Cleaning the gutters ranks at the top of the list of worst household chores for many people. Between the precarious heights, climbing up-and-down the ladder, and the disgusting debris you have to shovel out, it would be hard to find somebody who enjoys the task. But despite the hassle it is to maintain them, having gutters still outweighs the annoyance of cleaning them, since they drain standing water off the roof, direct runoff away from building foundations, and keep sand, dirt, and debris away from decks and sidewalks. Because of the necessary burden gutters carry, many products have been introduced to reduce the maintenance required to keep them working. One of the newest, most affordable, and easily installed is a foam gutter insert made of reticulated, draining foam.
Unlike similar sponge foams used for comfort products like a foam mattress, reticulated foam is non-absorbent and allows moisture to drain through its form, effectively acting as a large filter. Debris is kept on top of the foam where it can be easily brushed or blown away, while water drains through the pores of the material and out the gutter. To accommodate the flow of water, these custom size foam forms are cut into a triangular wedge shape, so the top of the gutter is fully protected, while an open channel is left inside the gutter for the flow of rain water.
Foam gutter inserts are more affordable than many gutter alternatives and rarely require maintenance. Any debris that accumulates atop the gutter stopper either blows off or can be easily brushed away from the ground with a long-handled broom. At most, a single step-stool may be needed to have access to the debris. Installation is also a snap because of the flexibility of this open-cell foam. Sold in sections multiple feet long, they can be squeezed into the gutter, and then slid into place. If you deal with annoying, dirty, and dangerous gutter cleaning multiple times a year, consider adding foam gutter guards to help you stay off the ladder and in your comfort zone.