How Much Does Gutter Cleaning Cost?
Budgeting for a regular maintenance fee to keep your gutters flowing freely is cheaper than risking long-term water damage from clogged gutters. Expect to pay between $118 and $224, or an average of $159 in gutter cleaning costs.
- Typical Range: $118 to $224
- National Average: $159
It’s easy to take gutters for granted and forget they need regular maintenance. When they work correctly, you don’t have to worry that they’re channeling excess water away from the house. But gutters are prone to collecting debris. Twigs, leaves, shingles, and even lost toys can quickly overwhelm a gutter, so it’s important to schedule regular gutter cleanings to keep them flowing freely.
Gutter cleaning costs range from $118 to $224, or an average of $159. The cost is usually calculated by the linear foot, and multistory homes always start at a higher price point. If the gutters have rarely been cleaned, you may pay more to get them in great shape again.
Factors in Calculating Gutter Cleaning Cost
Cleaning gutters seems like a straightforward task, but a few complexities go into calculating gutter cleaning costs. A gutter pro will consider the house height, gutter length and condition, and any potential repairs. Travel time will also factor into gutter cleaning costs, as will your specific location. Here are the top factors that influence the price you’ll pay for gutter cleaning services.
The gutters on single-story homes are the easiest to reach and clean, which means they’re typically much cheaper to clean than those on larger multistory homes. It’s usually $1 per linear foot for a single-story house, which averages $152 total. If a gutter cleaner needs to reach a second- or third-story gutter, the cost doubles to $2 per linear foot or more. Depending on the complexity of the roofline, the pitch, and other risk factors, you may be charged an additional $70 to $200.
Gutter Length and Condition
The length of the gutters is the most significant variable for how much gutter cleaning costs. A one-story house could have a huge footprint that’s larger than the average house. Most bids calculate the gutter length by the linear foot, which is basically the length of each gutter. Some contractors might bid by the square footage of the entire house, minus the areas without gutters. To calculate the square footage costs, a contractor will estimate the home’s total square footage and multiply it by about $0.40 per foot for a single-story or $0.80 for a two-story house.
While most homes are built on relatively flat surfaces, you may have at least one side with a steep slope, making it more challenging to reach the gutters. The gutter cleaner may require extra time, effort, and risk to get the job done, so you may be charged a little more. The same is true if you have a lot of landscaping around the gutters that makes them difficult to access.
Gutter Accessories and Extras
As gutter cleaners make sure the gutters are free from debris, they’ll do some quick inspections to ensure each part is functioning correctly. They may recommend replacing worn-out guards, corners, caps, or fascia. If the gutters need downspout cleaning, you’ll likely pay an additional $50 to $100 per job. Additionally, a pro can install gutter guards which help prevent large debris from clogging the gutters. These cost $7 to $10 per linear foot to install, and they come with pros and cons. The extra work to remove them for cleaning could increase the cleaning cost, but they’re effective enough that you may not need to have them cleaned as frequently.
Labor, Travel, Equipment, and Demand
Labor makes up a fair portion of the total gutter cleaning costs: approximately $0.85 to $1.20 per linear foot. Materials and equipment for standard gutter cleaning without extra services usually cost $22 to $45. You may also be charged travel fees if you’re not within a gutter cleaning company’s service area. Areas with high demand for gutter cleaning, especially during peak cleaning season, may also experience higher costs.
Risk and Accessibility
Every job that involves working on a ladder comes with additional risks. This is even more true for jobs that require working on two-story houses or higher. Since the bulk of gutter cleaning costs are made up of labor fees, the risk factor is why the cost doubles to $2 per linear foot or more. Steeply pitched rooflines, inaccessible gutters, and multistory homes all have increased risk factors that will increase the cost of gutter cleaning services.
The area you live in will affect the total price of gutter cleaning. Labor rates tend to be higher in metropolitan and even suburban areas where the cost of living is higher. There may also be increased demand and a low supply of gutter cleaners where you live, which also drives the price higher.
