Clearing out the gutters most definitely ranks near the top of the most disliked household chores. Between the precarious heights, the up-and-down on the ladder, and the disgusting slop you pull out, it’s easy to see why. But despite the hassle of cleaning them, having gutters still outweighs the alternative, since they drain standing water off the roof, direct runoff away from foundations, and keep sand, dirt, and debris away from decks and sidewalks. Because of their necessary burden, many products have been introduced to reduce the maintenance required for this overhead installation. One of the newest, most affordable, and easily installed is a reticulated foam gutter insert.
Unlike similar spongy open-cell foams that make up products like an all-foam mattress, reticulated foam is non-absorbent and allows moisture to drain through its form, effectively acting as a large-scale filter. Debris is kept on top of the foam, while water drains through the pores and out the gutter. To accommodate the flow of water, these custom size foam forms are cut into a wedge shape, so the top of the gutter is fully protected, but inside, the material tapers down to leave open a channel for the flow of water.
Foam gutter inserts are more affordable than most gutter-protecting alternatives and barely require maintenance. Any debris that collects atop the foam 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 reach the debris. Installation is also a snap because of the material’s flexibility. Sold in packs of 3, 4, or 5 foot sections, they are easily squeezed in and stay in place. If you have to deal with dreaded gutter cleaning multiple times a year, consider adding gutter guards to help you stay off the ladder and in your comfort zone.