Foam Gutter Guards Pros and Cons

Below is our guide to the foam gutter guards pros and cons, cleaning tips, how long they last, and the most effective types of gutter guards for your roof. 
Rain gutter system with foam gutter guards on roof of houseYour home’s gutter system protects your home from the effects of bad weather. You may have heard that foam gutter guards are a good way to maintain your gutter system and, in this post, were going to through foam gutter guards pros and cons. 

A good gutter system protects your roof, windows, siding, and foundation from water damage by keeping water from accumulating in these areas. Gutter guards help keep your gutters working properly by ensuring that they don’t get clogged by debris such as leaves and twigs.[toc]

What Are Foam Gutter Guards?

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Foam gutter guards, also known as gutter sponges, are foam inserts that are meant to fit inside your gutter. Foam gutter guards are usually made of either porous polyether or polyurethane foam. 

Gutter guards are meant to keep your gutter from clogging and foam gutter guards do this by catching leaves, twigs, and debris when water flows through your gutters.

Since foam gutter guards are porous, water can flow through easily, but debris will be caught in the foam and kept from going into your gutters. Check out our guide to the parts of a house exterior for more related article.

To help you keep your gutters working properly see our foam gutter guards pros and cons.

Pros Of Foam Gutter Guards

Modern brick house with metal roof rain gutter system and snow guardEasy to install – The biggest pro of foam gutter guards is the ease of installation. You don’t need to hire anyone to install foam gutter guards, you can do it yourself. 

Easy to Fit – It’s also relatively simple to find and choose the right size of foam gutter guard for any type of gutter. All you need to do is measure your gutters and find gutter sponges that will fit. If you can’t find something that fits exactly, you can also easily cut or trim foam gutter guards to fit.

Can prevent frequent cleaning of gutters – Foam gutter guards conform to the shape of your gutters and allow water to get in and flow through the gutters but keep out the leaves and twigs. By doing so, they can cut down on how often you need to clean your gutters.

Inexpensive – When it comes to price, foam gutter guards are some of the least expensive types of gutter guards out there. Gutter sponges cost only about $2 per foot and you can easily find them in a hardware store. 

Cons Of Foam Gutter Guards

A worker cleaning house gutter with foam gutter guards from leaves and dirtCan clog with leaves and debris – The biggest con of foam gutter guards is debris can “fill” the foam and inhibit the ability of water to flow through the gutter guards. When water builds up in the foam, it can also cause your gutters to clog. Gutter foam, when filled with debris or moisture, can also attract pests.

Needs regular cleaning – Gutter guards require regular cleaning, and this can be difficult. You’re going to need to remove them from your gutters before manually cleaning out the debris and rinsing and sanitizing them.

Can lose shape over time – While gutter guards can benefit from cleaning, cleaning itself can affect their ability to effectively guard your gutters. When you remove your gutter guards, they lose some of their shape, which means you might not be able to properly reinsert them into your gutters.

Need to remove in freezing weather – Another con of foam gutter guards is that, if you live in an area where you experience freezing winters, you’re going to need to remove your foam gutter guards when the temperature drops.

If you don’t, the gutter guards might freeze and, when they thaw in the spring you could find moss or weeds growing in your gutter guards. 

Are Foam Gutter Guards Any Good?

Foam gutter guards can be good with some cautions. If you are looking for an inexpensive and easy-to-install gutter guard system. However, you should probably avoid them if you live in an area with heavy rainfall or if you live in an area where there are a lot of trees, which could drop debris into your gutters.

If you live in an area with light rainfall, the foam of the gutter guards should be able to easily filter the water through your gutters, especially if there isn’t much debris from surrounding trees that can also clog up the foam.

They also require frequent maintenance and cleaning to continue working properly. This can entail climbing on a ladder which can be dangerous or paying a handyman which can be costly. 

How Long Do Foam Gutter Guards Last?

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Under ideal conditions, areas where the rainfall is light and there is not much debris that gets into the gutters, foam gutter guards could last for about three to five years. 

Mostly, as long as you don’t have to remove your foam gutter guards too often, they should last longer and won’t get misshapen. You may also visit our guide on the types of roof overhangs that protects the exterior of a house here.

How Do You Clean Foam Gutter Guards?

Again, unless you live in an area with a lot of trees and where a lot of debris gets in your gutters, you are not going to need to clean your gutters too often.

Unless there’s a lot of debris stuck in your foam gutter guards, you don’t even need to remove them to clean them, just wipe them down with algaecide and clean the surface maybe once or twice a year.

What Is The Most Effective Type Of Gutter Guard?

The most effective type of gutter guard tends to be mesh gutter guards. These are basically screens attached to a supporting frame that can be attached to your gutters.

Plastic guard over new dark grey plastic rain gutter on asphalt shingles roofMesh or screen gutter guards partially cover your gutter, preventing debris from falling into them without keeping rainwater from falling into the gutters where it can be filtered away.

Mesh gutter guards will need to be cleaned regularly, otherwise, algae and mold might grow on the wet screens. They are relatively durable, however, so they are usually worth the cost.

Another type of gutter guard that you might want to look into is the brush-style gutter guard. It’s a bit more effective under heavy debris conditions than foam gutter guards, but less costly than mesh gutter guards. 

Plastic guard brush style in dark grey plastic rain gutter on asphalt shingles roofBrush-style gutter guards fit inside your gutter; they are usually made of a metal core with polypropylene bristles extending from the center. The idea is, water can pass through, but the bristles catch the debris.

When deciding what type of gutter guards to install, you should take the weather conditions in your area into consideration. Foam gutter guards are efficient and budget-friendly options for some homes, but others might be served better by a mesh or brush-style gutter guard system. 

Visit more home improvement-related content like acrylic roof coatings pros and cons and silicone roof coating pros and cons here.

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