Gutter cleaning: It's not glamorous, but get it done

Gutter cleaning: It's not glamorous, but get it done

They do a thankless job, but the gutters and downspouts that surround every roof perform the vital task of whisking water away from the house. Most homeowners don’t think twice about them — until there’s a problem.

Keeping the gunk out of the gutters is important, and here to tell you why are a number of highly rated gutter-cleaning professionals, including: Duncan Campbell, owner of Duncan’s Gutter Cleaning Service in Columbus, Ohio; Troy Montague, owner of Clean Gutter Services in Overland Park, Kansas; David Brown, owner of Brown’s Gutter Cleaning in Glenside, Pennsylvania; Pete Weist, owner of Major League Gutter Cleaning in Garner, North Carolina; Daniel Falkenstein, owner of Dan’s Gutter Cleaning Service in Groton, Connecticut; and Brian Flechsig, owner of Denver Gutter Cleaning in Denver.

How often should I get my gutters cleaned?

Campbell: Many people get by with a once-a-year cleaning. Late fall is probably the best time, in order to go through winter with clean gutters, which helps prevent ice dams and icicles.

Montague: Most houses that have trees on their property should have a cleaning done at least twice a year — once in the fall, and once in the late spring.

Brown: Gutters should be cleaned two or more times per year. If there are no trees where you live, the gutters can still clog with asphalt shingle dust or other roof debris.

Weist: We recommend having your gutters cleaned twice a year. In North Carolina, we tell our clients to wait until most of the leaves have fallen, which is usually right around Thanksgiving.

Falkenstein: In New England, a lot of our customers have trees overhanging their house and require cleaning in June and December. Also, if you get a new roof, some unscrupulous roofers will leave debris and roofing nails in the gutter, which lead to clogs and overflowing gutters. Be sure to ask the roofer to take cellphone pictures of the clean gutters.

2. How much does gutter cleaning cost?

Campbell: My average price range is $95 to $125, though oftentimes less for small or relatively simple jobs. It’s rare that I have a job that approaches $200.

Montague: Small houses start at $75. Your average gutter cleaning would be around $125. Large houses could exceed $150 or more. That’s why I offer free estimates. Make sure the company you hire has insurance in case of an accident.

Brown: The average gutter-cleaning job takes 30 minutes ($80) to one hour ($120).

Weist: Our company charges based on square footage of the home and how tall the house is. For a two-story, 2,500-square-foot house, our company would charge $60 to $65.

Flechsig: A gutter cleaning can range from $115 for a one-story home with a medium-pitched roof, to $185 for a two-story, 1,800-square-foot house with a steep-pitched roof.

3. How long should gutters last?

Campbell: Aluminum gutters should last forever, with possible occasional caulking of corner joints, if leaking develops. The main damage to gutters occurs from falling tree branches — a large dent can be difficult to fix.

Brown: A high-quality gutter product that’s properly installed and maintained should last about 30 years before being replaced. The best gutter and downspout products are the larger systems that are at least 4 inches wide. When clean, they can handle a strong downpour better than the smaller, 3-inch gutters.

Weist: If gutters are maintained properly, they should last the life of your home. There should be no reason to replace them, unless you have the old metal gutters that rust over time.

Falkenstein: Gutters normally last 30 years or more, but should be replaced with the roof.

Flechsig: If the gutters are cleaned regularly, they can last indefinitely. If debris is allowed to sit in the gutters, then rust and warping can occur. Debris gets wet and when it freezes, this causes all kinds of damage to the gutters and the fascia board, lessening the life of the gutters.

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