Before we start talking about the best way to carry out roof gutter cleaning, the cost of gutters or the cost of rain gutter repair, we have to understand what their purpose is, it is only then that we can realise the importance of cleaning gutters and why they should be kept clean.
Table of Contents
Identifying The Guttering
Depending on the style of the architecture of the building rain gutters may be:
- An integral trough formed along the lower edge of a roof and made from a combination of roof materials and flashing such as lead or copper. These are often found in roof valleys.
- A separate trough of metal, plastic or other water impervious material that is supported under the lower edge of the roof.
- An integral part of the wall beneath the lower edge of the roof that is made from masonry.
Whatever materials, the gutters are made from, the purpose is always the same; to divert rainwater ejected from the roof, cleanly and safely to a disposal place away from the building. But why do we have to get rid of this water? Although you might think that it is to prevent people standing under the roof eaves from getting wet, you would be wrong (although this is a secondary advantage). The two main reasons are:
- To prevent water from falling in a heavy torrent close to the walls which would cause the foundations to be washed away with the subsequent subsidence of the building’s structural walls.
- To prevent water from running down the walls resulting in ingress of damp into the house.
There is always a problem with rainwater and how to get rid of it safely.It is therefore imperative to keep the inside of the gutters clean and prevent the water from overflowing either onto the ground or into the building.
Gutter Repair Costs
Without a doubt, it is far better to ensure maintenance is done regularly because rain gutters cost far less to clean and repair than the total purchase and fitting cost of new gutters.
The following are a selection of indicative gutter repair and cleaning costs that will give you an idea of the prices we are talking about. Remember that the gutter cleaning costs and gutter repair costs will vary depending on the area of the country in which you live. As a general rule, any work done in London will always cost more than the remainder of the country.
|Guttering Task||Average Cost|
|Clean out guttering||£5 per metre|
|Replacing PVC gutter||£35 per metre|
|Replacing cast iron gutter||£60 per metre|
|Replacing gutter support bracket||£15 per item|
|New leaf guard cost to fit||£15 per length|
|New stop end||£15 per item|
|Replace gutter joint||£50 to £130|
|Rejoining gutter to a downpipe||£50 to £130|
Remember that roof access is difficult and not every job can be done from a ladder, it might need scaffolding which will result in higher prices. Because of this, it is vital to ask the professional to assess the job properly and to do everything that needs to be done while the scaffold is in place. It may even be worth having the fascia boards replaced if they are rotten or painted if they look tatty, and any loose roof tiles refixed while work is being done on the gutter.
If you decide to repair or replace parts of your guttering, remember that depending on when they were originally fitted they may have had different specifications to those available now. For example, the most obvious differences can be:
- Old gutters may have been sized in imperial measurements, rather than the metric system.
- Some gutter cross-sectional shapes may have been fashionable for a limited period of time and no longer available.
- Common materials are uPVC, aluminium, cast iron, lead and masonry. Up until the 1960s, many gutters were made from asbestos. These are now considered a health risk and are no longer sold. If they are in relatively good condition and aren’t producing dust, asbestos doesn’t need to be replaced and there are many repair products on the market to help seal and waterproof these without having to cut or drill. If the gutters are too far gone then they will have to be removed by a qualified professional and replaced with modern materials. When dealing with the other types, it is not easy and sometimes is impossible to mix materials when replacing gutter components, mainly because of the different joining methods, fixtures and profiles common to each material.
Rain gutter guards also known as gutter covers, or leaf guard gutters all work by preventing debris from getting into the gutters. Most gutter guards work well in autumn when large leaves and twigs are the main nuisances but these are almost useless in the spring when smaller buds, petals and small leaves are the culprits. The small pieces of debris are allowed through the slits and holes that most gutter guards have. If you are going to install a gutter guard costing perhaps many hundreds of pounds then do some research and choose the best gutter guards you can find. These are usually made from micromesh and clip onto the open trough to provide small openings through which the rain can drain leaving debris on the surface.
If gutters are left on their own without a regular inspection regime, problems that at first seem inconsequential can with time escalate into serious situations that will require major cleaning or repair maintenance or in extremes, replacement. These problems can be summarised as below.
- Cleaning. Gutters become clogged with leaves, soil, moss and other debris.
- Repair fixings. Gutters can sag or lean away from the eaves resulting in water pooling and overflowing or gutters just not doing their job.
- Badly located and fitted. Inexperienced fitting can result in gutters not being located properly or pitched with the incorrect slope.
- Physical damage. Storms and high winds together with poor fixing techniques can result in gutter sections falling away from the house.
- Wear and tear. Age and poor maintenance results in holes, leaks and poorly fitting joints.
The best way to reduce the gutter cleaning prices charged by those who make a living out of rain gutter cleaning is to make sure that the debris found in gutters is kept to a minimum. If you have trees or foliage overhanging roofs and gutters, ensure the branches are pruned to reduce the chances of debris finding its way onto the roof. Don’t allow the debris inside the gutters to build up, it is far easier to remove a little bit at more frequent intervals. The costs of cleaning are shown elsewhere in this article.
Gutter work almost certainly will involve working at height and it is for this reason that many householders prefer to ask a professional to do the work. In fact, the best way to make sure that the gutter doesn’t need repairing more than it should is to ask a professional to do all the work so it’s done correctly the first time. The only DIY aspect of gutter work is to clean out the debris as everything else needs specialist knowledge that only a professional can do properly.
Ask a few tradesmen to assess the job, and compare the results you get back. Discard those that are too high and any that seem suspiciously low. There will be a majority that is in roughly the same ballpark area and it is up to you to decide which person you prefer. See if the person has been hired by your friends or anyone else in your area and ask for some feedback on their performance. It is always better to hire someone from an unbiased recommendation from someone you know.