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Do Gutter Sponges Work?

Highlights:

  • Keeping debris out of gutters is important.
  • Gutter sponges are inexpensive and convenient gutter guards.
  • However, gutter sponges also have serious problems that Harry Helmet’s gutter guards don’t have.

You don’t want your gutters to get clogged up. It’s not just an aesthetic thing – your gutters might look better when they’re not clogged, but that’s only part of it. Clogged gutters that become too heavy or are left alone too long can damage the gutter system and roof. And the rain backing up over the gutters can damage your home and your landscaping.

But cleaning out the gutters has its problems too. For one thing, gutter cleaning is dangerous and time-consuming. And paying to have them cleaned can get expensive. Luckily, there are some alternatives to regular gutter cleaning. For example, gutter sponges, which you may also see called gutter foam, claim to be an excellent way to keep water flowing freely through your gutters without cleaning, but are they really? Take a look at some things you should know about gutter sponges.

How They Work

Gutter with water pouring out.
A clogged gutter can overflow and cause great damage.

Gutter sponges fit inside of the gutters, and they’re meant to leave no room for debris to collect. The water is supposed to run through pores in the sponges, then head to the downspouts and splash pads where it belongs.

People choose gutter sponges for a couple of reasons. First, if they’re researching gutter guard options, there’s a good chance that gutter sponges or gutter foam will come up as one of the least expensive options. They’re also a DIY option, so if you don’t mind doing some climbing and gutter work – you just don’t want to have to do it as often as the gutters need to be cleaned – they can seem like a good option and preferable to paying for something more expensive.

However, gutter sponges aren’t as effective as one might hope. The foam swells up with water, much like a sponge would when it’s soaked in water, and this creates some problems that wouldn’t exist without the foam.

Where Gutter Sponges Fail

Gutter filled with leaves and a baseball.
Preventing gutter clogs is important, but you have to choose the best solution for your home.

Unfortunately, gutter sponges are not all that they’re cracked up to be. They have a couple of serious problems that make them a problematic choice.

  • They don’t last that long – a few years at most.
  • They can fill up with water like regular sponges – this can cause them to become trapped in the gutter. Then dirt and seeds trapped in the foam can result in actual growing vegetation in your gutter.
  • They can rot and grow mold. Wet foam sitting in your gutters? No surprise that they eventually rot and grow mold.
  • They’re difficult to clean – not only are they difficult to clean while they’re in the gutter, but it can also be challenging to clean them out of the gutter.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT GUTTER SPONGE

If you’re going to go with a gutter sponge despite the drawbacks, you at least need to know what to look for to get the most out of the product. Take a look at some of the things you need to know when you shop for gutter sponges.

  • Ease of Installation – One of the big selling points of foam gutter guards is that they’re simple to install. You shouldn’t need a professional to do the job or require a high level of gutter knowledge to do it yourself. Gutter sponges should be easy for anyone relatively comfortable with DIY home repair. 
  • Foam Quality – Not all foams are created equally. You want a higher quality foam that’s less likely to crumble and break down during installation or soon after.
  • Durability – Gutter sponges simply won’t last as long as many other types of gutter guards. But some foams will last longer than others. This is another reason to go with a brand that uses high-quality materials – the foam will last longer and stand up to the elements more effectively.
  • UV Protection – Choose a gutter sponge that includes UV protection. The sun’s heat will dry out the foam in time, causing it to crumble, but with good UV protection, it will last longer.
  • Maintenance – Gutter sponges are not completely maintenance-free. You won’t have to clean your gutters as often as you did without them. However, you’ll still need to do it periodically. While you’re there, it’s important to check on the condition of the gutter sponges and remove any debris that’s stuck in them. Maintenance will be an easier chore if the gutter sponges are easy to remove and re-install. 
  • Cost and Warranty Options – Cost is obviously an important consideration for any home repair. You don’t want to base your decision solely on cost – the cheapest option is not necessarily the best. However, you don’t want to overpay, either. Compare costs and features so that you’re able to make a decision that gives you the best features for as low a price as you can manage. While you’re doing this, check out the warranty options as well. Obviously, the longer a company will stand behind its product, the better the product is likely to be. 

A BETTER ALTERNATIVE

Gutter guards like those made by Harry Helmet are a better alternative. They provide a cover that debris can’t get into, allowing the water to flow freely through your gutters without impediment. And unlike sponges, they won’t rot or need to be replaced every few years. Once you’ve installed gutter guards, you won’t have to clean your gutters anymore, and you definitely won’t have to clean your gutter guard out of your gutters.  Schedule a free estimate.

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REVIEWS

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I recently had the Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet installed on my house. It not only looks amazing, but the guys arrived on time, were professional and efficiently got the job done. I am very satisfied with Gutter Helmet's attention to detail and fulfilling their work as promised. I will definitely tell my neighbors about the Gutter Helmet.
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I have had Gutter Helmets for 20 years. In all that time I've never had a problem until recently a bird's nest found its way into one of my gutters. The installer who came to replace the product was the same installer from 20 years earlier. Now that's impressive. Everyone at Gutter Helmet inclusive of the office staff were professional and a pleasure to work with.
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Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet just replaced our roof and we could not be more satisfied. The crew showed up early, worked all day and stayed late, were professional and caring regarding the project and the surrounding impact it had on our property and home. They completed the roof quickly and it looks simply amazing!
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VERY happy with our entire experience adding Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet to our house. Installing this was a great value for us. The gutters are working perfectly in heavy downpours and with year-long leaves and debris coming down from our river birches. Terrific customer service and a first class product.
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We needed our roof repaired due to wind damage. After several quotes, Gutter Helmet was the only company that went into our attic to look and see if more damage had occurred. If it wasn't for them taking the extra time to look at everything, we would have had rotting wood under our new roof. They were very professional and gave a fair quote.
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We just had Gutter Helmet installed on our gutters and couldn't be happier. They provided us with useful information about Gutter Helmet and cleaned up everything, leaving no mess behind. We definitely recommend Gutter Helmet to anyone considering this product.
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