Foam Gutter Guard: the Pros & Cons
Foam gutter guards, a.k.a. gutter foam or gutter sponges, have been doing the rounds in Aussie house gutters for years now. But are they all they’re cracked up to be? Or are they just a cheaper, subpar alternative to sturdy gutter mesh? Let’s find out!
What is foam gutter guard?
There are several different types and brands of foam gutter guard on the market, but they all tend to work in the same way.
First and foremost they act as a filter, sitting inside the gutter and blocking the way in from leaves, sticks, tennis balls, rubbish and other kinds of debris.
In theory, their porous nature allows water to continue to flow through, while preventing any debris from entering the gutter system and causing blockages.
Here’s what we know about the way foam gutter guards work and what the pros and cons of installing them on your home are…
What are the pros of foam gutter guard?
Easy to install
All it takes to install a foam gutter guard is for the piece of foam to be cut to size and slipped into the gutter itself, making them very simple to install.
Because they’re made of simple foam materials, they don’t cost much to manufacture, making them a relatively inexpensive gutter guard option. You also save considerably on labour because you don’t really need a specialist gutter guard fitter to jam the foam into the gutter.
What are the cons of foam gutter guard?
Requires regular replacement
These types of gutter guards don’t tend to live a long life because they’re not made from quality materials, so the need for replacement usually pops up much sooner than other, more durable types of gutter guards like mesh guards.
Doesn’t work well in heavy rain
What happens to a sponge when it fills up with water? It eventually starts to leak out in all directions. Foam gutter guards tend to soak up heavy rainwater, then the water sits in the foam inside the gutter until it can’t hold anymore and begins to overflow onto the roof or over the side of the gutter edge.
Becomes brittle over time
Foam gutter guards tend to become dry and brittle over time, especially from sitting in the sun, causing the guard to fall apart and break up in the gutter, leaving foam debris when it is eventually removed and replaced. This requires an additional level of clean up.
Leaf matter gets stuck
The porous nature of foam gutter guards leave room for smaller leaves, twigs and seeds to fall in and get lodged, causing more harm than good. When plants and seeds are dropped in, the moist nature of the foam provides the perfect habitat for seedlings and mould to sprout and spread.
Should I use foam gutter guard in my gutters?
We certainly wouldn’t recommend it because it’s really not up to the standards of other more effective gutter guard solutions. It may be cheaper upfront, but the fact that it isn’t super durable means you’ll be having to replace it more often and, essentially, spending more over time than you would with a once off installation of a premium mesh. The choice is entirely up to you though.
We don’t stock foam gutter guards here at Leafbusters because we don’t believe they work well at all, but if you’re after a gutter guard that’s going to provide a high-quality service for many years to come (with the right upkeep, of course), feel free to get in touch with our team for a quote.
We’ve got metal gutter mesh, polyethylene gutter mesh and even gutter mesh that’s been specifically created to be more effective in bushfire prone areas to help keep embers from entering the home through the gutters.