- 1 Are Copper Gutters Worth it?
- 2 How Much Copper Gutter Will My Home Need?
- 3 Copper Gutter Benefits
- 4 Will Copper Gutters Match My Home?
- 5 How to Take Care of Copper Gutters
- 6 Copper vs. Aluminum Gutters
- 7 How a Gutter Installer Can Help
Are Copper Gutters Worth it?
A new gutter system is a decent expense, no matter which material you choose. For example, even if you install vinyl gutters– the cheapest gutter material– you will still spend a considerable chunk of change.
Vinyl, unlike copper, doesn’t last very long and you typically need to replace them about once every ten years. This is much the case with many gutter materials, even solid materials like aluminum or steel– which need replacing at about the same intervals.
This is not the case for copper gutters and downspouts, which can last many decades if you do proper maintenance and upkeep.
As such, copper rain gutters are certainly worth the cost, but there are a few factors that you’ll need to consider.
How Much Do Copper Gutters Cost?
The cost for copper gutters fluctuates based on numerous factors, including the size of your home, the type/style of gutter you choose, and your location.
On average, copper gutters cost between $2,800 and $3,600. On the low end, they cost about $1,500, while on the high end of the spectrum, they cost about $4,000. However, these average overall costs vary by your home size.
If you choose sectional copper gutters, you are looking at an average cost of $15 to $20 per linear foot. On the other hand, seamless gutters are slightly more expensive, costing about $15 to $30 per linear foot.
Additionally, you should expect to pay 20% to 30% more for your gutters for a two-story home. You could also pay additional costs if there is any extra work in the installation process(i.e. labor costs), such as complex configurations, bump-outs, etc.
Why Are Copper Gutters So Expensive?
Before you choose copper gutters, you must understand why copper gutters are so expensive. First off, copper as a material is considerably more costly than aluminum, as you probably know.
What you might not know is that aluminum reacts adversely with copper and corrodes it. Therefore, if you pick copper gutters, you need everything in copper – including fasteners, accessories, and any other items you need to hang the copper gutter system.
If you want to reduce the total cost of your copper gutters, you can use brass or stainless steel hangers – they don’t react with copper as aluminum does.
Copper is more high maintenance than other materials and requires extra attention and maintenance. Gutter installers need to take care during copper gutter installation to prevent premature tarnishing and even wear special gloves during the process.
This additional labor further drives up the cost of copper gutters.
How Much Copper Gutter Will My Home Need?
On average, homes in the United States require 120 to 200 linear feet of gutters, which cost between $1,800 and $6,000 for copper gutters. To determine how many feet of gutter you’ll need, you have to figure out the square foot area of your gutters’ drainage zone.
Measuring for gutters is more complex than most homeowners think. However, it’s simpler if you have a gable-end roof.
For each side, multiply the length by the width of each roof section. If your home has hip roofs or intersecting roofs, you need to calculate the area of each section (remember area equals length times width).
Each section becomes its own drainage area. Additionally, you’ll need to consider the pitch of your roof and the maximum rainfall intensity in your area.
The US Weather Bureau has a rainfall intensity table, which will help you determine the proper size copper gutter for your home.
You can measure the pitch by using a two-foot level and a tape measure. Hold the level tool against the roof, ensuring it is completely level (with the bubble centered). Then, measure the distance from the underside of the level from the exact middle to the roof’s peak.
The number you get is the roof’s pitch, which you can then use to find the roof-pitch factor for your home.
The pitch of your roof helps you choose the correct gutter size for your home. Steeper pitches need wider gutters, and flatter roofs are fine with standard-width gutter systems. Make sure to record your information and keep it handy for when you place your order.
If DIY sizing gutters and measuring your roof pitch is not up your alley, give our team of gutter professionals a call today or fill out our form for help.
Copper Gutter Benefits
Copper gutters are an excellent choice for many homes, especially ones located in coastal regions near oceans. This is because saltwater in the ocean evaporates into the air and gets carried to your gutters.
