Find a Copper Gutter Contractor Near Me
The material that you choose for a home gutter system makes a huge difference in its overall appearance and resale value. If you have a historic or unusual home that cries out for something different, copper gutters may be the way to go. Elegant, long-lasting, and low maintenance, copper gutters have a distinctive curb appeal that only improves with time. Not only are they eco-friendly, but they are also perfect for many types of climates, breathing through weather changes and developing a highly desirable patina.
But copper doesn’t respond the way aluminum or steel does, so if you are making the investment in this special material, you’ll want to make sure you hire a reliable, licensed contractor to do the job properly. Spout Gutter Pros will find commercial gutter installers in your area that have the expertise to install these specialty gutters correctly. Click now for free quotes in just minutes!
What Are Copper Gutters?
Rain gutters come in a variety of materials, ranging from plastic and aluminum to steel. But perhaps the most unusual, and visually attractive, are copper gutters. Seen primarily on high-end or historic homes, copper gutters are usually custom-made gutter systems that look stunning and age gracefully, transforming from a burnished gold to a russet bronze to a delicate green verdigris as they are exposed to sulfur and oxide compounds in the air. Not only is copper beautiful, but it is also one of the strongest metals on earth. If installed and cared for properly, copper gutters can last a lifetime.
Pros and Cons of Copper Gutters
Copper gutters are elegant and distinctive, standing out from other types of rain gutters with their deep, burnished shine and high-quality curb appeal. But they can cost much more than other gutters, so it’s a big decision to make.
When considering copper as a choice for your home, you’ll have a few factors to weigh. Does it go with your home’s aesthetic? Is it within your budget? Will it provide enough of a return on investment to make the expenditure worthwhile? Spout Gutter Pros takes a look at the pros and cons of installing copper gutters to help you make your decision more easily.
- The Look: Homeowners love the appearance of copper gutters because they make a bold statement. They look equally great against a backdrop of a slate roof or as an accent on a classic Tudor home. They are generally viewed as more decorative than traditional gutter systems, a.k.a. they’re meant to be seen, so you’ll want to make sure they work with the style of your house. Generally, copper gutters are viewed as a wonderful investment for your home, adding to its resale value and overall aesthetic.
- Living Finish: Unlike other gutter types, such as vinyl and aluminum, copper gutters are made of a metal that has what is referred to as a “living finish.” Over time, the material will change, developing a protective coating as the copper is exposed to the elements. The oxidizing effect will turn the gutters a darker brown and then the distinctive blue-green patina that everyone loves, only enhancing their beauty and appeal over the years.
- Rust-proof: Copper is highly prized due to the fact that it doesn’t contain any iron and won’t corrode or rust. It does react to oxygen, however, so in time it will “oxidize,” forming a patina that actually protects the metal underneath from corrosion. Oxidization will happen faster in damp, cooler atmospheres where there’s a lot of saltwater or acid rain. Copper is less affected in dry, hot areas with cleaner air. The patina layer can take six years or more to develop but once established, is highly desirable as it’s exceedingly resistant to atmospheric corrosion, protecting the copper underneath from further weathering.
- Longevity: While copper does weather, it doesn’t rust, wear out, crack, or develop the types of problems other gutter materials present over time. If they’re properly cleaned out and maintained, copper gutters can last up to a hundred years, making them vastly preferable to other materials, like vinyl and steel, which need replacing much more frequently. Many installers treat copper like aluminum when installing which is a mistake. Copper does swell and contract as it heats and cools, so in order to protect its longevity, the installer needs to know how to seal seams and place expansion joints correctly so the metal doesn’t expand and fracture.
- Durable: Copper is extraordinarily strong and doesn’t usually dent if it’s hit by falling or flying objects. Even though copper is naturally a pliable material, it holds its form well and can weather extreme temperatures and inclement weather better than the strongest steel gutters.
