The gutters on my house have screens over them to keep out leaves which seems to work but I have pine trees close enough to my house that I get pine needles all over my roof and the screens do nothing for that. Then cleaning out the gutters is actually made more difficult by the presence of the screens. Is there a good way to keep both pine needles and leaves out of the gutters?

The last guy who cleaned my gutters suggested a product which is essentially a foam/sponge fitted to fill the length of the gutter. Water still soaks through and then down the spout but it keeps solids out even if they're pine needles. Anyone know if this is a viable solution?

  • I have a neighbor that has three pine trees next to his house and no kidding uses a blow torch on them... Makes me seem normal.
    – DMoore
    Apr 3, 2014 at 16:50
  • 1
    @DMoore, just what does he do with the blow torch?
    – DaveBurns
    Apr 4, 2014 at 12:11
  • 5
    Burns the needles/leaves stuck in gutter. Nothing like seeing a guy set part of his house on fire.
    – DMoore
    Apr 4, 2014 at 17:25
  • 1
    @DMoore - I had to give that one a +1 just for the visual...
    – DaveBurns
    Apr 7, 2014 at 21:47
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    Top that with there's nothing like living next to a retired fireman who has lost his fear of fire. Maybe he was a closet pyro, but seeing a column of flame 10 ft above the roof comb from a bonfire in a suburban neighborhood, yipes! Concerned neighbor called and we had two fire trucks out on call. Apr 15, 2014 at 15:11

2 Answers 2


I installed the foam strips on my gutters last fall for this very reason. The design is that leaves should just blow off.

Does it work with pine needles? Eh...sorta. The problem is that they don't blow off like leaves do...they tend to just sit on top of the sponge, but that seems OK as water still seeps into the sponge fine and drains away. I still have to brush off the needles once a year, but that's a lot easier than digging them out of the gutters by hand.

The only drawback is that in a really heavy rain, in some areas, the water is hitting the gutters with such volume that it can't all soak in and overflows. This really only happens in the valleys on my roof. That said, I have a poorly designed house with a roof line that wasn't well thought out for drainage so that's more the architect's fault than the gutter sponges, methinks.

I live in the PNW so we're talking lotsa rain + lotsa pine needles. If I were to design a house from scratch, I probably would design it to forgo gutters completely...I'd have large overhangs, properly slopped grade, and then likely those 'rain fins' to help spread the drip line out a bit.


I have Gutter Stuff and I love it. It works great. We do find a few twigs or pine needles from time to time do get stuck in the foam but they will eventually fall off or just lay on top. We have a lot of trees around us and I love the clean look that this product provides along with the easy installation and maintenance.

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