly cleaned to prevent blockages and pests nesting in the piping. A gutter in good order offers many practical and financial benefits, such as:

Keeps your roof in good condition

A well-maintained gutter will prevent any debris from making its way into your roof and cause frustrating and costly structural damage. This also could greatly impact the value of your home if you planned to sell it in the near future.

Futureproofs your home

By cleaning your gutter regularly, you’re greatly extending its lifespan. This means that you’re unlikely to face a costly bill to repair or replace your guttering in the future. A healthy gutter also means that other parts of your home, such as the brickwork, benefit from the best protection possible.

Increases curb appeal

Quite simply, having a well-maintained gutter improves the appearance of your home. This is not only beneficial if you’re looking to move house but helps you win bragging rights among your neighbours. Guttering perhaps needs the most maintenance of any other home exterior feature, so a well-maintained one never goes unnoticed.

Needs less maintenance

This might sound counter-intuitive, but it’s really not! By maintaining your gutter regularly, it will minimise the overall level of maintenance you need to carry out in the long run.

Protects against water damage

Perhaps the most important benefit that a gutter in good condition offers is protection against water damage. Water can cause a variety of issues, such as unsightly leaks, mould, and rust. Carrying out regular gutter maintenance will prevent this from happening.

Now you know the advantages of cleaning your gutter, what are the symptoms to look out for that show your gutters are in bad condition and need attention?

How to tell if your gutters need professional cleaning

It’s extremely important to keep a lookout for signs that your gutter may need cleaning. On average, it’s best to get it cleaned twice per year to guard against damage such as blocked downpipes or overflowing gutters. Here are eight signs that it might be time for a professional gutter cleaning:

  1. Damaged brickwork: If you notice that the bricks surrounding your guttering have been damaged, this is a sign that there is a blockage somewhere along the line. This causes water and other substances passing through the gutter to rise and overflow onto the bricks, causing damage.
  2. Debris: If you allow your gutter to collect an increasing number of twigs and leaves due to poor maintenance, then it can cause more severe issues in the long run. Scan the top of the gutter for evidence of debris and schedule a gutter cleaning if you see any build-up.
  3. Evidence of pests: Your gutter can be an attractive place for animals such as birds, ants, and bees. Unfortunately, they also cause blockages to occur which could lead to water ingress into your home.
  4. Plant growth: Any kind of growth, whether it be plants, moss or mould is a certain sign that it’s time for a gutter cleaning. The growth of a plant is evidence that it’s been some time since the last gutter cleaning was carried out. Plant growth can also lead to blockages in the piping.
  5. Sagging: The weight of your guttering can increase due to the build-up of debris which increases over time without a proper gutter cleaning. The increasing weight can lead to your gutter breaking away from its brackets and sagging.
  6. Stains: If your gutter is poorly maintained, water can splash up and cause staining on the soffit, fascia and bargeboard supporting it. Needless to say, this creates an eyesore on the exterior of your home that can easily be avoided.
  7. Water leakage: Water leakage or ingress occurs as a result of a blockage in your guttering. If you see damp patches on your walls or roof, it’s vital that you take immediate action to correct the problem, whether the culprit is your guttering or another part of your home such as a loose roof tile.
  8. Water overflow: Perhaps the most obvious sign that it’s time to clean your gutter, water overflow is extremely hazardous. If you notice it occurring, My Local Toolbox advises that you contact a guttering expert as soon as possible.

If you’ve decided that now is the time to carry out a professional gutter cleaning, here’s how long it should take.

How long does it take to clean gutters?

If you live in a terraced house, it should take around two hours to complete a gutter cleaning, whereas semi-detached and detached homes take between 30-45 minutes longer.

The handy table below gives you an idea of how long it should take to clean your gutter depending on what kind of house you live in.

House type Gutter length Average cost Average duration
Flat 18m £36 1 hour 30 mins
Terraced house 25m £50 2 hours
Bungalow 30m £60 2 hours 15 mins
Semi-detached house 38m £76 2 hours 30 mins
Detached house 48m £96 2 hours 45 mins

The amount of time it takes to clean your gutter will depend on three major factors:

  1. The length of your gutter:  This is perhaps the biggest element to judge how long it will take to complete a gutter clean. Most tradespeople agree that it takes an hour to clean between 10-15 metres of guttering. Generally, the bigger your gutter, the longer it will take to clean.
  2. Its current state: If the gutter is extremely unkempt and has several blockages, for example, then it may take longer to clean – you can perhaps add an extra 30 minutes to the job depending on the scale of the mess.
  3. Accessibility: If your home has a flat roof, then it will be easier for a professional gutter specialist to carry out the gutter cleaning. This is because they will be able to stand on the roof which will allow them to be more mobile than ladders would allow. This makes the whole process of carrying out the gutter cleaning a lot easier and therefore faster. Pitched roofs present more of a challenge, with the gutter specialist needing to use ladders and other tools to carry out the work. Due to this, cleaning gutters takes a little longer on homes with pitched roofs than flat roofs.

Gutter cleaning FAQ

How often should I clean my gutters?

Most professional gutter specialists recommend that you should clean your gutters at least twice a year. Your gutters play a vital role in transporting water from your roof to the ground. This helps to prevent water leakages which can lead to substantial structural issues that are costly to correct.

Living in the UK, it’s extremely likely that your home will encounter some severe weather during the year. Heavy downpours can lead to issues such as overflowing gutters and gutter downpipe blockages. To ensure that your gutters remain clear all year round, it’s a good idea to schedule a gutter cleaning after a period of heavy weather.

Will I need scaffolding to clean my gutters?

According to the official guidance from Health and Safety Executive, the UK government body responsible for worker wellbeing, “There is no maximum height for using a ladder. However, where a ladder rises 9 metres or more above its base, landing areas or rest platforms should be provided at suitable intervals”. As the average height of a 2-storey house is 9 metres in the UK, it will be completely up to the discretion of the gutter specialist working on the property if they require scaffolding.

If you do need scaffolding to carry out a gutter cleaning, you can expect the cost to be between £300-700 which will be added to the overall cost of the work.

The table below outlines how much you can expect to pay for scaffolding to clean your gutter depending on the size of your home.

House type Average cost of scaffolding
Flat £280
Terraced house £350
Bungalow £530
Semi-detached house £850
Detached house £950

Thinking about getting your gutter cleaned and need some more information? Head over to our fascias and soffits page to find everything you need to know in one place. If you’re researching the potential cost of gutter cleaning, then our gutter cleaning cost guide has you covered.

To get quotes for gutter cleaning – post a job now.

Ready to get quotes from gutter cleaning companies (it's free)?

Related fasica, soffit and guttering project guides