- Price: Other materials, like vinyl and aluminum, are very affordable, costing as little as $5 per linear foot. Copper, because of its strength, durability, and unique visual appeal, costs quite a bit more, starting at around $20 per foot. In addition, because it’s much more visible and copper works best with copper, all of the other fittings required during installation—like downspouts, brackets, nails, and fasteners—must also be manufactured out of copper. Labor is more expensive as well because you’ll need to hire craftspeople familiar with handling the material. In the end, copper can cost up to five times the amount of other types of gutters, but for the right home, it’s an investment well worth making.
- Manufacturing: Copper gutters are usually custom-made to specifically fit your home. These seamless gutters are manufactured on-site with a machine that feeds the copper through, shaping it to the profile you’ve chosen. But copper is a specialized material, so you will definitely want to look for an installer that has considerable experience not only working with copper but with portable roll-forming machinery as well. Spout Gutter Pros can make this process much easier by finding experts in your area who can craft the gutters of your dreams.
- Labor-Intensive Material: Copper is a much more labor-intensive material to work with than vinyl or aluminum. During installation, it requires careful soldering at all of its joints. Because of this, you will need to make sure that you contract with an installer who has a great deal of experience working with copper and understands its needs. This, in turn, will increase the amount of time required to install the gutters and the overall price of the job.
How Much Do Copper Gutters Cost?
While other materials will run you $3-$8 a linear foot, the cost of copper gutters can range anywhere from $18-$40 per linear foot installed. Gutters made of vinyl or aluminum can be installed using pretty much any type of fasteners and hangers, but copper must be installed with copper as other metals tend to interact poorly with it, affecting its overall durability. This, combined with the fact that you will definitely want to hire a contractor who has considerable experience handling copper, will result in your potentially spending up to five times as much to install a copper gutter system.
Factors That Affect the Cost of Copper Gutters
Installing copper gutters can get expensive, but for many, the cost is far outweighed by the durability and aesthetics copper gutters provide. Factors that can affect the cost include:
- New install vs. replacement: Most homes already have gutters that will need to be removed if you’re installing new copper gutters. You’ll need to account for the cost to remove and dispose of old gutters. You can expect to pay anywhere from $100-$300 just for removal.
- Roof configuration: How your roof is configured can affect the cost of copper gutter installation. If it is particularly high or has a significant slope or pitch, it could cause safety issues that might incur extra fees. A steeper incline requires extra safety equipment for installation (ladders, scaffolding, etc.) along with additional labor to help lift and secure the guttering into place.
- Amount of guttering: Gutter materials are sold by the linear foot and labor is calculated by the amount of time required to install the materials. The larger your home, the more guttering you will need to purchase and the more it will cost you to have it installed.
- Other components: Hanging copper gutters requires a wide range of other components such as gutter hangers, downspout extensions, and drains. Because copper needs to be paired with copper to prevent corrosion, this can add dramatically to your overall installation cost.
- Leaf guards: If you choose to add a leaf or gutter guard to your system, that will be an additional cost.
Copper Gutter Installation
Installing copper gutters is quite a different process than other types of gutter systems. You’ll want to make sure you hire an expert who understands how to work with copper; like how to create long-lasting seals where the metal meets and inserting expansion joints that allow the metal to breathe.
Can You DIY Copper Gutters?
While experienced homeowners often feel they can manage installing rain gutters on their own, they should definitely not consider installing copper gutters themselves. Copper is a delicate metal that needs to be handled by professionals in order to function for a lifetime. Amateurs can make mistakes, such as using caulking that might work with other materials but not with copper, affecting the gutters’ effectiveness over time. They also need to know how to solder seams in the copper correctly to avoid leaks and affix the gutters with copper fittings to avoid unnecessary corrosion—all tasks best left to the experts.
