It’s essential to keep your property’s gutters clean so water doesn’t find its way into places where it shouldn’t be. A gutter’s job is to collect rainwater from the roof and channel it away from the house to a main surface water drain or soakaway. If you don’t take care of the guttering and downpipes, then water will overflow and find its way into the house or on the foundations, causing damage.
Even if you can clean your own gutters, it’s worthwhile finding a contractor. The cost of cleaning gutters per metre is about £4 to £5 so, quite affordable to most people.
While you’re having the gutters cleaned, it’s a good idea to have repairs done too. With age, all gutters develop leaks and require maintenance, or just cleaning if they become dirty. Gutters are like anything else, they need cleaning and to be looked after. If not, they fill up with silt and moss and eventually overflow in heavy rain, often with disastrous results. Dirty guttering makes your home look tatty anyway and should be regularly cleaned.
Let’s assume you have a typical 3 bedroom semi-detached house. If you choose a small company to do the work, you won’t be charged 20% VAT so that’s a bonus. So, let’s see, on average, how much it costs to clean gutters.
As we’ve already seen, you’ll be charged about £5 per metre. So, 20m of gutters will cost about £100 to £125, and take a maximum of a day. Remember that contractors will charge a minimum rate to make the work worthwhile. Usually, this will be about £40 or £50, so make sure you have enough work for them.
How Much Does Gutter Cleaning Cost?
Let’s look at the different jobs your guttering contractor can do. These are typical prices, but you should consider these together with reading about the various cost factors in the following section. Also remember, if you live in the London area, the price can be anything up to 50% more. Also, if you use a VAT registered company, you’ll pay 20% more to cover VAT.
|Clean out gutters||15 mins per metre||£4 to £5 per metre|
|Clean exterior surfaces||10 mins per metre||£2.50 to £3 per metre|
|Repair or replace leaking joints||15 mins per joint||£10 per part|
|Insert downpipe filters||10 mins per filter||£5 per part|
Gutter Cleaning Cost Factors
Height of guttering
The type of property you own often determines the cost of a gutter clean. For example, if you have a bungalow, it’ll be much easier to get to the gutters than if you have a 2 or 3 storey house.
Usually, you can only reach guttering by using a ladder or scaffolding which costs a lot to hire. Unfortunately the UK’s Health and Safety Executive says that if you need to use a ladder for more then 30 minutes, then you should use scaffolding. High guttering means more scaffolding. Generally, you can assume that the cost of cleaning your gutter will rise as the height above ground increases.
Sometimes, you can clean gutters without a ladder by using a ‘gutter vacuum cleaner’. Basically, this is a vacuum cleaner on the end of a telescopic pole, able to lift water, leaves and all the other debris found inside guttering. If you decide this is the way forward, you can hire one for about £140 + VAT for up to 3 days hire. Some even have brush attachments so you can clean the outside surface too.
If you decide to use a ladder, don’t forget that you can’t lean a ladder against a gutter. They just aren’t strong enough to take the weight.
The size of the property
There are many different sizes of houses:
- Bungalows, large and small.
- Large detached.
The total cleaning cost depends on the size of each of these.
When your contractor’s working on the gutter and nearer to the job, they can see if the gutter needs repairs. Whether he’s on a ladder or scaffold, he might notice other necessary tasks too. For example, a broken tile, lots of loose moss on the roof, leaking gutters or even rotten fascia boards. While you have someone at your house who can work at height, it’s worthwhile asking for a quotation to do these extra tasks. Furthermore, if you have difficulty accessing your rainwater system, and need them done professionally, you’ll find these extra jobs drive up the costs considerably. Even if the cleaner can’t permanently repair these extra jobs, he might temporarily fix a leak with some mastic until you can. Expect to be charged for jobs like this.
Call out charges
Finally, don’t be fooled into using a gutter cleaning technician who seems to have a cheap rate. Yes, they are out there. But, if you don’t read the small print, you might find a relatively small and simple job costs more than you bargained for. This happens when they charge a call-out fee or have a minimum charge. What they’re doing is perfectly reasonable because they might be turning away a highly paid job to fit in your small task. Just make sure you know what’s going on before he starts working.
What does gutter cleaning include?
Usually, a gutter cleaning contractor will tackle other jobs related to your guttering. For example, check for leaks and damaged fittings, and repair those. Then, clean the roof to prevent moss washing into the gutter. Cut back tree branches to prevent leaves from collecting in the troughs. And finally, wash the outside surfaces to make the gutters and downpipes look tidier.
Let’s look at how we wash a gutter. For sake of simplicity, assume we’re on a scaffold and can easily reach the guttering.
Using a hand brush and a garden trowel, scoop the solids onto the trowel and place them into a bucket. Continue along the gutter until you’ve emptied the whole length. Try not to push any solids into the downpipe, as this might cause a blockage. Next, take a garden watering can, a bucket filled with water or a garden hosepipe, and wash away any traces of mud. Use this as a water test on all the joints to see if there are any leaks. If there are then they’ll need to be fixed or replaced.
