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Cleaning the gutters in May: Why it’s the best time

Gutter cleaning isn’t the most glamorous of home maintenance jobs, but it’s an important one. Blocked or poorly flowing gutters can lead to a range of bigger problems for your home. In this guide, we look at when and how often you should be cleaning your gutters, as well as giving you tips on how to clean a gutter.

How often should my gutters be cleaned?

Ideally, you should clean your gutters twice a year to make sure they’re fully functional all year round. By tending to your gutters every six months you’ll avoid any troublesome build-up of leaves and debris, which will help avoid any consequent damage caused by blocked gutters.

The best times of year to clean your gutter are in the spring and autumn, though it will depend on a number of factors, including the weather and your property’s proximity to trees, bushes and hedges.

If your home is surrounded by large mature trees and hedges nearby, then chances are that leaves, branches and other debris are going to collect in your gutters – especially after extremely hot, dry periods and during the winter when the trees lose their leaves.

On the other hand, if you live in a new housing development with few or no fully grown trees then you could probably get by on a single annual gutter cleaning. Equally, if you live in an open area away from trees and plant life then once a year should be enough.

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When should I clean my gutters in the spring?

The best time to clean your gutters is early spring, at the beginning of May, after the April showers have been and gone (hopefully!) to clear out any debris and build-up from the winter. It’s also good to clean them again at the beginning of autumn to prepare your gutters for the higher rainfalls and falling leaves in autumn and winter.

Gutter cleaning mayCan you remember the last time you had your guttering checked? If it’s been more than a year since you last had your gutters cleaned, we recommend cleaning them as soon as possible. Speak to your local gutter cleaning specialists for quotes on how much the work will cost.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your gutters throughout the year, to make sure they’re in good working order. If you notice dripping, water stains on the side of your property, or other signs that the gutter might have problems, get them checked immediately. Don’t wait for the problem to get worse, get it sorted to avoid bigger issues down the line.

Why is gutter cleaning necessary?

The simple reason for regularly cleaning your gutters is to keep them empty and flowing so that they can do what they’re designed to do; carry rainwater into the drain system. Throughout the year gutters often collect leaves, branches, mud, soil, birds nests and other debris that clogs them up.

The problem with a blocked or partially blocked gutter is that it interrupts the flowing water, and in some cases, causes the guttering to overflow. Any build-up of water on your roof or in the gutters can lead to damage to the soffit and fascia of the eaves of your property.

If left for a period of time, blocked gutters can lead to leaks in your home, deterioration of the property and even structural damage. The longer you leave it, the more expensive it will be to repair any damage.

By regularly cleaning your gutters you avoid these hazards and massively reduce the risk of water damage from the guttering.

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Benefits of gutter cleaning

Regular gutter cleaning comes with a number of benefits for you, your home and your wallet. They include:

  • Preventing water damage. Blocked gutters lead to drips, leaks and overflowing water, which can lead to serious water damage to your property – something that’s easily avoided with regular cleaning.
  • Reduce the risk of pests. Gutter blockages can quickly turn into the perfect home for a number of pests, including insects, mice and rats. Clean gutters don’t have blockages to cause that problem.
  • Extend the life of your roof. Water that builds up due to a blockage can quickly turn to ice in cold weather, and put extra strain on the roof of your home due to the additional weight. Clean gutters don’t let water build-up. Problem solved.
  • Avoid expensive repairs. If left unchecked, blocked gutters can lead to expensive damage to your property, including the roof and foundations. It’s much cheaper to have your gutters cleaned regularly.

How do I clean my gutters?

Cleaning gutters is a fairly straightforward job, but it involves working at a height. You should only attempt to clean gutters yourself if you’re experienced and confident working up a ladder at heights.

If you aren’t a fan of heights or don’t feel confident working up a ladder, we recommend hiring professional gutter cleaners to come and do the work. Especially as it can be trickier than you think to manoeuvre between cleaning out waste, filling an increasingly heavy bucket and operating a house or other water supply.

Traditional ladder technique

  1. Scoop out all loose waste and blockages from the gutters. It’s easier to do this when damp, so you might want to spray the gutter with water before you start.
  2. Flush the gutter with your garden hose or other water supply to clear out the guttering.
  3. Remove any stubborn debris or waste with a scouring pad.
  4. Rinse the gutter thoroughly to ensure all water flow and drains quickly.

Modern gutter cleaning

Nowadays you don’t necessarily need to hike yourself up a ladder to clean your gutters. The magic of modern technology means there are safer, easier ways to keep your gutters in good working order.

You can now use high-powered gutter vacuum cleaners, which allow you to clean gutters without taking a foot off the ground. They’re perfect for removing the build-up of leaves, branches, dirt and moss from gutters with minimal fuss.

Some gutter vacuums even come with a wireless camera, so you can see exactly where blockages are and be confident that you’ve removed them.

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What happens if I don’t clean my gutters?

Gutter damage and floodingIf you’re still not convinced that regular gutter cleaning is a must, here are some of the problems you could face if you don’t look after your guttering:

  • Leaking gutters and mould
  • Damage to the roof and fascias
  • Water erosion and cracks in your home
  • Birds nests, mice, rats and bugs
  • Landscape damage to soil, decking and driveways
  • Foundation damage and structural issues
  • Flooding

All of the above issues can lead to expensive repair work being needed. Or, alternatively, you can avoid the hassle and expense by organising a simple gutter cleaning every six months or so.

How much does professional gutter cleaning cost?

The average cost of gutter cleaning ranges from £50 - £120 for a small terraced house to £165 - £300 for a large 3-storey townhouse. The hourly rate for a gutter cleaner is around £20 - £30 per hour, or roughly £150 - £250 per day.

Before hiring a professional gutter cleaning specialist, we always recommend obtaining at least three quotes from our trusted tradespeople. Our request a quote feature is perfect for getting quotes – you post details about the job you want doing and we’ll send it out to local tradespeople in your area. Try it out!

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