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What Is a foam gutter guard?

Posted on February 16, 2022
By Aussie Gutter Protection

So, you’re thinking of installing a foam gutter guard but have no idea what it looks like. Imagine placing a black pool noodle inside your gutter; that’s a reasonably accurate picture.

So, what is a foam gutter guard? Foam gutter guards are gutter inserts made from a fire retardant, UV stabilised polyether or polyurethane foam designed to allow water to flow through your gutter while filtering leaves and debris. This inexpensive gutter guard is easily installed, suits standard gutter profiles, and provides resistance to Australian conditions of severe weather.

Continue reading to learn more about the pros and cons of foam gutter guards and whether or not it is suitable for your gutter protection needs.

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    What are foam guards?

    Gutters are essential to water collection systems designed to protect your home from water damage. Unfortunately, they can trap leaves, twigs and other debris that clog pipes. Gutter guards, such as foam guards, provide effective gutter protection solutions.

    You can find foam gutter guards, also known as foam inserts, made from thinner, arch-shaped foam, but typically they are made from a denser material and cut to a triangular shape. The narrow lip of the triangle-shaped foam tucks under the gutter’s outer lip. So, installation is simple.

    Homeowners simply drop the gutter foam into the gutter for easy installation. You can expect the fire retardant material to withstand typical Australian weather conditions and keep leaves from clogging their drains.

    Foam Gutter Guards Pros & Cons

    Pros Cons
    Inexpensive Lasts 1-2 years
    Adaptable size Can trap water
    Easy to Install and Remove Can Trap Roof Oil
    Fire Retardant and UV Stabilised Difficult to Clean
    Requires Maintenance to Be Effective
    Can attract pests and insects
    Not suitable for bushfire protection
    Foam Gutter Guard

    Foam Gutter Guards Benefits

    Less Expensive Than Other Gutter Guard

    Foam gutter guards are relatively low in price compared to other gutter protection systems. Foam inserts will cost approximately $13 per meter for foam gutters. Homeowners can comfortably utilise this fire retardant material to protect their gutters from debris without breaking the bank.

    Can Be Cut to Any Size Gutter

    A foam gutter guard system has a versatile shape and size. Although this product is available for purchase in sizes suitable for all standard gutter profiles, this lightweight plastic material is flexible and easy to cut and size down if you find the foam gutter is slightly too big to fit upon delivery.

    Easy to install

    Unlike most gutter guards, foam gutter guards do not require tools and expertise to install. They are also easily installed to most gutter types. Homeowners can install the gutter protection strip directly after purchase as you simply drop the gutter foam into the gutter. Other gutter guards require professional installers.

    Easily Removable

    Foam gutter protection strips are just as easy to remove as they are to install. When it comes time to clean or replace your gutter guard, you can simply pull the foam from your gutter for an easy removal process.

    Fire Retardant and UV Protectant

    Australia is famous for its severe weather, including dangerously high temperatures. Foam gutter guards are made from a quality plastic material that is UV stabilised, fire retardant, and resistant to damage from other Australian conditions.

    However, they are not suitable in some bushfire-rated regions of Australia, and homeowners are advised to check their local fire ratings and guidelines before purchase.

    Foam Gutter Guards Issues

    Only Lasts 1-2 Years

    Although foam gutter guards are easy to install and offer some weather protection, such as UV stabilised and fire retardant, it has a limited lifespan. The product unavoidably begins to deteriorate and shrink.

    Though the guard is undoubtedly effective following initial installation, this product will need regular replacement every few years or even more. Some foam gutter guards may come with a product warranty, but it is not likely. 

    Foam gutter guard doesn't work

    Water Can Become Trapped Within the Guard

    The foam guard’s triangular shape and porous material may cause debris build-up to block water flow. The blockages can lead to increased water build-up.

    Any dirt and seeds trapped promote the growth of vegetation within the foam. Further, the additional weight caused by water build-up can damage the gutter itself, including rusting and bowing.

    Difficult to Clean and Remove Small Debris

    Although installing foam gutter guards is a simple DIY project, cleaning without entirely removing the foam strip from your gutter and replacing it can be a hassle. Leaves and debris can become lodged in the foam pores, blocking water flow.

