I’m going to be purchasing a hand held leaf blower to simplify gutter cleanouts. I was looking at the stihl 50 or the 86. Anyone have any feedback on what’s an ideal size for gutter work?
Then what, go around and clean up all that mess off the ground? We only use a blower if the debris is dry and the ground is already covered in leaves etc…
I have a big backpack that I just use for back-flushing the leaders from the ground. For scooping soupy garbage out of gutters, I just go up the ladder with a bucket. You don’t want to be blowing that all over the house and yard.
On houses we’ll be washing too, I see it being much quicker to walk the roof and blow the gutters out, blow off the roof, deal with the debris on the ground, than it would be moving a ladder all around while climbing up and down with a 5 gallon bucket.
I do it that way sometimes if it’s dry. But often, I just end up with mud on the driveway and the porch and the customer’s car and in the swimming pool. You have to go around and clean that up. I agree, it’s probably still faster, but one day I just decided spraying mud everywhere is antithetical to my core mission.
Here’s a tool that looks like it could work pretty well for this type of stuff:
Stihl bg55, or 50 if you can’t find the 55. Cleaning by hand is slow going. We do about 30000 town home units annually. Some are quarterly, others every six months and lots of apartment buildings. Not many houses. Cougar paw boots and stihl blowers. Screw out the spark arrestor on the 55.
I scoop all gutters by hand. Using a gutter spoon on an 8’ Garelick extension pole speeds things up considerably. I can clear about 20’ with each ladder set.
Average hourly rate for gutters for me is well over $80/hr (probably closer to $100), priced at $1/ft/floor, $125 minimum for in-town work, $175 out of town. Not as good as power washing, but better than windows. I only do a couple grand in gutters each fall, though.
Look up Jesse Green, Spark King window cleaning on youtube. He has a pretty good run-down of his setup. I use a lot of the same tools.
@Infinity I found his channel but dont see any of his gutter videos. Care to share the link?
I would rather suck then blow… by that I mean you can purchase attachments for a shop vac that allow you to clean them from the ground. No mess no fuss seems like the way to go. You can also get camera attachments so you can see in the gutters and what you are doing.
(Disclaimer* I don’t do gutters as of yet so this is all theoretical)
My business started out doing nothing but gutter cleaning. I mean before i even knew about power washing or soft washing. Going up on the roof with a blower and cleaning up on the ground afterward is exponentially faster than any other method…and trust me, I’ve tried them all. And we don’t even collect the ground debris, we simply blend it into the surrounding areas. Never once had a complaint. If the contents of the gutters are wet, you will make a mess on the outside of the gutters and possibly even on the house. Just hook up a hose and rinse it off. I promise you It’s still 100 times faster than a ladder and a bucket. If I may make a suggestion, get a backpack blower. You want your hands to be free going up and down the ladder and occasionally you’ll come across some thick stuff that you have to manually remove. So having your hands free is ideal. I have a Stihl backpack, can’t remember the model offhand, but I think it cost me $300 new. I’ve left that thing in the rain, dropped it from a story and a half up, and that thing still runs like new. It’s a beast.
I haven’t tried a shopvac on gutters, but I used to maintain amusement park rides. The cars would fill up with leaves while they were sitting in the lot. We had a pretty big vac at the shop, but it didn’t do much of anything. If you want to do it that way, I’d plan on a serious vacuum investment:
Thanks for everyone’s input. I’m definitely going the blower route. It will be the quickest method, even with the cleanup afterwards.
Alex, I will also look into the gutter scoop. That may be just the ticket for one story homes. Safety is the most important factor for me especially considering it will be my 19 year old son on the roof.
Thanks William for answering my question. I was looking at them both yesterday and they just happen to be on sale.
I also feel climbing up and down a ladder holding a 5 gl bucket, trying to lean way out while holding the bucket, is the unsafest method. And backpack blowers can throw off your balance. My son can climb upbthe roof, I can hand him the handheld blower, and he can get to work. If a problem arises, he can ditch the blower and have two free hands. Just seems to be the best way.
I have an echo blower that work’s amazing, also echo weedeater and polesaw. Good stuff. I’ve used stihl in the past and they always seem hard to start. Anyways, my 2 cents.
You’re not going to find one way that’s going to work for all jobs. we’re doing these gutters today and pressure washing, and you’re not going to walk this roof. If we tried to do these with a blower the process would be get on the ladder, go up, remove the gutter guards, come back down get the blower, go back up blow it out, come back down, get the gutter guards, go back up, and reinstall them.
it’s just easier to set the ladder, take up a 5 gallon bucket, remove the guards, clean with the gutter scoop by hand, reinstall the guards, come back down and reset the ladder and repeat.
Agreed. You’re not gonna find one method that always works. I’ll have a best method for each scenario.
Do you guys charge more if they have gutter guards?
I’ve heard good things about the Echo. My uncle runs a husqvarna shop in Florida and tells me to stay away from Stihl because they’re so hard starting. I’ve just always liked their chainsaws. I may look at the Echo blowers and maybe even a Husqvarna.
I would. More work = more time = more $$