Copper Gutters

Years ago there were only two kinds of gutters: steel and copper. Because steel rusts, everyone used copper. Copper does not rust – it gets a nice green patina (remember the Statue of Liberty – she’s made out of copper).

My church has about 1540 linear feet of copper gutters plus another 1000 linear feet of copper downspouts installed over a fifty-year span. A few months ago I got the idea of saving money in the long run by installing a gutter helmet so that I don’t have to pay for gutter cleaning. So I priced a copper gutter helmet – total cost for a copper helmet: $80,000! By the way, you can’t install an aluminum helmet on a copper gutter because copper and aluminum have some sort of chemical reaction to each other.

After picking me off the floor, the sales rep said that he could install “lifetime warranty” aluminum gutters, downspouts, and helmets for the entire church for $55,000. So, for $25,000 less, I can get brand new stuff plus a warranty. I don’t have $55,000 to install new gutters. I do have about $5,ooo to $10,000 each year that I can apply to the new gutter system. That’s what I’m doing – over the course of about 5-7 years, I’m going to install new aluminum gutters starting with the areas that are in most need of the gutters due to the amount of leaves they collect.

We’re off to a good start, too. I’ve already done one critical area and as soon as possible into my new budget year I’ll do another critical part. The first part that is already done cost $6,000 but I got $612 dollars back when I sold the copper gutters and downspouts to a scrap metal dealer. I’ve got one more area that is critical to do and then the rest will be done as I am able – they are not critical but necessary. Here are several benefits to replacing the gutters:

  • We save on the cost of gutter cleaning
  • We get a new product with a lifetime warranty
  • We get a better product because of the helmet
  • We get rid of a theft hazard – eventually someone would steal our copper gutters
  • We get money back from the sale of the copper
Lead On!


  1. Last week we were hit by thieves. The stole about 50-60 linear feet of copper downspouts. Ironically, this was the section that was scheduled to be replaced in just five months, January 2012. I’m hoping to get some insurance settlement money from the theft – maybe it will be enough to get aluminum where I now have partial gutters.

    The bad news is that I still have lots more copper gutters and downspouts to replace in the next four years. We’ll see who gets to them first, me or the thieves!