    Requires Maintenance to Be Effective

    As previously mentioned, the foam gutter guards require regular maintenance for prolonged prevention of clogged gutters. Some homeowners may find that the foam increases the need to clean the gutters annually to quarterly.

    How to Install Foam Gutter Guards

    Foam gutter guard installation is an easy DIY process that almost any homeowner can handle. This easy-to-size, quick-to-install process requires little equipment and expertise, perfect for customers who wish to install their gutter guard system.

    Tools Required

    • Sturdy Ladder
    • Tape Measure
    • Hose
    • Working gloves
    foam gutter guard tools


    1. Take measurements.

    Measure the lengths of your gutters for foam. Using a stable ladder and a reliable measuring tape, carefully take note of the dimensions of your gutters. Don’t forget to double-check your measurements.

    Most foam gutter guard manufacturers sell ready to install foam gutter strips suitable for most standard gutter profiles per metre. The foam gutter strips are soft, so you can cut to size at home if required.

    Safety Heights Requirements: Please follow all local working at heights safety measures so that you can be safe during installation.

    1. Purchase your guard.

    You can order foam gutter guards online or from any hardware store. As previously stated, check your local bushfire ratings and regulations to ensure foam gutters are suitable for your property. Some foam gutter guards will come with a product warranty.

    1. Clean out your current gutters.

    Clean out all gutters, including leaves, debris, and roof grit. Clear out obstructions in all downspouts, especially in elbows.

    If you skip gutter cleaning before installing, leaves and debris will remain trapped inside the gutter causing drainage issues.

    1. Test the gutters.

    Flush out the gutters and downpipes with a garden hose through to your drains, ensuring they are properly clean. This is a vital step of installing a gutter protection strip because it provides the foam leaf filter that will allow water to freely through your drains without getting clogged.

    1. Insert foam gutter guard into the gutter for easy installation.

    Insert the foam gutter guard into the gutter. Simply drop the foam and tuck the bottom end under the front lip. Once installed, the foam filter will keep leaves out of the gutter while the rainwater can flow through.

    Safety Heights Requirements: Please follow all local working at heights safety measures so that you can be safe during installation.

    Choosing the right gutter guard

    Several types of gutter guards, including foam guards, are available on the Australian market that suits standard or specific gutter profiles. However, it is essential to find the best gutter guard system for your property and protection needs.

    Other types of gutter guards include:

    Installing a gutter guard is a proactive method of gutter cleaning because it protects against leaves and small debris that can lead to blocked gutters when there is heavy rain.

    gutter mesh micro-mesh ember guard

    Gutter Guards Comparison

    Integrated Mesh Gutter Guard Brush Gutter Guard Mesh Panels or Flat Panels Foam Inserts Vinyl Guard
    Reduce Maintenance
    Leaf Proofing
    Prevents Blockages
    Strengthens Gutter Systems
    Bird and Pest Proofing
    Bushfire Protection
    Water Harvesting

    What to consider with a gutter guard

    Foam Insert Gutter Guard

    Things to consider when choosing the right gutter guard may be:

    • Correct sizing for the gutter profile
    • Quick installation
    • Rainwater harvesting use
    • Budget
    • Local weather conditions
    • Bushfire restrictions
    • Bird proofing or pest proofing needs
    • Surrounding vegetation and debris
    • Warranty
    • DIY applications
    • Professional applications
    • Aesthetics

    It is essential to consider all these points when deciding on the best gutter guard products on the market.  

    Are foam gutter guards worth it?

    On a tighter budget, foam gutter guards are an attractive prospect. It is the most accessible gutter guard to install on the Australian market, slotting into your gutter. The insert acts as a barrier against anything entering the gutter, but it does degrade over time.

    Like the integrated mesh gutter guards, other gutter guards can last on roofs for up to 20 years. Furthermore, once it starts to degrade, it acts as a magnet for mould, small insects or as a base for plants to grow in.

    Despite those negatives, they remain a popular option for Australians at $10-13 a metre. However, homeowners looking for a more long-term, sustainable option may be a better alternative.

    Unlike other gutter protection systems, foam gutter guards are an affordable option for homeowners in Australia that are easy to install in most gutters. To find out which gutter protection method is best for your household, contact Aussie Gutter Protection for expert advice from industry leaders.




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