The saltwater will eat through many other types of metals, causing issues with the stability and durability of gutter systems. However, copper is entirely immune to saltwater– saltwater doesn’t corrode it.
Just think about it, the Statue of Liberty (which is made of copper) is still standing over 140 years later and is entirely surrounded by saltwater.
So, if you want a touch of elegance for your home, copper gutters are perfect. They provide class, character, curb appeal, and even value to your home.
Copper gutters can last up to a century or longer with proper maintenance. Copper is incredibly resistant to corrosion, meaning it can withstand various environments and temperature swings.
On the other hand, aluminum, steel, vinyl, and other gutter materials are susceptible to the elements and usually need to be replaced after one to two decades.
Copper is also more resistant to the adverse effects of cold weather. Here’s why– copper has a low thermal coefficient of expansion.
What this really means is that movement due to thermal expansion is much less likely and doesn’t cause issues such as buckling or cracking, which is a common issue with aluminum gutters.
As such, copper gutters don’t need expansion joints on long, straight sections (which saves gutter installation costs and time). As such, adding copper gutters is a great home improvement project.
One of the best parts of copper gutter systems is the low maintenance requirements.
Copper is not only resistant to corrosion; it is also a fungicide and algaecide. This essentially means that moss and other growth (like gross algae common in vinyl and aluminum gutters) cannot form on copper.
Thus, copper prevents blockages that could develop as a result of organic growth.
Will Copper Gutters Match My Home?
The style of your home is subjective– which means you should pick the color and type of gutters you like the best (and not the opinion of a nosey neighbor down the street).
With that said, if you like the look of copper gutters, go for it! But if you’re in the crowd that thinks they are too flashy or just don’t look nice, then go with a standard material that you can paint to match your home.
Besides their many benefits, copper gutters are a statement piece. We think they look nice on most homes, but the final choice is up to you, the homeowner.
If the seamless transition of colors from your home to your gutter system is more your speed, then copper gutters may not be the right choice for you.
However, copper gutters are an outstanding choice if you want to make your house a showstopper with bold contrast.
You should note that copper gutters won’t always keep their classic glossy, shiny gold/amber hue. If you want to preserve the natural shiny look of the copper, you need to protect it with a sealant. Otherwise, it will oxidize and form a green patina.
Over time and with exposure to the elements, copper gutters oxidize, forming an oxidized coating. This film starts as a dark gray and eventually becomes a green hue known as patina- just like the Statue of Liberty.
This greenish color is appealing to many homeowners, as it gives their home a stately appeal. You can also get a blueish patina and other shades if you treat the gutters with various chemicals.
If you let your gutters form a natural patina, the process takes about six years to complete, but it may accelerate in certain climates (like coastal regions).
So, if you want to preserve the natural, lustrous coppery color, you need to take the proper steps to protect it right off the bat.
Copper Gutter Styles
To better match your home, there are two prominent styles of copper gutters: half-round and K-style.
Half-round gutters tend to be slightly more expensive than the K-style gutters, but not considerably (usually up to $2 more per linear foot).
K-style Copper Gutters
K-style gutters are a popular choice among U.S. homeowners, especially on modern homes.
Their decorative front mimics the appearance of crown molding, which many people find visually appealing.
K-style gutters tend to be easier to install than half-round gutters (since they connect flush against the fascia) and have an average cost of between $15 to $23 per linear foot.
Half-round Copper Gutters
Half-round copper gutters are a curved, round shape that looks like a sliced in half tube.
This style of gutter is more prevalent in older homes, and they have a traditional and classic aesthetic.
Half-round copper gutters tend to run from $17 to $25 per linear foot, but wider ones (like six inch gutters) will cost more.
How to Take Care of Copper Gutters
Copper gutters are known for adding a nice “glow” to homes and spicing up their curb appeal. But how do you maintain their glossy good looks?
Remember, with prolonged exposure, copper gutters will begin to form a patina or tarnish and take on a greenish-brown hue (which many homeowners like).
