Rain Gutter Materials: Copper vs. Aluminum

Both copper and aluminum can be used as rain gutter materials. While the installation process for copper and aluminum is similar, but the two materials have several important differences. Read on to discover what features to expect with these gutters and which would work best with your house.

Copper gutters

Copper gutters give a house an elegant appearance and are an excellent accompaniment for more classic, ornate house styles. Copper also resists water easily and is resistant to all types of weather. It is frequently used in restoration work. The traditional copper color is the primary reason people choose these rain gutter materials, so it is not usually available in any other colors.

The beauty and resistance of copper comes with a price. You will have to pay more for copper than aluminum, around $15 per foot, making this one of the most expensive gutter materials around. Because copper gutters are heavier and thicker, installation or repairs may also take a bit longer and cost more than they would with aluminum.

Both aluminum and copper gutters will last decades, but as the sturdier option you can expect your copper gutters to last a bit long than the aluminum version. You can also expect some oxidation as time goes on, but this will affect copper and aluminum very differently.

Neither metal will rust the same way steel does, but the effects are easy to notice. While it starts out with a bright shine, copper will quickly gain a darker patina. There’s nothing you can do about this, but it happens to all copper fixtures and lends them an authentic appearance, so it is not all bad news.

Aluminum gutters

Aluminum gutters are lightweight, common, and very adaptable. No matter what your roofline looks like, you can probably find aluminum rain gutter materials to fit your house. A wide variety of styles are also available for aluminum gutters, from square to rounded edges and everything in between. Because they are so popular in the United States, aluminum gutters are also available in wide variety of colors for matching your siding, trim or roof.

Because of their simple construction and lightweight design, aluminum gutters are also markedly less expensive than copper gutters, between $4 and $8 per foot (costs will rise for more complicated gutter work).

When aluminum gutters age, their coatings tend to wear away and you may notice some whitish discoloration. Like copper, aluminum does not rust like steel, but older gutters may oxidize into white or gray scale. Aluminum gutters are relatively easy to fix or replace if necessary.

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