Additional Costs and Considerations
A well-maintained gutter usually does fine with just a regular cleaning service, but if it’s getting old or is rarely maintained, then it may require additional cleaning and repair. Your gutter cleaning pro can go over any other services you may need and their associated costs.
A pro may notice that there aren’t enough downspouts to handle the load. A homeowner may also want to have the downspout buried and extended beyond its current location. Installing a downspout costs between $5 and $10 per installation, but installing an extender can cost $6 to $15. Burying the extension usually costs $25 per linear foot.
Cleaning each downspout is more challenging, which is why it can increase the total cost by $50 to $100 per job. If the gutters were filled with debris, the downspouts could be heavily clogged, so it’s essential to make sure they’re free of debris as well.
Gutter Cleaning Frequency
A general rule of thumb is to have gutters cleaned out at least three times per year or at the change of each season. If you live in a milder climate, you could opt to have them cleaned twice a year. Installing gutter guards can increase the time in between cleanings.
As the gutter professional is cleaning each gutter, they’ll also inspect the areas that need repair. Any additional repairs or extra cleaning (like underneath the gutters) will cost extra. This could include replacing gutters and downspouts, installing guards, or repairing fascia.
Signs You Need Gutter Cleaning
Signs of gutters in poor condition are apparent. A homeowner might notice stains or mildew, an increase in pests, overflowing debris, sagging gutters, and roof leaks. Generally, these indicate a serious problem with the gutters that may require more than just cleaning. Here are the top signs that gutters need attention.
Staining and Mildew
Gutters that aren’t working correctly often expose themselves with stains on the gutters or the sides of the house. They could be improperly attached or clogged with debris, making the water spill over and leak down the house. This leak can often grow mold and mildew, spreading quickly and threatening a home and its inhabitants.
Pests of all shapes and sizes love to find dark and moist places to nest. Debris-filled gutters make great homes since they’re out of the way and rarely get disturbed in some climates. Leaving the gutters to the pests can eventually damage the roof or attract larger predators like snakes or feral cats. If you notice many insects or mice crawling around the gutters or roof, the gutters likely need a thorough cleaning.
Gutters that have long been left on their own may even begin to sprout new plant life. With enough dirt, water, and sunlight, any seeds that made their way into the gutter could take root and make a run for the sun. Over time, the roots can damage the roof, shingles, and gutters. While finding plants growing in the gutter may be mildly amusing, do an online search for “gutter cleaning near me” to get the gutters back to their original purpose of channeling water, not growing plants.
Excessive Amount of Leaves and Debris
You should expect to see some leaves and debris in your gutters since the gutters are the collection point for whatever falls with the rain and wind. However, if leaves are abundant, then the gutters require assistance. Water can only push the debris down so much before it clogs or sticks together. Abundant leaves and debris will quickly cause water to overflow onto the house and damage the exterior.
A sagging gutter can happen for a couple of reasons. The weight of excessive debris, snow, or ice, or an improper installation may cause gutters to sag. No matter the cause, it’s a precursor to further house damage. Call a pro as soon as you notice sagging gutters to get them repaired or replaced.
Time Elapsed Since the Last Cleaning
If you can’t remember the last time you had your gutters cleaned, it’s probably time to clean them. Even if there are no apparent signs of damage, there is debris building up. Getting them cleaned out before obvious damage occurs will save money in the long run on more serious repairs.
Gutters are designed to tilt ever so slightly toward their downspout. When gutters have the proper design, gravity does the trick to ensure the water flows out he appropriate channel and away from the house. If you see a trickle of water or a waterfall coming from the side of a gutter, there is a clogged gutter problem.
One of the worst consequences of clogged gutters is a roof leak. This happens when water can’t flow properly out the downspout and instead finds the nearest exit point, which could be inside the roof. Roof leaks are usually discovered late since they destroy the upper attic before reaching the living space ceiling. The cost of repairing a roof leak could far surpass hiring a regular gutter cleaning service.
