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Cleaning Rain Gutters

By: Pat Curry

Clean gutters to protect your siding and landscape plantings, and prevent thousands of dollars of damage to your foundation.

How often to clean gutters

fall maintenance man cleaning rain gutters

Leaving debris in your gutters can damage them and force freezing water under your shingles.

Clean gutters at least once a year—twice a year if you have overhanging trees. Also, clean clogged gutters after big storms. Clogs often occur where downspouts join the gutter system—check these areas closely.

How to clean gutters

  • Wear a shirt with long sleeves. Wear rubber gloves.
  • Have a good extendable ladder available. Standoff stabilizers (ladder “horns”) are ideal to keep the ladder from damaging the gutter.
  • Use a small plastic scoop to remove gunk. Buy a gutter scoop from the hardware store ($25) or try a child’s sand shovel.
  • Spare your lawn by dumping the stuff onto a plastic tarp.
  • After you’ve cleared the muck, flush the gutters and downspouts with a garden hose—also a great way to spot any leaks.

Cost of a professional gutter cleaning

If climbing ladders is not your cup of tea, you can hire someone to do the job for you for between $50 and $250, depending on the size and height of your house.

Gutter covers

Interested in an ounce of prevention? You can slow clogging by installing gutter covers in the form of mesh screens, clip-on grates, or porous foam. However, the cost can be more than the gutters themselves and covers need regular maintenance to keep them clear. Expect to pay $6 to $8 per running foot for gutter covers, installed.

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Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.