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Cleaning your gutters on a regular basis will help prevent water damage and mold, protect your roof from rot, keep animals from nesting in your gutters, and save you money on unexpected repairs down the road. Gutters that are clogged with leaves, branches, and other junk can cause leaks which will severely damage the walls and foundation of your home if the water isn’t diverted away.

No one wants any of these issues, so it’s important that you clean your gutters at least once or twice a year, repairing any damage you find along the way. While you can do it yourself, or hire a handyman, it’s more advisable to go with an expert who understands your gutter type and carries the right insurance for the job. Spout Gutter Pros offers free quotes from licensed gutter contractors in just minutes. Click now to find reliable contractors in your area today!

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Importance of Cleaning and Maintaining Gutters

To be honest…rain gutters are not usually the first topic you think of when you wake up in the morning. But what happens if you don’t properly clean and maintain them? While it may seem like a boring, thankless job, clearing and repairing your gutters is probably one of the best ways to maintain your home’s curb appeal and increase its value over the years.

Following are some of the issues that can crop up when gutters are not properly maintained:

  • Basement flooding: The reason we have rain gutters is to draw melting snow and rainwater away from the home. If the gutters are clogged, water will most likely overflow and run down the walls into the foundation. If your basement isn’t waterproofed, water can seep in, causing damp walls and flooring that can lead to the potential development of mold and mildew.
  • Broken gutters: If your gutters are clogged up with leaves, branches, and other debris, water can no longer pass through. When it rains, the water collects, filling your gutters with heavy water and soggy wet leaves. All of that extra weight just sits in the gutter weighing it down, eventually leading to the gutter sagging, breaking, or even pulling away from the roof.
  • Damage to the home’s exterior: When gutters are clogged, they can’t do their job and water will pour off the roof and down the side of your home. This can lead to potential staining of siding and paint damage which is not only unsightly but damaging to the roof and walls themselves. A quick gutter clean-out could save you having to repaint the entire home.
  • Damage to the home’s interior: Not only can clogged gutters cause water leaks on the outside of your home, but it can also rot the wooden fascia boards your gutters are mounted to, letting moisture enter your home under the shingles. You may not see it right away, but over a harsh winter, water could be getting in behind siding, in the window frames, or under the flooring, resulting in considerable damage.
  • Damage to/cracking of sidewalks, driveways, patios: Water seeping under your sidewalks, driveway, or even patios can cause the same kinds of issues as water getting into your foundation. Over time you may notice cracks, holes, and shifting which can not only mess up the look of your home but create a public tripping hazard if the concrete breaks.
  • Foundation problems: Rain gutters are designed to carry excess water away from your home and into an appropriate drainage system. But when they are clogged up one of the biggest issues you’ll face is rainwater pouring over the edges of the gutter, down the walls, and onto the ground around your foundation. Whether your home is built with a crawl space, on a slab, or has a basement, the excess water from overflowing gutters can seriously damage your home’s foundation. If the dirt or sand underneath becomes too saturated, the foundation may shift, causing cracks and warping.
  • Mold and mildew growth: Water seeping under your roof and into your walls invariably leads to the growth of mold and mildew. Hugely harmful to your health, mold can result in all kinds of reactions from mild allergies to more serious long-term illnesses. Once it’s been detected in your home, it has to be removed which is an expensive and time-consuming process. Paying attention to the state of your gutters can prevent this kind of damage, protecting the wood from getting soggy and moldy.
  • Pests and insects – Standing water in gunked-up rain gutters provides the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos and other insects, such as bees and wasps, who like to build their nests in such conditions. Pests that eat insects, like rodents, may be attracted to the gutters, making it more likely they’ll find ways to enter your home.
  • Poor curb appeal: You care about the look of your home, especially when friends are coming to visit or it’s time to sell. You don’t want the first impression people get of your home is that it’s neglected because the gutters are warped or sagging. Proper gutter maintenance can help your house stay pristine and attractive for years to come.
  • Roof rot: Standing water in backed-up gutters can cause serious roof damage by rotting any shingles that are saturated. That water can then drip into insulation which can ruin walls and ceilings. Overall, it’s better to pay hundreds to clean gutters than thousands to replace the roof.
  • Ruined landscaping: Overflowing water from clogged gutters can also ruin all the beautiful landscaping you’ve done close to the home. Not only will the water wash away mulch, but it can also over-saturate the soil to the point where your flowers, hedges and even trees wilt or die.
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Common Gutter Repair and Maintenance Issues

Rain gutters only have one job to do but it’s an important one. Their role is to deflect excess water away from your home and into a drainage system so your house doesn’t sustain water damage. But there are quite a few things that can go wrong with gutter systems when you’re not paying attention that can eventually lead to much bigger issues.