Similar to a roof leak, overflowing or seeping water can damage the exterior and interior walls. This also happens when a gutter has been blocked for an extended period. The standing water weakens the upper walls and the fascia before working its destruction down the sides of the walls.
Benefits of Regular Gutter Cleaning
It’s easy to forget about gutters since they’re out of sight and out of mind. As long as they look to be in good condition, we may think they’re performing correctly. But since water damage is an insidious and slow process, you may not notice the damage done by clogged gutters until it’s too late. Regularly cleaning gutters is the key to preventing water damage to the house or landscaping and extending the roof’s life.
Prevents Water Damage to Home
The primary purpose of gutters is to prevent dripping water from damaging a house at its most vulnerable points: where the roof meets the walls and along the foundation. When water can’t flow freely down the gutter and downspout, it will find the next easiest way out. That’s usually into any crack in the roofline, down the walls, and along the foundation. Water damage can become a costly home repair, so keeping gutters debris-free is the best prevention.
The landscaping around your house makes a property aesthetically appealing, but it can also help moderate temperatures and boost property value. If gutters overflow water into the landscaping below, the plants can be damaged or even swept away in a significant downpour. Soil erosion also happens more easily, which then exposes more of the foundation to the elements.
Prevents Basement Flooding
Downspouts are precisely placed to keep water from flowing toward the foundation or basement windows or doors. When gutters are clogged and overflowing, the excess water flows to the lowest, uninhibited point—and that could be right into a basement. Since basements tend to be darker, cooler, and damper already, the influx of floodwater becomes a dangerous breeding ground for mold. Not to mention it can damage carpet, furniture, and other valuables.
Prevents Pest Infestation
Keeping leaves and debris out of your gutters is the best way to prevent pest infestations on a roof. Many rodents and insects prefer dark and undisturbed areas to nest. From there, they often damage more of the house as they boldly take over more living space in the roof and walls.
Extends Your Roof’s Life and Prevents Leaks
If your region experiences snowy winters, it’s essential to remove the autumn debris before a severe snowstorm. Water can pool around the debris and freeze into ice, which will stay in place until the temperatures rise. The weight of standing ice can cause gutters to sag, and, eventually, the roof materials may collapse. Or the ice can expose the roof to leaks when it pushes the shingles apart as it expands during the freezing process.
Extends the Life of Your Gutters
Gutters will last longer if they’re regularly maintained. As the organic content of debris begins to decay, it can cause the gutters and their parts to rust and corrode. Without the excess weight of twigs, leaves, and other debris, the gutters won’t sag, cause damage, or fall off entirely.
Protects Your Home’s Value
Gutters are an essential part of a home’s value since they have such a big impact on protecting the roof and foundation. If you’re planning on selling your house, be sure to get the gutters cleaned and inspected to make sure they add value and don’t detract. Prospective buyers might not consider the condition of gutters unless they’re in obvious disrepair. Neglected gutters can turn potential buyers off from buying the house, as they can indicate a much more serious problem with the roof.
Gutter Cleaning Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
When it comes to knowing how to clean gutters, the process seems simple: Wear some gloves, get on a ladder, and pull out the leaves. There are even gutter cleaning kits you can purchase so you’ll have the right tools to remove debris. The challenge is that it’s not as easy as you think to work on a ladder while reaching off to the side. Ladder accidents are always a common source of emergency room trips, so if you’re at all concerned about actively working on a ladder, then leave it to a pro. This goes double for working on gutters on a two-story house or higher.
Gutter cleaners are more comfortable than the average person when working on ladders or roofs while reaching, pulling, shifting, and holding tools. They also have the appropriate ladders to reach the roofline and all the equipment to perform an inspection. Their keen eyes can identify a problem area before it turns into a disaster and get it repaired in no time. In the skillful hands of a gutter cleaning pro, your gutters can look as good as new for years to come, so you don’t have to worry about water leaks, pest infestations, or a decrease in home value.
