Gutter cleaning is both a tedious and dangerous job. Having to climb up on a ladder to clean your gutters on a regular basis leaves you exposed to risks that could imply falling and hurting yourself. Gutter guards can prevent gutters from getting clogged, they keep pesky critters away from nesting inside the gutters, and they keep you safe as you’ll have to spend much less time on a ladder.
Backyard Boss Top 4 Foam Gutter Guards for 2021
|GutterStuff EZ Foam Gutter Insert||
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|GutterStuff Original Foam Gutter Insert||
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|GutterStuff PRO FR Gutter Insert||
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|GutterStuff EZ Flat Style Foam Gutter Insert||
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Why You Should Trust Us
I was barely 14 the first time I worked with gutter guards. My father was a general contractor back then, and his father is a genuine journeymen roofer with over 50 long years of working on roofs under his belt. During the 1990s, I worked with my dad’s roofing crew in the summertime. Part of the job was removing, cleaning, and reinstalling the gutters after the roof was finished. Sometimes the homeowners had us install guards before putting the gutters back up as well.
That said, finding good foam gutter guards is not easy. They are considered to be the underdogs of the gutter guard realm, which makes people pretty skeptical about buying them. However, foam inserts do pose a lot of benefits, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Just look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the top four foam inserts of the moment and see for yourself.
Best Foam Insert for 4-Inch Gutters
Considered as one of the most efficient products of its kind, this foam gutter guard manufactured by GutterStuff has a three year warranty period to stand beside the quality of this item. This EZ version is for 4-inch wide gutters, however, the manufacturer offers them in 5-inch and 6-inch widths as well.
Because it’s basically a triangle made from foam, installing this gutter guard is a really fast and easy process since there are no tools required. Because of its simplicity, the system will not, in any way, damage the gutters or mess with the roof, which are two very important things to consider when you’re on the market shopping for gutter guards.
But the most important thing to know is what you can expect from a product like the foam insert made by GutterStuff EZ. Aside from being available in three sizes, you might be interested in knowing that since it fits completely inside the gutter, it’s basically invisible from the ground up, which is a plus for homeowners interested in aesthetics. Aside from that, the foam insert will trap all forms of debris on its surface, but still, allow rainwater to pass through. The UV protection will keep these foam inserts protected from the sun’s damaging rays.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Some of our favorite things about these particular guards is that they take barely any time to install, and just about anyone can do it themselves, especially because each piece weighs just a single pound. We also like that they are resistant to the sun.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: If you’re looking for foam gutter protectors that are made to be durable, efficient, and easy to install, GutterStuff EZ is a product that meets all of these requirements, and more.
Best Foam Insert for 5-Inch Gutters
This gutter guard is made from high-end plastic and foam, which should be more resistant than more basic types of foam in the long run. That said, as with all the other gutter guard types and styles that are produced by GutterStuff, the “Original,” is also very easy to install. The only tool you will require is a Stanley knife. There is zero hardware involved with the installation. That means you won’t be voiding the warranty on your roof or gutter guards.
The product comes with eight pieces, each is four foot long and fits flush into 5-inch wide gutters. They are coated with germicide and UV protectant as well. That means they are not likely to shrink much over the first few years of constant sun exposure. It also means that they will prevent most of the potential moss growth in your gutters.
WHY WE LIKE IT: The fact that these guards weigh less than half a pound each is one of the things we really like. We also really dig the fact that they are germicide coated and prevent moss growth, a common issue with other foam guards.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Because these gutter guards are from silicone, they have a longer lifespan compared to regular polyurethane foam, which makes them a solid choice for people who are looking to make a solid investment over the years.
Best Foam Insert for 6-Inch Gutters
The name of the PRO FM gutter guards from GutterStuff hints that these are higher-quality than the other versions. And that is exactly the case. This version is not only the largest of its kind, but it also has the most benefits including the most heavy-duty construction. The guards are 6-inches wide and therefore fit most of the larger gutter systems commonly found on homes.
This model comes with the same great UV protection and germicide coatings as the original version, and it also includes a fire-resistant coating as a final layer. All things considered, it is one of the most durable and safe foam type guards for gutters currently available on the market. That is why the manufacturer includes a lifetime warranty with this version of their product; it is genuinely top of the line for foam gutter guards.
WHY WE LIKE IT: We absolutely love the fact that these bad boys come with a lifetime warranty. We think it speaks volumes about the overall quality of the product and the manufacturer’s faith in it. We also really like that they are coated with a fire-resistant layer.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Anyone looking for a lightweight and long-lasting protection for their gutters would do well to consider these particular guards. Further, if you want a product that you can install yourself, and still get lifetime coverage even though you aren’t a professional installer, this could be the best product for you.
Best “Invisible” Foam Insert for Gutters
The second EZ option on our list is this flat-style version. It is made with the same high-end and long-lasting materials as the k-style guards from GutterStuff but it is an inch or two wider, depending on which size you’re looking at or comparing it to, and as much as three or four inches slimmer. They measure six inches wide, in their largest size, and just a single inch in height. That said, it is the sleekest design the brand offers and is practically invisible from the ground-level of your property.
