The Pros and Cons of Copper Gutters vs Aluminum

Apr 11, 2018

Few things provide more beauty and character to a home than copper gutters. Often seen on historic homes, copper ages naturally with your home, slowly developing a patina over time that enriches and deepens the beauty of your homes curb appeal. But the typical tried-and-true aluminum gutters certainly have their benefits, too! Make sure you are aware of the pros and cons of each material so you can consider what will work best for your home.

Copper Gutter Pros

  • Style and Beauty: Copper gutters are usually more decorative. It creates an extremely dramatic look when seen from the street.
  • Living Finish: Over time the appearance of the gutters will change to reflect their environment. This process only helps enhance the gutter’s beauty and appeal.
  • Longevity: While it does weather, copper doesn’t rust, nor is it likely to wear out, crack, or develop other problems over time. Therefore, a set of copper gutters are unlikely to need to be replaced for 50 or more years, provided that you maintain them properly and keep them running free of clogs.
  • Strong and Durable: it’s resilient and doesn’t have the tendency to dent if something hits it, like aluminum.

Copper Gutter Cons

  • Price: While aluminum gutters can be found for as little as $5 a length, copper starts around $20. In addition, when using copper gutters, all the fittings, nails, and fasteners must be copper as well.
  • Custom Craftsmanship Required: Copper gutters are usually made to order for your home. This can be beneficial from the standpoint that there are often no seams or potential places for the gutters to leak, but it also means that you will need to find a craftsman that can not only work with copper, but who can manufacturer the gutters specifically for your home, adding time and expense.
  • Difficult Material: Copper is also more difficult to work with because it requires additional soldering at its joints. For this reason, you will need to ensure that you have an installer who has worked with copper extensively in the past and understands its needs, which also increases turn time and price.

Aluminum Gutter Pros

  • Price: It’s roughly less than half the price of copper, which allows you to protect your home without spending thousands of dollars.
  • Easy Installation: Due to its lightweight design, aluminum is fairly easy to install. Many do-it-yourselfers will be able to install aluminum gutters without any problems.
  • Color Variety: You can get aluminum gutters in about 25 different colors. This is because the gutters are covered with enamel that protects them against rust.

Aluminum Gutter Cons

  • Rust Factor: Though aluminum resists corrosion better than many other metals, it will corrode faster than copper. This is especially true if you don’t maintain the enamel layer.
  • Temperature Damage: Aluminum is susceptible to thermal damage if it’s kept in a hot environment. High or quickly changing temperatures can be harmful to aluminum gutters.
  • Durability: Given that they are relatively lightweight, aluminum gutters are more prone to developing dents and getting damaged by trees, heavy branches, and weather conditions.
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