How to Save Money on Gutter Cleaning Costs
Gutter cleaning costs aren’t high compared to some home repair costs, but saving money on the up-front costs of a recurring service is beneficial and appealing to most homeowners. Check out these tips for saving money on gutter cleaning costs.
- Keep an eye on deals and promotions in local ads or through email alerts.
- Ask a neighbor who had their gutters cleaned for a referral. They may have a referral discount.
- Check with a gutter cleaning company to see if they’ll offer a volume discount if you and your neighbors will book their services at the same time.
- See if your preferred roofing company or window cleaning company offers professional gutter cleaning. You may get a discount by having two services done at once.
- Install gutter guards to protect the gutters from most debris so you can service them less frequently.
- Ask about military, first responder, teacher, or senior discounts when applicable.
- Ask if the company has annual contracts that offer a discount price for multiple services throughout the year.
At this point, you’ve probably realized that many of the cost benefits of gutter cleaning lie in the long-term prevention of serious house damage. Here are the top ways gutter maintenance helps you save money in the long run.
- It prevents costly foundation issues in which the foundation cracks or shifts, causing structural integrity problems. Repairing a foundation could cost $5,000 to $40,000, and leaving it unrepaired will make a house nearly impossible to sell.
- Gutter cleaning prevents roof leaks or total collapse. When water flows properly away from the roof, there’s no risk to the roofline being exposed to constant water or expanding ice.
- Cleaning avoids a buildup of mold and mildew in the roof or basement. These toxic substances cause respiratory problems and other health challenges. Mold removal costs around $3,000, plus any water damage repairs the house requires.
- It prevents wall damage since the water won’t flow into and down the sides of the walls. Repairs could require new framing, insulation, paint, drywall, stucco, brick, or siding.
- Landscaping won’t get flooded out, which wastes your initial investment in boosting your curb appeal.
Questions to Ask About Gutter Cleaning Cost
Since gutter cleaning is intended to extend the life of your home’s structural integrity, make sure to ask the right questions to feel comfortable about the process and to avoid miscommunication. You’ll want to make sure you’re working with a qualified gutter cleaning service before hiring them, so be sure to ask if they’re licensed and insured. A company that’s been in the business for a while will also have the experience and equipment necessary to handle your property’s needs.
- What do you typically charge for a single or two-story house on level ground?
- Do you charge a trip or travel fee?
- Do you provide a fixed price quote if I don’t need extra services?
- How long will it take to clean my gutters?
- Do you include downspout cleaning with each cleaning, or is that an extra fee?
- Will you inspect the gutters, roof, and fascia for damage?
- Can you make any repairs while you’re on-site?
- How much do you charge to install gutter guards?
- Do you clean up the mess after removing the debris?
- Do you have an annual maintenance plan?
- What’s the best thing I can do to keep my gutters in good condition?
Hiring gutter cleaners isn’t a complicated process, but it still helps to be prepared with plenty of information so you can be prepared with an estimated budget. Keep these answers to frequently asked questions in mind to help guide your decision-making process.
Q. How much should I pay to have my gutters cleaned?
You can expect to pay around $159 to have your gutters cleaned, as long as they aren’t in terrible shape or you don’t have extra services performed. Most single-story homes average $70 to $200, and two-story homes average $90 to $225.
Q. How often should I clean my gutters?
Without gutter guards, you should have your gutters cleaned two to three times per year, particularly at the change of seasons when more debris falls. If you install gutter guards, you can extend the time between services. The most crucial time to clean gutters is in the fall, when most of the debris is collected in the gutters. That way, ice won’t build up and damage the gutters or roof.
Q. What does gutter cleaning include?
Gutter cleaners will remove all debris from gutters and gutter guards. They will also inspect the gutters, roof, walls, and fascia to determine if repairs are needed. Minor repairs like fastening screws or adding a new end cap could be included for free. Some companies also include the cost of unclogging downspouts rather than charging extra.
Q. How long does it take to clean gutters?
Most gutter cleaning jobs only take a couple of hours to complete. It may take longer if you have gutter guards, steep roofs, difficult terrain, or significant debris.