Copper Gutters: Are They Worth It?
By Mike Milliman
Gutters are present at edges and joints within the roofs. These are a necessary feature for the water to run off quickly and towards the intended location. These are the parts most exposed to wind pressure. In addition, the water runoff from the roof flows with a force and accumulates in such volumes that are enough to damage these gutters. Low cost gutters, even though they appear to serve the purpose in the short term, are easily damaged and have to be replaced or repaired periodically. Copper rain gutters may be the answer.
Copper even though far expensive, has better tensile strength compared to other roofing material. The strength increases as the copper content of the gutters increases. Copper rain gutters and roofing material in general are easy to install compared to traditional materials like slates, tiles, and cedar. Such roofs have been known to be intact for over a century. A copper gutter adds great value to the aesthetic looks of a house.
If the roofing is of copper then copper rain gutters are strongly recommended to avoid compatibility issues and corrosion due to electrolysis. The tendency of copper to form a green coating after oxidation can be prevented by suitable treatment before installation. Aluminium is a cost effective option available. But, it is an eyesore and usually does not match the home architecture. Aluminium gutters can be damaged and shredded during cleaning. These may lead to improper flow of water, seepage through minute pores, formation of dangerous and sharp edges, and affect overall aesthetics of the structure. It is also easily twisted in strong gusts of wind, or even by the weight and force of the water flowing. Others, like steel are corroded very easily. For those wanting an alternative colour other than copper can go for lead coated coper rain gutters. These are gutters dipped in molten lead to give a gray finish. This also enables a strong bonding and finish for any layer of paint applied over the lead coating.
While installing gutters, long time usability is of vital importance. The precarious position of such gutters and seamless layout required to prevent seepage, calls for experienced workers to be hired for all maintenance and repair work. Hence, the use of copper, a strong and long lasting material, is even more necessary. While aluminium can be painted to blend with the building architecture, the coating peels off easily and requires a new coat frequently. Copper gutters are not usually painted, but still are appealing to the eyes.
Another aspect is the advantage of malleability of copper sheets. This enables copper sheets to be moulded into the desired shapes to form accessories for rain gutters. While aluminium is also malleable, it looses its tensile strength after a certain degree of malleability.
A copper gutter is especially right for those homes, which have been built keeping the architectural beauty in mind. Unlike the need to internalise the aluminium gutters to avoid an ugly contrast with the look of the structure, a copper gutter can actually enhance the beauty of your home. Considering the weakening of other currencies against the dollar, this is the right time to install copper rain gutters that can save your money spent on maintenance every year. A home is valued no only in terms of its architecture but also the accessories that go along. Copper gutters can give you better valuation in the long run both in terms of practical utility as well as the aesthetics.
Mike Milliman is founder and partner of GutterSupply.com, the leading manufacturer and distributor of copper gutter supplies, gutter machines, and related tools and equipment.