You might find that a layer of algae has grown on the surface inside the gutter. If so, use a stiff hand brush to dislodge the vegetation and wash it away. Even after scrubbing, you might find the green stains remain on the surface of the gutter. If so, mix water and bleach in the ratio of 4 cups water to 1 cup bleach and add a squirt of dishwashing liquid detergent. Then, use this for cleaning the guttering inside and out. You will find that the bleach mixture is an effective way of cleaning stains from gutters.
Removing the waste
The debris you take from the gutter can either be added to your garden compost heap or sent to the local garden waste recycling centre. Never dump it on the side of the road, that is flytipping and is a criminal offence.
If you ask a contractor to do the job, they will probably do a variation on the above method. It doesn’t matter, so long as the gutters end up clean. If you’re happy with the contractor’s work, ask for a gutter cleaning price list specifying all the different services offered.
Methods of washing down a gutter
There are 3 main ways to wash a gutter.
- Use water from a bucket or watering can. Pour the water into the gutter at one end and allow to wash the remaining silt into the downpipe.
- Try using a garden hose. Similar to using the bucket except you have a continuous supply of fresh water.
- You can hire or buy specialist Gutter Cleaning equipment. This is a hose and brush on a long pole.
The hosepipe and bucket methods will be the cheapest methods and in fact, are the most common ways to wash down guttering.
Tackling a Downpipe Blockage
The best time of the year to clean out your gutters is in autumn after the trees have shed their leaves and before the heavy winter rains start. If you forget, leaves and small twigs will blow into the gutters and cause blockages. Also, without fail, you can be sure that debris will become stuck in the downpipe somewhere between the top and bottom. Finally, if your downpipes run to an underground soakaway, the debris might block those too. Any or all these areas might suffer blockages, resulting in overflowing water at roof level or ground level. You’ll notice blockages when you see water overflowing from the gutter or downpipe joints.
To prevent downpipe blockages regularly remove solid debris before it builds up enough to cause a blockage. You can also install leaf guards to the top of the downpipe. This consists of a wire or plastic mesh cap that sits over the outlet from the gutter into the downpipe. The mesh allows the water and small amounts of silt to flow into the outlet, but prevent leaves and trigs from making the same trip.
Keeping your gutters clean: Top Maintenance Tips
- Regularly clean out any debris from within the gutter, especially after a storm.
- Install leaf guards into the downpipe to prevent large items from blocking the downpipe.
- Completely wash the guttering and downpipe, at least once a year in the autumn, but preferably in the spring too. This will prevent vegetation growth. Use a diluted bleach mixture to help kill any algae and remove stubborn stains.
- Keep an eye out for leaking joints, and fix them before they cause problems.
- Make sure the screws holding the gutter brackets to the fascia don’t rust and break off. Use brass or stainless steels screws that won’t rust.
- Make sure the gutters have a steady fall towards the outlet into the downpipe. This will prevent silt from building up within the gutter and ensures there aren’t pools of standing water. Guidelines recommend a gradient of 20mm in 5m of guttering.
- Use a ‘Gutter Hedgehog’ to prevent leaves from blocking gutters. It’s a stainless steel and polypropylene brush about 4m long, with diameters of 50mm, 100mm, or 200mm. Lay the Hedgehog in the gutter and it collects leaves in its bristles.
Gutter Cleaning Cost FAQ
Do window cleaners clean gutters?
Yes. Many window cleaners offer this service as well as cleaning fascia and soffit boards. Just ask your local window guy for a price list.
Is there a tool to clean gutters?
The gutter vacuum is the most widely used tool used by professionals. It’s especially useful if you have gutters above conservatories. You can hire a gutter vacuum cleaner able to suck up all those wet leaves and twigs from your local tool hire shop.
How often should gutters be cleaned?
At least once, but preferably twice a year. Once in the Autumn, after the trees have shed their leaves (most important). Then, clean them again after the winter storms in the Spring. If you have a particularly bad storm at any time of the year, it’s wise to inspect the gutters in case debris found its way into them, or for damage.
Can you pressure wash your gutters?
You can, but don’t use a pressure washer from a ladder. The water jet’s reaction might cause you to overbalance. Instead, use a pressure washer gutter cleaner from the ground or scaffolding. The water pressure should be high enough to dislodge any debris and force it out of the gutter.
What happens if you don’t clean your gutters?
If gutters aren’t cleaned, two things will happen. Debris will collect, and the rainwater will overflow. The water then finds its way into your roof space or, runs down the walls to ground level. Over time, the excess water at ground level will soften the soil under the foundations and cause structural problems. Eventually, this will cause structural failure.
Find gutter cleaners near you
It’s important to keep your rainwater system in good condition and clean it out regularly. You can do the job yourself. But, if you don’t like working at height, it’s a simple task to hire a professional. Just complete the form on this page and you will receive 3 or 4 quotes from professionals near you. They’ll give you competitive quotes for the cost of guttering cleaning.