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What are Foam Gutter Guards

If you want to install lower-maintenance gutter guards on your home, you probably can’t do much better than foam gutter guards. So, what are foam gutter guards, and how do they work to make them easier to keep up? 

Foam gutter guards are triangular foam wedges sized up to eight feet that you can cut to size to fit tight inside your home’s gutters. They are thick, porous, and usually made of polyurethane or a similar open-cell foam. Think of them as a filter that blocks debris while allowing water runoff to flow through your gutters freely.  

We’ll provide a more in-depth look at foam gutter guards and highlight their pros and cons. We’ll also look at the cost of foam gutter guards and provide insight into when they might be a good option for your home.

How Do Foam Gutter Guards Work?

These types of guards are relatively durable and do a great job of blocking large and small debris while allowing water to seep through the foam and then flow into the gutters. Foam gutter guards also allow the runoff from your roof to strike a soft surface as it enters the gutter, helping reduce splashing during a heavy rain event.

Other gutter guard types, such as reverse curve, can struggle to work well when the velocity and volume of the water are high. The harder surfaces found in other gutter guards sometimes deflect the water instead of collecting it, potentially rendering them less effective.

Some foam gutter guards can be installed by compression instead of a mechanical fastener. This allows them to be trimmed as needed for a perfect fit, increasing their effectiveness. This design also makes foam gutter guards easy to install without power tools and easily replaceable when needed.

Other versions of foam gutter guards attach similarly to screen gutter guards, which use a metal or plastic clip to attach to the front lip of the gutter.

Pros and Cons of Foam Gutter Guards

While foam gutter guards have certain advantages, they may not be ideal for every situation. Here are a few of the pros and cons of installing foam gutter guards:


  • Foam gutter guards are one of the best solutions for filtering debris. They’re also one of the more inexpensive gutter guards you can buy.
  • Due to their form fit, many foam gutter guards require no fasteners. This means there’s nothing to rust or maintain. Foam guards are trimmed to fit snugly so that the runoff must pass through the foam.
  • Impacts such as sun exposure and freezing temperatures have little effect on foam gutter guards, so they can often take more abuse than other types of gutter guards and keep functioning.
  • Installing foam gutter guards is a good DIY project. You need more patience than skill when it comes to foam guards.
  • They are also less affected by an incorrect gutter slope.
  • Foam guards are also very easy to conceal, unlike gutter guards that are mounted on top of the gutter.


  • Installation can be time-consuming, especially when using the compression method.
  • Because they filter so well, foam gutter guards often require more frequent cleaning than other versions.
  • Aggressive cleaning can damage some versions, so you must keep this in mind.
  • Not the best fire-resistant gutter guard option if you live in an area where wildfires are common.

Ideal Applications

Foam gutter guards are a great option for a durable, low-maintenance gutter guard solution. The cost of foam gutter guards makes them affordable, especially if you want to install them yourself.

Here are instances where foam gutter guards should be on your list of options:

  • Impacts on your roof and gutters keep damaging your metal gutter guards.
  • You have a small to moderate budget to work with.
  • Small debris, like roof granules, seeds, and dirt, keep clogging up your downspouts.
  • You don’t mind cleaning your gutter guards or hiring a gutter professional to do it for you.

Applications Where Other Guards Work Better

Sometimes, choosing another type of gutter guard will make more sense. Consider an alternative to foam gutter guards in these cases.

  • Most of your debris problem is caused by large leaves, cones, and twigs, and less by dirt and granules. Reverse curve or micro mesh gutter guards might be a better option, as they require less cleaning.
  • You want to avoid as much maintenance as possible. Reverse curve or micro mesh guards will require fewer trips up the ladder than foam gutter guards.
  • You live in a fire-prone area. Some experts have warned that foam gutter guards ignite easily and spread rapidly. So, if you live near wildfires, opting for another type of gutter guard is probably best.

Installation Tips

Learning how foam gutter guards work is not complex, but attention to detail is important. Trimming should be done with care and patience because the goal is a snug fit, not a tight or loose one. 

Here are a few installation tips from the pros to help you avoid first-time mistakes:

  • If you’re using the mechanical clip method, avoid the temptation to drill all your mounting holes before installing the first section. Foam gutter guards can flex a bit, so they may relax after sitting in the gutters for a few minutes. Install one section at a time, allowing the material to relax as you install it.
  • If using the compression method, trim the foam with the appropriate tool and make small adjustments. You can always remove more, but avoid using small pieces to correct over-trimming, as these may catch the wind and blow off.
  • The foam may expand or contract a little once it acclimates to the outdoor temperature, so follow the directions carefully. Some may suggest leaving the material outdoors the night before installation to allow the material to adjust to the temperature.
  • If your gutters are twisted or otherwise damaged, make the repairs before installing foam gutter guards. Foam guards should form into the shape of the gutter over time, so ensure they’ve done so after their placement.

Maintenance Requirements

Once installed, foam guards only require periodic cleaning. However, if your clogging problem is severe, you’ll need to clean them at least four times a year.

Repair requirements are fairly low with foam gutter guards, as they are durable and UV resistant. However, they often catch more debris than others, requiring more cleaning. 

Cleaning foam gutter guards often involves removing each section and rinsing it with a garden hose. A good shake will often dislodge twigs and needles if the debris is dry.

Generally, if you have to clean your gutters more than four times per year, it’s best to consider options that need less cleaning. These include micro mesh and reverse curve gutter guards, as they deflect most of the debris instead of catching it.

Cost Comparison

The cost of foam gutter guards falls somewhere in the midrange for common gutter guards. Expect to pay between $2.50 and $4.50 per foot, depending on your region and the type of guard you select.

Brush-style gutter guards are similar in price to foam but can cost a bit less for labor if you’re hiring the job out to a contractor. 

If you’re installing foam gutter guards yourself, the cost of the materials will be in the same range.

For comparison, some screen-type gutter guards may be less expensive than foam, typically costing between $2.00 and $3.00 per foot. Most gutter companies will charge about the same to install foam as screen-style guards, as both take longer than brush-type guards.

Foam Gutter Guards Offer Effectiveness and Durability

Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on how foam gutter guards work and where they are most effective. They are a great choice for durability and effective rainwater filtration. 

Because they assume the shape of the gutter, foam gutter guards block most types of debris. But expect to clean your gutter guards frequently or hire a pro at least twice yearly.

Contact our local gutter experts for a free estimate. We can assess your gutters, make recommendations, and ensure whichever gutter guards you purchase will work as promised.


How do you remove foam gutter guards?

Removal methods depend on how the foam gutter guards were installed. Some use a metal or plastic clip to secure the foam to the gutter’s outer lip. Others are dense enough to be pressed into shape using compression, so you simply lift them out to remove them.

Why should you put a sponge in your downspout?

If you are annoyed by the noise dripping water makes when it falls inside your downspout, you can place a sponge in the bottom to absorb the water quietly. Never place the sponge on the upper end of the downspout, as it may become washed down into the downspout and cause a clog.

Is gutter foam flammable?

There is a debate about this. Most gutter guard manufacturers will say they are not flammable. But many fire experts disagree. Most foam gutter guards are made from polyurethane foam, a type of plastic. Even if the foam is fire-resistant, it could melt. The bottom line is to be aware of potential risks and decide if they are right for your situation.