Ask the Engineer About Foam As A Gutter Guard

Do foam inserts for gutter covers work?

I must say, as an engineer, that the best application for foam is as a cushion in a chair, a mattress, or for packing–not as a leaf guard.

For a moment pretend that you are a blossom. Along with many of your blossom friends you drop into a gutter that has a foam insert. Even though you and your blossom buddies are beautiful, your life is ending. Why? Either your time has expired on the tree or you’ve been knocked off by a few hard hitting rain drops–ouch. The reality is that you have settled on the top of a foam insert–a hard cushion.

Being light in weight you really don’t need a cushion, do you? What does your future look like? Are you going to be blown away or will you be dislodged somehow and fall to the ground? Will a bird, squirrel, or raccoon step on you? Let’s remember that foam makes and excellent mattress.

So what happens with the wind? Will you be lifted from your comfortable mattress and be air born again? Think about it, how would that happen? You are lying flat on this cushion right on top of the gutter. Any wind whipping down the roof will simply overshoot the gutter and go off into space. The wind blowing into the roof and gutter will knock you backward to the back 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. If you’ve been wetted by a few rain drops there’s no fluff in you to sail away–a soggy mess you are. Yes, upon drying you’ll notice that you are flattened on a comfy mattress.

What’s in store for you next? Answer: you’re going to deteriorate into tiny pieces and accumulate on that comfortable mattress. Eventually enough of your buddies will join you and your accumulated mass will simply close all openings and holes in that foam preventing any rain water to get into the gutter. So if you ask the engineer about foam inserts–I’ll say forget about them.

Is it possible that the leaves in the Fall will behave differently? Don’t think so. It will simply be more of you accumulating quicker. If you ask the engineer for a solution to blossoms and leaves getting into the gutter, I will recommend a solid top type of gutter guard. 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]. A puff of wind will blow you away if you are dry–no comfortable mattress there for you. But if you’re wet and soggy, you’re going to lay flat onto of the leaf guard and not be blown away. The only problem is that rain water will drag you along as it flows downward and into the gutter. In reality within a few minutes you will gently be washed along as you hug the shape of the leaf guard. And guess where you will go? Answer: Into the gutter most of you go along with the rain water and if there are a bunch of your from a real big close tree, there is no chance that the gutter will stay flow free but instead clog. 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.

Instead of one long fin as the Niagara gutter protector if you Google “Care Free vinyl gutter covers” you’ll see a row of louvers. Suddenly the chances of a blossom getting to the ground are less likely. 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 cover, I’ll tell you it’s a double row louvered gutter cover. Yes, Mr, or Mrs Blossom, can you imagine two rows of louvers instead of one or none? 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.

In the worst case scenario if you are wet you will wash onto the front louvers and cover several of them, 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 send you on your way to the ground to be with your buddies. Yes if you ask me, the engineer, which is the best leaf guard or gutter protector to allow leaves and of course blossoms find their way to the ground I’ll tell you it’s the two row louvered gutter cover–nothing else. And would you believe that within a couple dollars per foot, most gutter guards all sell for around the same dollars?

About The Author – Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E. Engineer and inventor of
good gutter guards “,
better gutter guards,
the best gutter guards, and
the ultimate gutter guard