Following are the most common repair and maintenance issues you’ll encounter with gutters which, if taken care of quickly, will save you lots of money down the road:

  • Clogged/blockages gutter or downspout: If a gutter or downspout becomes clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris, it will back up, causing rainwater to stand and stagnate, or overflow and spill down the side of your home. For rain gutters to work properly, water must be able to flow. Stagnant water can cause rust, roof & siding damage, gutter deterioration, insect infestation, and damage to the gutters. If you institute a regular maintenance schedule, you won’t encounter any of these problems and your gutters (and house) will last much longer.
  • Gutter slope: Gutters full of backed-up water and clogs can become super heavy, potentially loosening the supports attaching them to the roofline. When gutters are installed, the contractor will carefully measure the gutter’s slope so that it effectively carries the water towards the downspout. But if the gutters are allowed to fill up, that slope could be altered to such a degree that water doesn’t flow downwards, or in fact, flows back towards the house. If you notice that the flow isn’t as it should be, make sure to have a contractor come out and check the angle of the slope.
  • Hole/crack: Holes and cracks can develop in gutters made of materials that expand and contract in extreme heat or cold. They can also get damaged by sharp twigs, flying objects, or rust where the water’s been allowed to pool. Once you notice drips or more serious fissures, you’ll want to call a contractor immediately to first clean out the gutters and then identify where the holes or cracks are in the system. Those holes can be sealed with caulking or soldering, depending on the gutter material.
  • Ice dams: Ice dams form when water overwhelms the gutter system and the cold temperature causes it to freeze. Not only does this back up your gutters, but it also adds additional weight which can lead to your gutters pulling away from the home, sagging, or even breaking. If you live in a climate with harsh winters, you may want to consider getting heated leaf guards. Or you can hire a gutter pro to come out and remove the dams for you.
  • Improper draining/downspout issues: Just like the gutters themselves, downspouts and drains can become clogged with wet vegetation. You’ll know they’re not draining properly if you see overflow above the downspouts, or if nothing is coming out at the bottom. Downspouts are harder to clean than gutters as you have to snake out the drainpipes. It’s highly advisable that you bring on a rain gutter company to do the job for you.
  • Joint separation/warping/sagging: Gutters can begin to warp or sag, or the joints can begin to separate, if there’s additional weight in the gutters, pulling them apart. This weight can come from backed-up water, clogs, or ice dams. First, you’ll need to have the gutters thoroughly cleaned of debris, then hosed out. Once you’ve identified the areas that need fixing, your contractor can solder the joints together (if they’re metal) or fix them with roofing cement (for vinyl and aluminum). If the gutters are sagging, they’ll need to be reaffixed. And if the damage is so bad that the gutter is warped, that section may need to be replaced altogether.
  • Leaking: Leaking gutters have either been punctured in some way, are overwhelmed in spots, or have started to separate. Again, you’ll need to have them cleaned first, identify the source of the leaks and have them patched.
  • Rotting: Rain gutters are most often attached to homes along the roofline. If water is backing up in the gutters, it can cause serious roof damage by rotting shingles that are sitting in that water. That water can then seep down into the walls, rotting out your siding, window frames, or even flooring, resulting in the need for extensive repairs later on.
  • Rust: Rust is a common problem with metal-based gutters when the surface is damaged or scratched and the metal below is exposed to water damage. Rust can eat away at your gutters, causing holes, joint separation and even pulling away from the home. You’ll want to keep your gutters clear of all debris to ensure water doesn’t back up and produce rust spots.

Gutter Repair Cost

Even the most well-maintained gutter systems need repairs sometimes. Putting off patching holes and soldering cracks can eventually result in much more expensive fixes, so it’s well worth taking care of the little stuff before it becomes big stuff.

Gutter repairs typically average about $350, but, depending on the amount of work, can cost anywhere from $150-$550. Factors that go into pricing include how many stories you have on your house, what type of material, the length of the gutters, and what kind of repair is being done. Professional contractors normally charge between $4-$30 per linear foot for labor.

Types of repairs can include:

  • Box Gutter: Box gutters are built into the structure of the house and can be costlier than other systems to repair. Contractors will charge between $20-$50 per linear foot to fix straight box gutters. If they have curves, they’ll be higher at $40-$50 per linear foot for materials, with installation at $70-$100 per linear foot.
  • Downspout Replacements: Downspouts are easily damaged and can often need replacing. Dismantling and safely disposing of old downspouts costs about $100 per job. Replacing them costs between $5-$11 per installation, depending on the material.
  • Gutter Repairs: If you don’t have seamless gutters and need to make repairs, you can change out just those sections, or if the damage is bad enough, the entire run. If you can get away with fixing just a few spots, you’re probably looking at around $350. The average cost for a full gutter replacement is $1500-$2500.

Gutter Cleaning Cost

It’s recommended that you clean your gutters 1-3 times a year depending on where you live, whether you’re surrounded by trees, and whether you have gutter guards or not. The average price to have gutters cleaned on a single-story house is between $150-$250. The price goes up to $200-$300 for a 2-story house as the contractors will need more safety equipment. More stories will add an additional $75-$200 per service. Most cleaning services charge by the linear foot, so you can estimate the cost at $1 per linear foot on single-story homes and $2 per linear foot on 2-story homes.