How to Install Copper Gutters
Installation of copper rain gutters is similar to that of other seamless varieties, but it’s essential that you hire a contractor that understands how to work with the material. Copper is more complicated to install than other materials, like vinyl, and as such requires an experienced, meticulous craftsperson to do the job correctly. The steps are typically as follows:
- Prep: Before installing new gutters, old gutters and rotted fascia board should be removed. Strong, new fascia should be primed, painted, and installed, replacing the old. If your home is designed without fascia board, the contractor will have to prepare to mount the gutters to the roof.
- Measuring: Next, the installer will measure the length of each run and mark a chalk line where the mount spots will be. The gutter should slope about 1/4 inches per twenty feet towards the nearest downspout. Then, hangers will be installed for every two feet of gutter. On the corners, they’ll install a hanger about five inches from the edge for the proper hanging of miters.
- On-site fitting: With the proper measurements in hand, the contractor will be able to manufacture the gutters onsite with the roll-forming machine, making sure each piece exactly fits the section where it’s being installed. The gutters can be produced in any number of profiles on the job site, making them not only versatile but attractive.
- Installation: The next step is to install the end-caps, crimping the end of the gutter, snapping, and hammering it into place. Corner miters will be hung, positioned into the 5” spaced hangers, and attached. Then, the copper gutters are placed into the hangers and secured by bending down the front and back clamps to hold them securely.
- Downspouts: Finally, seamless elbows are installed. They come in many different angles that can direct the water where you wish. Brackets are installed to hold individual elbows as well as the downspouts themselves, spaced at about ten feet. These do not require soldering—brackets can be attached with copper anchors and pins or screws.
- Gutter guards: As a final step, you can also opt to install leaf or gutter guards which will snap onto the gutters, preventing leaves and other debris from falling in and causing clogs or backups. These help to reduce the amount of maintenance that’s performed on the gutters, and the likelihood that they will require repair over time.
Copper Gutter Repair, Replacement & Maintenance
Even with the best maintenance, copper gutters have the potential of getting damaged somewhere along the line. Following are some common copper gutter repair and maintenance issues. Cleaning can be conducted by a handyman at a cost of $20-$45/hr, depending on where you live. But all other repairs to copper gutters should be made by licensed, reputable copper specialists who have their own, individual pricing.
- Clogged gutters or downspouts: As with any gutters, copper gutters can get clogged with leaves or debris. Having made a significant investment in your copper gutters, it’s important that you perform regular maintenance, clearing out the gutters and downspouts. This work can be performed by a gutter specialist or a handyman who will treat the material with care.
- Holes: Holes can develop in a copper gutter system when sharp objects fall in, puncturing the metal. If you see holes developing, hire a copper gutter specialist to solder another sheet of copper into place over the hole, making sure that water can’t run around the metal and drip out.
- Leaking: Similarly, if you’re seeing leaks in your system, you’ll want to identify where the leaks are coming from and then hire someone who’s an expert at working with copper. Poor soldering, or the use of typical construction materials that aren’t made of copper, can make the problem much worse.
- Damaged sections: If an entire section has been damaged, it may be necessary to cut and replace that portion of the gutter. Because the copper gutters were formed onsite, you’ll most likely need to have the machine brought back and a new, perfectly matched section manufactured to be soldered into place.
- Joint separation: Copper tends to swell and contract as it heats and cools. If expansion joints have been installed incorrectly, there’s a chance that joints may separate over time and cause leaks. Again, a copper specialist will need to come and solder any loose joints so no leaks occur.
- Gutter slope: The slope of gutters needs to be precise in order for the system to work correctly. If any of the runs have slipped, or are no longer at an effective angle, they’ll need to be rehung.
- Sagging/pulling away: If your gutters have pulled away from the house, or are sagging in the middle, the brackets that hold them will need to be reinforced and screwed back into the wall.
Want your home to have that distinguished touch of elegance only copper rain gutters can provide? Get that durability and exceptional patina with custom-crafted copper gutters. Request a free estimate from licensed copper gutter contractors today with Spout Gutter Pros!