What are Copper Gutters?

Mary McMahon

Copper gutters are rain gutters which have been constructed from copper, a metal which has a very distinctive appearance when it is new. Over time, untreated copper gutters will acquire a patina, slowly turning gray to greenish. The use of copper gutters is ancient, with evidence of copper roofing and gutters dating back thousands of years, and copper continues to be a very popular material for gutters. The main disadvantage of copper is that it tends to be higher in price than other gutter materials, but it also increases the value of a structure.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Gutters are critical to the maintenance of a structure. They trap the rainwater which rolls off the roof, using downspouts to divert the water away from the sides of the building. Without gutters, a structure can be prone to water damage, and wet weather can be very unpleasant, as water will spill over the doors and windows. Gutters can be made from plastic, wood, and a variety of metals, not just copper, and they should also be regularly cleared and maintained to confirm that they are working properly.

There are several reasons to use copper gutters on a home, beyond the aesthetic look it adds. Copper is very corrosion-resistant, so it will endure even in salty conditions and areas with a great deal of acid rain. It is also sturdy, and it meshes well with a wide variety of roofing materials, including slate, cedar shakes, and composite roofing. Cooper gutters also do not need to be painted, although people who want to reduce the development of a patina may need to periodically strip and re-seal their copper with products designed for this purpose.

Installing copper gutters can be tricky, because the lengths of copper will need to be soldered together for a snug fit. Some people prefer to leave installation to professionals who are experienced at gutter installation, because mistakes with copper can get very expensive. Copper gutters can also be paired with copper flashing for a more uniform look, and ornamental devices can also be added to the gutters at the time of installation, for people who like a little whimsy with their gutters.

For copper gutters to be effective, they should be regularly cleared out to remove leaves, twigs, and detritus. It is also a good idea to check the gutters for breakage and weak points, especially after a storm, and to replace damaged sections of gutters and downspouts promptly to avoid long-term problems for the structure.

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