Ask the Engineer About Using Foam Inserts as Gutter Guards

Foam inserts for gutter guards--do they work?

As an engineer my opinion is that the best application for foam is for packing materials or a great quality mattress but not as a gutter guard.

For a moment pretend that you are a blossom. You and thousands of your blossom buddies fall onto a gutter that is filled with a foam insert. You are a beautiful blossom and so are your buddies, but your life as a blossom is coming to an end. Why? Either your time has expired on the tree or you've been knocked off by a few hard hitting rain drops--ouch. Point is that you are now laying on top of a foam insert--a cushion of sorts. But you really don't need a cushion since you are so light in weight.

Now what's in store for you? Are you going to be blown away? Or will you be somehow dislodged and drop to earth? Or might a raccoon, bird, or squirrel trample you? Let's remember that foam makes an excellent mattress. So what happens with the wind? Will you be lifted from your comfortable mattress and be air born again? Think for a moment, how might this occur?

Remember that you are right on top of the gutter lying on this comfortable cushion. Any wind whipping down the roof will simply overshoot the gutter and go off into space. Wind whipping toward the gutters will simply knock you into the rear portion of the gutter. Wind whipping along the gutter will simply blow you toward the other end of the gutter--maybe a couple of your buddies will get air born, however, you have no place to go and are stuck in the gutter. And if you've been wetted by a few rain drops there's no fluff in you to sail away--a soggy mess you are. And after you dry, you've been flattened on the comfortable mattress.

What comes next? Answer: you shall dry, break into many small pieces and accumulate on this comfortable mattress. In time many of your friends will come to your party and all of your together will just shut all holes and openings in the foam and keep rain water from getting into the gutter. The engineer suggests that you forget about foam inserts. Is it possible that the leaves in the Fall will behave differently? Don't think so. Just more of you to accumulate that much faster.

The engineer will suggest that the answer to keeping leaves and blossoms from getting into the gutter is a solid top gutter cover. To find one such type, Google "Niagara gutter guards". Again, if you're a blossom you'll fall onto the top of the gutter guard you'll drop onto the top of the gutter cover if you're a blossom. If you're dry, a slight bit of wind will blow you away--no comfortable mattress there for you. Yet if you're soggy and wet, you will stay stuck on top of the gutter guard. However, the rain water will gently tug on you as it passes you on its journey into the gutter. In fact over the course of several minutes it will gently wash you along with it so that you will hug the contour of the gutter guard. And guess where you will go? Answer: Most of you will wash directly into the gutter along with the rain water and if there are a bunch of your from a real big close tree, then enough of you will get into the gutter to clog it. If you ask the engineer, the Niagara type of gutter guard works fine if your tree is at least a hundred feet or so from the gutter and the prevailing winds are away from the house.

Next, Google "Care Free vinyl gutter covers" and you'll see that instead of one long fin as in the Niagara leaf guard, you'll see a row of louvers. Suddenly the chances of a blossom getting to the ground is much easier. Only a few of you will get washed into the gutter than with the Niagara kind of leaf guard. But if you ask the engineer for the best gutter guard, I'll tell you it's a double row louvered gutter cover. Yes, Mr, or Mrs Blossom, can you imagine not one but two rows of louvers?

Go ahead and Google "double row louvered gutter guard" and you'll find a bunch of articles written by me --wow I write a lot. Let me save you some time, just Google "The Number One Gutter Protector" or "Waterloov Gutter Guard" and right there you will notice two gutter guards with two rows of louvers. Now Mr. or Mrs. Blossom, what are your chances of getting into that gutter and causing mayhem? The answer is zero if you ask the engineer. Sure, if you're wet, you might get washed onto the louvers and perhaps even cover a few louvers, but guess what? The owner of your tree—Mr. Homeowner, will see you resting there and be able to help you along to the ground by using his telescopic pole and brush to dislodge you and speed you on toward the ground along with your friends.

So ask the engineer which is the best gutter guard or the best gutter cover to allow blossoms and of course leaves find their way to the ground I'll tell you it's the two row louvered leaf guard--nothing else. And would you believe that within a couple dollars per foot, most gutter guards all sell for around the same dollars?

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About The Author

 Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E. Engineer and inventor of
good gutter guards:,
better gutter,
and the best gutter and