How Professionals Maintain and Clean Your Gutters

If you want your gutters to function as intended, you’ll need to make sure they are cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Following are the steps gutter companies will typically take to make sure your gutters are performing at their optimum year-round.

Checking the Gutters

The best way to tell if your gutters are working as they should is to go outside once a season during a downpour and see how the water is draining. Is it flowing easily through the gutters, down the downspout, and into the drain? Or is it overflowing in places, soaking into your roof, and spilling over onto your walls? A simple check will quickly let you know if there are leaks, loose seams or the slope is off. You’ll especially want to perform a more in-depth inspection before winter as it’s harder to clean gutters when it’s bitter cold outside and the water’s frozen solid.

First, gutter specialists will take a look at the gutters themselves to see if they’re sound. They’ll inspect the gutter hangers to make sure they’re fastened securely to the roofline. Then, they’ll measure to make sure the slope is still at the correct angle (about ¼” every ten feet) to send water to the downspouts. They’ll check to see if there are any rust spots, holes, or cracks, if the joints are separating or if the gutters themselves are sagging. Many of these problems can be fixed fairly easily after standing water and debris have been cleared out.

Cleaning the Gutters

Once problems have been noted, and it stops raining, it’s time to clean out the gutters. The gutter specialist will get up on a ladder, removing debris by hand and dumping it either in a bucket or on a tarp that can easily be emptied. They will pull all of the large masses out, working from one end of the gutter system to the other.

Next, they’ll take a hose with a spray nozzle and start spraying the end of the gutter furthest from the downspout to clean out leftover dirt and debris. This should flow easily through the gutters and out the downspout. If it doesn’t, they’ll know there might be blockages in the downspout.

To clean the downspout, they’ll spray up from the bottom at the highest pressure, hoping to free whatever’s stuck. If that doesn’t work, they may need to snake the drainpipe, just like a plumber. Once everything has come out, they’ll clean up, reaffixing anything that had to be loosened or removed to get at the clog.

Finally, they’ll get back up on the ladder and flush the gutters out again from the far end. Everything should be flowing properly now, through the gutters and down the downspout.

Gutter Repairs

While the gutter specialists are cleaning, they will take care to notice if there are any holes, cracks, or leaks in the system. Once the gutters are clean, they can set about fixing any problems they’ve found. These could have come from rust, temperature changes, flying debris, or overly heavy masses in the gutters. Whatever the cause, it’s important that the damage is fixed so it doesn’t cause more significant problems over time.

  • Fixing Holes: First, they’ll make sure the areas to be repaired are clean and dry. If the gutters are made of materials other than stainless steel and copper, small holes can likely be fixed with roofing cement. This is applied with a putty knife and smoothed out so there are no rough edges to catch debris.
  • Patching Leaks: If they notice rust holes, they’ll remove the rust with a wire brush. Then the damaged area will be coated with a rust treatment solution and allowed to dry. Next, roof cement will be applied to reseal the area and smoothed out to prevent future backups. Leaks at seams can be fixed with a sealant designed for the specific gutter material. And finally, if your gutters are stainless steel and copper, leaks, holes, and loose joints can be re-soldered so they are leak-proof.
  • Replacing Sections: Sometimes an entire section of guttering becomes damaged and has to be replaced. The contractor will first remove the existing hangers and cut out the damaged section. They’ll cut a new section of the same material to about 2” longer so it can sit comfortably inside the existing gutter. Then, they’ll caulk the inside, center it, and screw all of the pieces together. The final step is caulking all of the new seams to ensure water-tightness.
  • Adjusting Slope: if your gutters have become clogged, the gutter slope might have changed. Contractors will check to see if the pitch is still correct. If not, they’ll either bend existing hangers to get the slope back in line or add additional hangers to raise or lower the gutters as needed.
  • Reaffixing Hangers: If gutter hangers have come loose, they’ll either need to be screwed in again properly or replaced. Older style screw and ferrule hangers are affixed by drilling holes into the edge of the gutter and the fascia, then bolting the screw through the ferrule. More modern hidden hangers attach the back of the gutter to the fascia directly and then clip onto the inside front of the gutter. Some houses don’t have fascia boards so the gutters are attached via straps. The hanger is attached over the gutter, a strap is clipped on and then the gutter is hung by the straps under the roof’s shingles.
  • Installing Leaf Guards: Finally, if your gutters are open and tend to collect a lot of buildup, you may want to consider adding leaf guards. Depending on the material of your existing gutters, you can have your contractor add screens, mesh or even hoods to trap dirt and plant life on top and out of the gutters. Gutter guards can also come heated which reduces the chance of snow or ice buildup. These guards should help to keep the water flowing and reduce the chance of backups, even in the harshest of weather conditions.


Add years of life to your existing rain gutter system with regular cleaning and repairs. Find and compare local gutter repair services for your job, filtered by location and type. Get a free proposal and estimate within minutes with Spout Gutter Pros!

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