The guards are lightweight, simple to install (they slide-in and lock into place), and will not void your roof or gutter system warranties. The downside is that they will still need to be cleaned from time to time, and if you want them to last more than a few years, they will need to be removed during the coldest months of the year to prevent freezing and becoming hard and brittle after a couple of winters come and go.
WHY WE LIKE IT: This version of the GutterStuff EZ foam guards is the best looking once installed because you can’t see them from the ground. It also supposedly does a better job preventing small debris from entering your gutter system and making mud.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: For those who are searching for a tried and true foam guard that will protect their existing gutter systems, even the wide ones, and not void their roof warranty, this pick may be the one for you.
What to Look for in Foam Gutter Guards
This gutter guard type is not the most popular in the industry, but they do have their advantages. They are inexpensive, easy to install, and generally do a good job at preventing debris. Here are a few of the most important considerations you should make before picking the best ones for you.
Ease of Installation
How hard are they to install? The answer to this question should be easily found along with the product description of the particular guards you are interested in. If not, you will surely find mention of this in the reviews. Make sure to pick a product that you will be able to install easily enough, unless you are hiring professionals, then this consideration isn’t as significant.
Quality of Materials
Obviously, the main material used for construction in any of these products is foam. But, not all foam is created equally. Some foam guards are made with a mixture of plastic, while others contain silicon. There are even cheap ones that are basically nothing more than the type of styrofoam that you would find in a throwaway foam cooler. So, pay close attention to the construction materials of the guards you are thinking about buying.
The quality of the materials has a lot to do with the overall durability of these types of products. That said, so does the design and other factors like where you live and what the weather is like, the size of your gutters, and more. Look for products with warranties as they tend to be the most durable. Even more, the amount of time on the warranty is typically about how long the manufacturer believes the product will last.
When dealing with this gutter guard style, UV protection should be a priority. Unless you plan on replacing them every couple of years, as that is about how long guards without UV protection tend to last. It may seem like a small detail, but you really don’t want to overlook it. After all, these guards will more than likely be in direct sunlight the majority of the time, which can cause shrinking and/or hardening.
The point of a good gutter guard is to reduce the amount of overall maintenance, timewise as well as financially. Keep that in mind while browsing for the best product for your existing gutters. The last thing you want is to have to go out and clean your guards more often than you would have needed to clean your gutters in the first place. That said, no guard is 100-percent maintenance-free, so choose wisely.
Cost and Warranty Options
If you’re like most of us, you are shopping with a budget. Whatever the size of it is, there is definitely a foam gutter guard in your range. However, again, not all products are made with the same quality or come with equal coverage. Take into consideration that the longer the warranty, the higher the price tends to be. We’re not suggesting to blow your budget, but we don’t recommend going with the cheapest option just to save a few dollars, either.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Foam Gutter Guards or Inserts
As you have probably gathered by now, foam type guards come with plenty of advantages and disadvantages. Below, we’ve summarized the most significant ones.
Foam Gutter Guard Pros
Foam guards are one of the least expensive types on the market and also the easiest to install. Just about anyone can put them in, even with little to no experience with home repair or construction. They are also one of the easier styles to clean and maintain, all it takes is a quick wiping down once a year unless you just happen to live in a forest, then it may require more frequent cleaning.
Furthermore, the best foam guards out there are UV and fire-resistant, discourage moss growth, and for the most part eliminate the possibility of small debris and water forming layers of mud in your gutters. Oh yeah, did we mention there are also convenient downspout and drain tube foam guards?
Foam Gutter Guard Cons
The downside to many foam guards for gutters boils down to the fact that they need to be removed each winter or else they will freeze. And, while frozen foam may not seem like a big deal, so long as they are still doing their job and blocking debris, it can lead to other problems. In the spring, when they unthaw, they can propagate moss as well as act like a germination bed for weeds.
Another major con of some of these products is that if they are not UV-resistant they will fade, shrink, and crack or break apart after just a couple of years. That said, the best ones are coated with a protective coating that blocks UV rays. One last complaint about the various styles of foam units is that they may allow enough space for mosquitos to breed in your gutter systems during wetter and warmer times of the year.
Common Mistakes When Buying Gutter Guards
There’s no doubt about it: gutter guards are a must-have, especially if your yard is home to a lot of trees. This increased the odds of leaves, insects, and other tree-related debris not clogging the gutter system, leaving you hanging on top of the ladder, doing some sort of risky shenanigans to clean the gutters. However, there are a number of mistakes that people tend to make when they’re out shopping for gutter guards.
Mistake #1: Focusing Solely on Price
Whether you are on a budget or not, the price is an important purchasing factor and should be treated as such. However, people often fall into the trap of constantly questioning a product, wondering why in the world does it have such a high price. Have you ever wondered that perhaps, you are looking at this problem from the wrong angle? The next time you come across a company that sells gutter guards that you feel are overpriced, considering the following questions:
- What problems could I be facing if I installed this sponge gutter guard system?
