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How to clean gutters (Equipment guide)

  • By: Gareth
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Cleaning your guttering is an essential home maintenance task as it prevents potential building defects from developing, like damp ingress and brickwork failure from frost.

Gutter cleaning is a tedious process that, if not done regularly can lead to some serious consequences.

In order to clean guttering, you essentially need a good quality ladder that extends at least to your gutter height, some gloves to protect you from any bacterial nasties and a bucket and scoop. (maybe on a rope with a second person helping on the ground)

How to clean guttering without a ladder

Although you could probably clean your gutters from the ground using an extendable reach grabber or lance attached to a pressure washer, it will not be as thorough as actually getting into the guttering from above and seeing what is causing potential problems.

It could also make a huge mess! We advise clearing them from above with an extendable aluminium ladder that reaches the height of your guttering. You can find our article on extending aluminium ladders here.

For safety, and making the job easier, we recommend getting a ladder standoff which attaches to the top of the extending ladder.

We recommend a particular ladder standoff because it has a built in resting plate which could rest your bucket whilst it’s being filled with dead leaves. You can find our article on standoff brackets here.

How much to clean gutters?

It’s important to clean your gutters at least twice a year and more if you live in an area that experiences heavy rain or snowfall.

This is made worse if your property has trees with close and overhanging branches. Leaves, twigs, moss and other debris will accumulate and clog the gutter system which leads to water pooling in the gutter until it eventually overflows.

How to clean gutters | How much to clean gutters | Best ladder for cleaning gutters

The time of year is also an important factor as deciduous trees will start shedding their leaves in the autumn.

This will also apply a surcharge of weight on the guttering potentially causing it to break brittle gutter clips and come away from the fascia.

Any excess water can potentially find its way into your home through the eaves and even lead to leaks in ceilings below.

When it’s next raining, check for signs of rainwater finding its way over the top of your guttering and also if no rainwater is discharging from the bottom of vertical downpipes.

If you have signs of damp top corners of bedrooms, the guttering is the first place to look.

Best ladder for cleaning gutters?

The best ladder to clean gutters is an aluminium extending ladder with a ladder standoff attached. Ensure that the ladder has enough reach so you are not over reaching and you can see into the gutter for reassurance that any blockages have been removed.

You can find our article on aluminium extending ladders here and also our article on ladder standoff’s here.

What size ladder to clean gutters?

The ideal ladder size to clean your gutters will obviously depend on whether you have a bungalow, a 2 storey, 3 storey or 4 storey house.

Typically, a bungalow gutter height will be approximately at 2.5 to 3 metres high. A 2 storey gutter will approximately be at a height of 5 to 5.5 metres and a 3 storey at 7.5 to 8 metres.

Building designs and shapes differ massively so always check where your highest gutter may be. There is nothing worse than purchasing a ladder, only to find that it won’t reach the one you’ve missed!

How to clean gutters fast

Unfortunately there is no ‘fast’ way to clean your gutters! We know it’s a tedious job and by it’s nature, it’s a slow process due to having to clear a section, move the ladder and clear another section.

As for the reasons mentioned above, it is an important job and if not done properly, can lead to further maintenance problems that if not addressed, could be considerably more expensive and need a proprietary designed scaffold.

One of the most tedious aspects when working at height is the need to constantly climb and up and down for equipment.

You would be amazed with the amount of ladder accessories that are available to make your tasks easier. You can read further read our accessories article here.

How to clean gutters | How much to clean gutters | Best ladder for cleaning gutters | How to clean moss off roof

How to clean moss off roof?

To clean moss from a roof, you’ll need a sturdy ladder, preferably an extending aluminium type with a standoff bracket.

You may even need an additional roof ladder for moss further up.

You can read our article on roof ladders here.

Moss tends to stick more aggressively to rougher finished tiles, typically concrete ones and needs to be scraped. Attached moss can cause the flow of rainwater to be reduced and interrupted.

Concrete tiles tend to soak up more water than slate or composite slate tiles which is why it’s important for water to flow off them quickly. If water is allowed to sit on them, their weight can potentially increase adding weight to a roof structure.

Smoother slate or composite slate tiles tend to let moss attach less aggressively and allow it to slide down and end up in guttering.

This can be one of the main contributing factors of gutter blockages. For moss further up a roof, a purpose made roofing ladder that hooks over a roof ridge is the most common way to access.

Final thoughts

If you are concerned and looking to clean and maintain your gutters, an aluminium extending ladder may be the perfect solution.

While it will cost a little more or the equivalent of hiring someone else to do this for you, if you take into account that once you purchase one of these ladders, they should last lifetime with proper care and maintenance, it’s a good idea.

In the grand scheme of things, an aluminium extending ladder is a long term investment for your home. It’s not just about cleaning gutters, you can use it to reach high places like security lights or even hang Christmas lights from your roof!

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