How to Clean Gutters

How to Clean Your Own Gutters

Blocked gutters can pose a serious danger to your home, with regular cleaning required to keep these risks at bay. In this guide from Coastal Drains, we’ll explain the importance of gutter cleaning and then show you how to clean your own gutters using household tools.

Why Should You Clean Your Gutters?

Surface water drainage blocked by leaves

Gutters serve an important job for any building, collecting excess rainwater and transporting it to a drain. Any obstructions within a gutter, which could be leaves in the tray or sticks, twigs, and brush within the downpipe, can cause water to back up. Blocked gutters on your property can cause a series of problems:

  • Water Damage to Your House: Water can overflow from a gutter, pooling around your property and causing serious issues. This can mean damage to the roof of your property, your walls and your home’s foundations. It can also lead to mould and dampness on the inside and outside of your home. These damages can be potentially costly to repair. Overflowing water can also rot wooden fascias around your house, requiring repairs or replacement.
  • Insects: The damp, dark spaces within a blocked downpipe can be the perfect conditions to encourage insect infestations. This can include wasp nests over the summer, potentially making your garden unusable and being difficult to remove without contracting a professional.

How Often Should Gutters Be Cleaned?

It’s recommended to clean leaves and other debris from your gutters at least once a year to ensure they continue to function properly. If you notice any of the above issues with your house, such as dampness on inner walls, then cleaning your gutters should be a priority. If there has been a heavy deposit of leaves or a vicious storm, it might be worth giving your gutters another check. Stained or dirty gutters can be cleaned to give a nicer appearance. As water can freeze and damage pipes in low temperatures, it’s worth clearing away falling leaves and other debris before winter.

Surface water drainage. House gutter covered in snow.

Is Gutter Cleaning a Tenant’s Responsibility?

Legally it is the landlords’ responsibility to maintain the exterior gutter systems on a property. If you believe your guttering needs cleaning, you should speak to your landlord and ask them to arrange for cleaning. If looking to clean leaves from the gutters in a rented property yourself, make sure to talk to your landlord beforehand. If you would like to find out more about a tenant’s responsibility over drainage issues, read our guide to blocked drain responsibility.

How to Clean Gutters With an Extension Ladder

It is possible to clean your own gutters, but before you start work you should wear suitable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. An extension ladder can be used to clean your gutter yourself. Other ladders like step ladders can either be too small or dangerously unsteady. You should look to use a ladder stabiliser to prevent leaning the ladder against the gutter itself, which could cause damage. The extension ladder should be placed on a solid, secure surface. With all ladder work, having a helper with you can save time and keep you safe.

You should first work on removing debris from the gutter itself. You can do this by using a plastic scoop, either a specialist Gutter Scoop, or a more generalised tool. With this scoop out all debris, dropping it onto your garden below (depending on the levels of leaves and twigs you may want to lay out a tarp or other collection device below your gutter). An alternative method is to use a leaf blower and a gutter attachment, if you own one. Once you’ve cleared all debris from the gutter use your garden hose to clean out the gutter and wash through the downpipe. If you have access to a pressure washer you can use this instead. This will show you if you have any leaks in your gutter, and you should be able to see any damage that has occurred, and should alert you to any blockages within the downpipe.

If your downpipe is blocked you can first try feeding the hose pipe in to try and fully unblock it, if this doesn’t work then you will have to unscrew some sections of your downpipe to clear the blockage out. Tap on your downpipe up its length to determine the location of the blockage. At this point you will have to remove the downpipe up to that height, starting from the ground. You should be able to unscrew and remove the pipe in sections up to the blockage. You can then take the blockage out, before reattaching each piece of pipe in the same order. If you think your pipe is blocked, and it connects to an open drain, you should be careful to avoid flushing a blockage directly into a drain, as it can cause more issues within one. We have a guide to unblocking outside drains on our website should issues arise. Any damaged guttering will need to be repaired or replaced, by you or a professional gutter repair service.

How to Clean Aluminium Gutters

Aluminium gutters can be cleaned much the same way as plastic ones. While damage to plastic rain gutters will often necessitate replacement, aluminium gutters are far stronger, and can often be repaired.

How to Clean Stained Gutters

The outside of your gutters can become stained and unattractive, in which case it may be worth cleaning the exterior of them too. There are specialist mould and algae cleaning solutions available which can be used on stained gutters. Make sure to rinse them down with a spray nozzle afterwards.

coastal drains van in brighton

Professional Gutter Cleaning Services in The South East

If you are looking for a professional service for your gutters, look no further than Coastal Drains. Whether your gutters are too high to reach with a ladder, or you have a severe blockage in your downpipe, our experts are available for 24/7 emergency callouts. Our friendly team will thoroughly clean leaves, twigs, and other debris from your gutters, all at a guaranteed low price. We offer free upfront quotes on all work, and offer a low price guarantee across the South East. Whatever the condition of your gutters, we can restore them to a fantastic state.

Contact us today to book an expert gutter cleaning.

Author: Greg Child

Greg is an expert in drainage and has been in the business for over 30 years. He's the owner of Coastal Drains Ltd and a very, very friendly chap.