- Why do I need gutter guards in the first place?
- What happens when my gutters get clogged with debris?
- How much I am really exposing myself to risks when I constantly have to clean the gutter all by myself?
- What do other people feel about this particular gutter guard system?
Mistake #2: Thinking That All Gutter Guard Systems Are the Same
We can’t really say we blame you on this one. Most of the major brands that sell good gutter guards claim that their product is the best, the safest, with the best warranty, doesn’t damage your roof, doesn’t make your gutters collapse, and is simply a wonder amongst home improvement products.
The important thing to keep in mind is that there isn’t a magical product that’s absolutely perfect for every customer and every situation. Foam inserts, for instance, are a wonderful choice for some people, who simply can’t imagine using anything else. But for people that live in a dusty area or have to face falling pine needles problems the entire time, foam inserts may not the best option. Instead, consider a micro-mesh option.
Since gutter guards have different shapes and attributes and are made from different materials, it makes sense that they aren’t completely identical to one another. Every type of gutter guard can be considered the best choice for particular situations.
For pine needles, for instance, you need specific guards that have a very fine surface, without any large holes that would allow needles to infiltrate the gutters themselves. This mistake is very much tied to the first one. Why would you want to buy an expensive gutter guard if they’re basically all the same?
Mistake #3: Underestimating the Long Term Benefits
The walls of your house, the roof, and the gutter system are actually more related to one another than you know. In fact, it makes sense considering that these three elements are physically connected to one another. Yes, but how does this make gutter guards a good investment?
The shortest answer to this question is this: gutter guards are means to protect your home against weather, and when something bad happens to your gutter, this can affect the walls and the roof of your house, as well. What you need to understand at this point is that the gutter system of your home keeps your walls, your roof, and the foundation of your house protected.
Gutters are attached to walls. When these gutters begin to bend or break under the heavy accumulation of debris, they begin to move further away from your walls, causing damage. When your gutter system does not operate at its full capacity, the water from your roof begins pouring down the exterior walls of your home. This water can eventually reach the foundation of the house, causing even more damage. Conclusion: a healthy and fully functional gutter system keeps other elements of your home’s structure safe.
Mistake #4: Over-Trusting Salespeople
One of the many benefits of ordering stuff on the internet is that you can avoid the nuisance of a salesperson that just won’t let you look around the store, but will rather track you down and hunt you with a million questions and product offers, especially if they are hired on a sales commission-type of earning system.
If you do end up looking for gutter guards by visiting a brick and mortar store, it might be helpful for you to be on the lookout for sales representative trying to sell you features you don’t need. This brings us back to the aforementioned statement, that not all products are the same, which means there isn’t a product perfect for every situation.
Well, you can’t really blame salespeople in this situation. They are so well-trained, they really believe all that stuff they’re trying to sell you, about how their product is the best one in the world, which can completely fix whatever gutter-related problem you may have. They will try to convince you that their product will exceed all your expectations.
Steer clear of salesmen that don’t know how to ask the right questions. Always be skeptical when you’re presented with a magical solution, coming from a person that hasn’t even taken the time to hear about your problem.
In this case, the best thing you can do is educate yourself before going shopping. If the sales representative fails to ask you the right questions, you should be prepared with a list of inquiries of your own. Get objective information and specs that would help you compare several gutter guards. This is the best way to avoid all the fluff and get a product that’s actually right for you.
Foam Gutter Guards FAQs
Just in case we didn’t answer all of your questions already, we added a few of the most commonly asked questions that we found about foam gutter guards.
Do foam gutter guards work?
Absolutely, foam gutter guards work just as well as most types. That said, depending on your idea of how a gutter guard should work, or for how long, for that matter, there may be a type that works better for you and your home.
How long does gutter foam last?
Foam gutter guards can last a lifetime, but more often they max out at a lifespan of around three to five years. The higher quality ones, like the PRO FM guards from GutterStuff, that we featured in the review above, comes with a lifetime warranty and could very well last for the rest of your life if properly maintained.
Do foam gutter guards cause problems?
The most common problems caused by foam gutter guards, and most other types, are the propagation of moss, accumulation of mud, and not fully protecting gutters from insects and small rodents. The best ones, however, prevent almost all of these issues.
Choosing the Best Foam Gutter Guards for Your Home
Up to this date, there are people that consider foam guards to be extremely inefficient in keeping gutters protected. It’s true that foam gutters do pose a series of both advantages and downsides, so you may still be wondering why choose this product over others in its category?
First off, foam gutter guards are really easy to install. That’s because they don’t require any fiddling with the walls, roof, or the gutter system itself. They’re mostly the type of product that you just slide in there and have it do its job. Another important advantage is the fact that the foam surface can literally trap any form of debris, while also allowing rainwater to enter the gutters and flow freely.