So if you want to keep them shiny, sealants are a great way to prevent copper gutters from tarnishing.
Various brands make coatings you can apply to your copper gutters to seal out tarnish, sun damage, and oxidation.
If you use a sealant and reapply often enough, your copper gutters won’t lose their luster. They will remain bright, glossy and prevent a patina from forming.
However, if your gutter system is already tarnished and you want to remove the patina, you can remove it with a gentle cleaning paste and expose the shiny copper underneath.
Note: If you need to remove dirt and grime from gutters protected by sealant, just use mild dish soap with water.
How to Remove Patina From Copper Gutters
Mix 4 cups of flour (yes, what you make bread with) with equal parts salt and vinegar in a bucket. Thoroughly mix the ingredients until they combine in a thick paste.
Using a stable ladder, climb up to your copper gutters with your bucket of paste. Pro tip– don’t prop the ladder up in a way that damages the gutter and follow proper ladder safety.
Once you’ve climbed to gutter height, use a soft cloth and apply the paste in the direction of the grain.
For tough spots, dip a soft-bristled scrub brush into the mixture until about half an inch of the bristles is coated. Then, gently rub the paste onto the affected area of the gutter in a circular motion. The brush can scratch the copper, so only use it as a last resort.
Once the paste appears discolored, it is no longer usable. So, stop rubbing the gutters and wipe the paste from the scrubbed area with a soft cloth. Depending on how deep the patina is, you may have to repeat this process several times.
Removing the patina is a tedious task. Once you’re done with one area, you will need to repeat the process until you have restored the entirety of your copper gutters to their original color.
Cleaning Sealed Copper Gutters
To remove dirt and grime from gutters protected by a sealant, clean them with mild dish soap and water. Fill a bucket with water and a few drops of dish soap, then gently rub the gutters with a soft, dry cloth until the grime lifts.
Just like any other gutter system, copper gutters need regular maintenance too. You still need to clean them out or call in a professional gutter cleaner routinely. A build-up of debris can cause issues within the system.
The frequency of cleanings depends on your home and its surroundings, but cleaning them out at least once per year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you live in an area with heavy foliage or tree branches spanning over your roof, you’ll likely need to clean them out more frequently.
If your house is surrounded by many trees, leaf guards or gutter guards could be an excellent addition since your gutter system will be prone to leaf and debris buildup.
Copper vs. Aluminum Gutters
Copper and aluminum are two popular material choices for metal gutter systems. Aluminum ranks as the most popular material because it is affordable, robust, and dependable.
Compared to copper gutters, aluminum gutters are much less expensive. However, aluminum doesn’t last nearly as long as copper gutters, since it is prone to rust and corrosion (even with enamel coating). However, it does take years for aluminum to wear down.
Aluminum gutters aren’t as flashy as copper gutters, plus you can paint them any color. So if you like a casual look, they may be the right choice for you. They’re also easier to install than copper gutters since they weigh less.
The choice between copper and aluminum comes down to personal preference and budget. However, you can’t go wrong with either option.
It’s worth reiterating that copper gutters do have a high up-front material cost, but they last much longer than other materials, including aluminum. So what you pay upfront could save you money in the future.
Most gutter professionals will tell you that the lower lifespan cost of copper gutter systems is about equal to the money you’ll spend replacing aluminum gutters. Therefore the lifetime costs are about the same.
How a Gutter Installer Can Help
Determining the best gutter system for your home can be a hard choice, but if you choose copper, it’ll definitely be worth the cost since they have the best lifespan of all gutter materials.
If you are ready to move forward with copper gutters or another material but aren’t sure what your next step is, enlist the help of our professionals.
They can help you determine the amount of gutter you’ll need for your home, give you a cost estimate, free quotes, and answer any related questions you may have. Additionally, once you choose the type of gutter you want, they can handle the rest, from selecting the proper size to removing your old gutters and installing the system.
So give us a call or fill out our form today!