Complete Guide to Copper Gutters (2024)
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Copper is a popular material for rain gutter systems, known for its long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing, and often corrosion-resistant qualities. Copper gutters can increase your home’s curb appeal and resale value, but they require more upkeep and they may cost over twice as much as other gutter materials. Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about copper gutters, from installation and style to cost factors.
Why Choose Copper Gutters?
Many homeowners choose copper for their gutters due to its aesthetics and high resale value. There are other reasons to choose copper gutters for your home such as:
- You have a historic home and want gutters with an antique look.
- You want your gutters to be a selling point when you list your home.
- You do not want to replace your gutter system again.
- You appreciate the elegant green patina of aged copper.
- You want to avoid using standard vinyl gutters.
Copper gutters make sense if you like how they look and how well they hold up. They cost more up-front than other types of gutters, but you can view them as an investment that will add value to your home and save you money in the long run.
Benefits of Copper Gutters
Copper gutters have several benefits related to both form and function.
- Appearance: Copper has a simple, elegant aesthetic that complements most homes. It can pair well with many home exteriors, including historic homes, ultra-modern residences, and houses that feature stone or brick. It also looks good with shake or board-and-batten siding—particularly if the siding is white, green, dark blue, or a light, neutral color.
- Durability: In addition to a timeless appeal, copper gutters offer superior durability. Copper resists corrosion in many cases and endures extreme temperatures without warping, cracking, or breaking. It’s also strong enough to resist sagging.
- Low maintenance: Copper gutters are relatively low maintenance. Copper is a natural fungicide and algaecide, which makes it difficult for moss and mildew to grow in your gutters.
- Leak resistance: Copper is the best gutter material for resisting leaks.
- Environmentally friendly: Copper rain gutters are eco-friendly. They can last 50 years or longer, and when they do wear down, the copper is 100% recyclable.
Downsides of Copper Gutters
Despite their benefits, copper gutters have a few downsides.
- Cost: Copper gutters cost much more than aluminum, vinyl, or steel gutters. For reference, 200 linear feet of aluminum gutters costs between $800 and $2,800, while the same length of copper gutters costs as much as $8,000.
- Not compatible with all materials: Without proper diligence, copper gutters and downspouts could damage metal sidings, gutter screens and covers, aluminum awnings, and outdoor HVAC units. Since dissimilar metals can corrode each other, copper gutters should only be installed after consultation with a professional.
- Requires regular upkeep: Copper gutters also require careful upkeep, especially if you live along the coast. In addition to standard cleaning and repairs, copper gutters require specialized care depending on the look you want to achieve. Copper gutters develop a green patina over time if left unattended, so you’ll need to clean the copper regularly and apply sealants to protect its natural color. If you want a patina, wear cotton gloves when cleaning. Otherwise, the natural oils on your skin will damage the patina and leave markings.
- Professional assistance is required: While many homeowners can install lightweight aluminum gutters on their own, installing copper gutters is not a DIY job. Copper weighs more than other gutter materials, making it harder to hang, and requires professional soldering to connect the various pieces. Plus, copper gutters are rarely sold in precut pieces. Instead, most companies offer seamless copper gutters that are cut to your exact specifications.
*Cost ranges listed are based on data from Angi and HomeAdvisor.
Styles of Copper Gutters
Half-round copper gutters come in single-bead and double-bead varieties. A few companies offer copper box gutters and other shapes. Although copper gutters can range from 4 to 8 inches wide, the 5- or 6-inch size is large enough for most homes.
Copper downspouts can be either rounded or rectangular. Some homeowners incorporate matching rain chains into their copper gutter system instead of relying on traditional downspouts. Copper end caps, outlets, elbows, miters, wire strainers, offsets, leaf guards, and hangers are also available to complete your system.
While both sectional and seamless copper gutters are available, seamless gutters are the better option. Fewer seams mean a lesser chance of sagging and leaking.
Installing Gutter Guards on Copper Gutters
A professional should install gutter guards onto copper gutters under most circumstances. Copper is a soft metal and can become damaged if improperly handled. Ideally, you’ll have the same company that installed the gutters apply the gutter guards. Professional gutter companies typically offer at least one gutter guard product. In fact, some of the best gutter guards are only available through professional installers.
There are some DIY gutter guard brands that you can install onto copper gutters. Foam and brush guards are easy to place and don’t typically require the alteration of gutters. The installation process for screen and micromesh DIY guards can require screwing hangers into your fascia or making other alterations that can damage copper gutters.
How Much Do Copper Gutters Cost?
Copper gutters can cost $20–$40 per linear foot* placed, totaling between $4,000 and $8,000 or more for a standard installation. Steel, aluminum, and vinyl gutters often cost $10 or less per linear foot. These prices are estimates based on national averages, and the price of your gutter installation will vary based on numerous factors. The final cost of any gutter installation project can be affected by your location, the company you choose, additional services, and labor rates.
Your gutter installation cost will increase if you choose to install gutter guards. Downspouts, rain chains, and other accessories will also factor into the final cost. Although you can save money by installing copper gutters yourself, we do not recommend it. Copper gutters are a specialty product that require the right tools and expertise to install properly.
*Cost ranges listed are based on data from Angi and HomeAdvisor.
How Do Copper Gutters Compare To Other Materials?
Copper gutters are a high-end material, outweighing most other gutter materials in price and longevity. The following table breaks down the main types of gutters, including costs and expected lifespan:
|Cost Per 200 Linear Feet
|Total Installation Cost
20 years or more
20 years or more
50 years or more
Material costs in the table were sourced from Gutter Supply and The Home Depot; labor costs were sourced from HomeAdvisor.
Copper is one of the longest-lasting and most aesthetically pleasing gutter materials, which helps justify its high price tag. Many homeowners appreciate its unique look, which only improves with time. Within a few years, the shiny, new copper will fade to dark brown, then turn green. The green will lighten over time until it reaches the timeless color of antique, oxidized copper.
Copper gutters typically require professional installation. Professionally installed gutter guards will also add to the up-front price, but you will save money on maintenance in the long run. In fact, if you take good care of your new copper gutters, you can expect them to last the rest of your life.
FAQ About Copper Gutters
Do copper gutters last a long time?
Yes, copper gutters last a long time—up to 50 years or longer. If they are properly installed and maintained, they can last a lifetime. Some gutter companies estimate a life span of 80 to 100 years for copper gutters.
Do copper gutters turn green?
Yes, copper gutters turn green as they age. Copper gutters will develop a patina within four or five years as the metal interacts with the elements. Oxidation causes the copper to turn a greenish color that becomes lighter over time.
Are copper gutters worth it?
Yes, copper gutters are generally worth it. Although they cost significantly more than their vinyl or aluminum counterparts, they are durable and long-lasting. Many homeowners also prefer the look of copper gutters.
Do copper gutters cost more?
Yes, copper gutters are among the most expensive types of gutters available. In fact, they cost nearly three times more than aluminum or steel gutters.
What are the downsides of copper gutters?
Copper gutters have some downsides homeowners should consider before installing them. They are several times more expensive than other gutter materials. They also require more diligent upkeep to maintain their patina or prevent it from forming, depending on your aesthetic preferences.
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