Although widely advertised, Elko’s GuttaGard product rarely lives up to its name or to its billing. Indeed, the product has so many flaws that it is hard to know where to start when describing all of the various malfunctions that can occur with it. One key problem is just very, very basic – the cover all too often does not even attach to the gutter it is supposed to protect in an effective way. How is this possible? Simple – Elko‘s poorly designed fasteners (which they call “twist clips”) are hard to install, and as a result it can be difficult to position their clips correctly in order to securely hold this cover onto the gutter below for an extended period of time.
If a twist clip loosens its hold on a gutter, as clips often do over time, then the clip will fall off. Worse, it’s nearly impossible to re-install a clip correctly, even if you can find the little clip on the ground, that is, and you cannot replace a missing clip because there is not one single store which sells them.
Moreover, since Elko only uses 2 of these little clips to hold a 4’ long panel in place, once a clip loosens and/or falls out, the whole panel starts to shift out of position because then it is only being held in place by one single clip located down towards the end of the panel, which leaves nothing to hold the other end of the panel onto the gutter. Obviously, if the loose end of a panel slides out position, leaves can easily to enter the gutter and begin to clog it up.
Also, when panels become loose, just a simple breeze can blow Elko right off of the gutter entirely. When this cover hits the ground, the thin metal it is made out of is often dented beyond repair, and it makes no sense then to reinstall the cover because it won’t work right in that condition. And, again, hardware stores and home improvement stores do not carry this product or its twist clips, so neither the panels themselves nor the clips can be replaced with new ones.
Quite frankly the metal Elko uses is simply too thin for its purpose. It is just flimsy – so weak in fact that too often just the weight of wet leaves that come to rest on top of it will bow this gutter cover downwards into the gutter, which enables leaves, and also birds and squirrels, to enter the gutter and clog it up.
For Elko to work at all, the position of the front curved nose of this gutter guard vis-à-vis the front lip of the gutter underneath it are absolutely crucial. The angle of the guard and the gap between it and the gutter require very precise positioning in order for Elko to function as it claims it will. However, because the Elko metal is thin and is easily bent, bowed or otherwise distorted, the gap and the positioning of the gutter and guard are too vulnerable to getting out of kilter over time, rendering the GuttaGard ineffective. In addition, if the gutter itself under the guard should become tilted, bowed, dented, etc. – for instance, due to a ladder placed against it, or a tree branch hitting it – a deformity in the gutter itself can also cause a malfunction. The gap between the gutter and the guard is so narrow and the metal is so flimsy that almost anything can squeeze the opening shut, which forces water to overshoot the cover and cascade onto the ground below.
In these photos you can see that Elko has come loose from the gutter (left picture) and on another home a piece of it has simply blown away, leaving a 4-foot gap for leaves and debris to fall into and offering a perfect nesting place for animals, too.
Even when it can be correctly positioned and secured, the Elko cover simply does NOT block all leaves, etc. from entering the gutter and clogging up the downspouts. Some percentage of leaves, especially pine needles or narrow bladed leaves such as those falling from willow trees or willow oaks, will follow the water that wraps around the front nose of GuttaGard, tumble into the gutter and get carried towards the downspout opening. Too many leaves piling up at – or over – the opening is all that’s needed to clog the downspout.
So, despite that company’s hype, gutters covered with Elko almost invariably have to be cleaned out frequently throughout the year on properties with a fair number of tress on them or even if the trees are located off site but just close by. So, if the gutters have to be cleaned out so often, then what is the point of paying to install Elko in the first place? Many, many years ago, Elko was present on my own home, and the gutters were so clogged and overflowed so often that it cost me a small fortune to replace all of the fascia and soffits that rotted out as a result. Needless to say, those GuttaGard are long gone now, replaced with genuinely effective solutions.
When gutters with Elko have to be cleaned, it is worth noting that people who clean gutters for a living HATE Elko! Why? Because gutter cleaners are paid by how many homes they can clean in a day. The more homes they clean, the more money they make, so they want to clean gutters fast. However, to deal with Elko, they have to remove each little clip, then slide the whole cover out, then clean that section of gutter out, slide the cover back into place, and finally they have to fiddle and fumble with Elko’s difficult and time-consuming twist clips in order to reinstall each piece of that gutter guard correctly. Elko makes gutter cleaning a very slow and very laborious process, so gutter cleaners may have to spend several hours to clean just 1 house, when their goal is to spend about 30 minutes or less, and then go on to the next home.
So what do these cleaners do? Most gutter cleaners I have watched only pretend to clean the gutters out if Elko covers are present. What they do is to just brush leaves off of the top of the cover off and then pronounce everything “clean.” I have seen this with my own 2 eyes. Unless a home owner stands there the entire time that gutter cleaners are on site, cleaning companies will simply brush off the tops and move to the next job.If the home owner isn’t on site, how would they ever know if the gutter itself was cleaned out or not by looking at it from the ground up? Most home owners do not want to climb up a ladder – that’s why they called a gutter cleaner in the first place.
I have several clients who call me several times per year to clean out their Elko systems because they know that I will lift out every single panel, clean, and then fasten the cover back down. For the average 2,800 sq. ft. 2 story home, this process is so slow that it will take 2 men approximately 3 hours to complete, which is why we charge $70.00 per hour for that work. After receiving several $210.00 Invoices per year, even a person who is for some reason a fan of Elko is hard pressed to justify keeping that product in place. Indeed, we replace more feet of Elko per year with better gutter guards than any other cover we encounter, except possibly for the equally ineffective vinyl products found in home improvement stores.
One thing you can say about Elko: it is certainly the cheapest metal gutter guard on the market and always has been. That low price is its key selling point but beware: there are real good reasons for why Elko is sold at bargain basement prices. You may see advertising photos of a pristine Elko installation, but these pictures are just staged to make the product look good. Over time, the reality of how poorly it performs, its need for frequent gutter cleaning, its lack of durability, etc. will outweigh any benefit the low price offers. Indeed, Elko’s low price actually becomes expensive, when you factor in the additional cost of having to replace it and having to pay for gutter guards a second time in order to get a higher quality product that performs more like you would expect.
For proven products that work, please call us today 919-630-0527.
Tom Bell NC Gutter Guys, Inc. Cary, NC 27511