Angie's LIST Guide to
Gutter cleaning

A clean and properly functioning gutter system can save you from costly damage to both your roof and your basement. Here's what you need to know about gutter cleaning and maintenance, and installing gutter guards.
 

gutter topper 1.jpg

Even pine trees can drop enough needles to clog up a gutter. (Photo courtesy of Lori C. of Yacolt WA)
Even pine trees can drop enough needles to clog up a gutter. (Photo courtesy of Lori C. of Yacolt WA)
 
 

Gutter cleaning & maintenance

Learn about the different kinds of gutter guards you can buy.

How often gutters need to be cleaned depends on the part of the country and whether there are nearby trees. If you live in the Arizona desert, you may be able to go several years, but for those who live where autumn leaves fall, it's important to clean gutters at least twice a year.

The most important time is in late fall after all or most of the leaves have come down. Most deciduous trees also drop debris in the spring, so an early summer cleaning is important as well. Those who live in heavily wooded areas may find it necessary to clear the gutters three or four times a year.

Always make sure the downspouts are not clogged and that they are carrying water away from the house foundation.

Gutter guards and screens:

There are several products on the market that reduce the need for maintenance, but do no eliminated it entirely.   Some gutter guards are made of a metal mesh intended to keep leaves from getting into the gutters. Another method is a foam insert that fits inside the gutter.  The foam is highly porous, so it allows water to flow through it to the downspouts while keeping leaves out.

Hiring a gutter cleaning service:

Many homeowners hire gutter cleaning services for this task. Cost will vary depending on the size of your house, but a ballpark estimate would be around $175.

This can be a particularly good choice for homeowners who have gutters that are difficult to reach, or who no longer feel physically comfortable doing the job themselves.

But there's another group of homeowners who ought to consider hiring a service -- those who for whatever reason just don't get around to doing the job themselves. You know who your are. Remember, the worst choice is to neglect it because that will cost more in the long run. If you want to do it yourself, that's fine -- as long as you actually get around to it.

Hiring a good gutter cleaning service is like anything else -- you need to be careful who you pick. Make sure the company has insurance and a good track record. If you join Angie's List, you will be able to search for gutter cleaning companies in your community and see which ones have been given good recommendations from past customers.

Comments

In the Sept. 2010 issue of Consumer Reports, they rated & tested various gutter guards. One of their best buys was only 30 cents a foot to buy.

Looking for gutter cleaning etc in the Ravenswood, Wv. area zip: 26164

Hi Zeke, Thanks for your interest in Angie's List! You can find more information about local Ravenswood companies here: http://www.angieslist.com/companylist/us/wv/ravenswood/

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