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Can You Repair Leaking Copper Gutters?

Copper gutters, though an expensive material for residential guttering systems, create an elegant and traditional look. Copper develops a colored patina when exposed to the elements, which gives it a distinctive color that enhances the home exterior. Copper is a thin but durable material that can develop leaks at the seam and at corrosion spots. Copper gutters must be repaired with special techniques to ensure the system can carry water away from the house.
  1. About Copper Gutters

    • Copper gutters start out a bright salmon color, but will develop a patina as time goes by, turning a reddish brown, grayish brown or greenish brown with a variety of highlights. The guttering is sometimes combined with decorative hangers, downspouts and other hardware that give the system a distinctive and upscale look. Copper resists corrosion, but in time copper, like many metals, will deteriorate and require some repair to keep it functioning properly to protect home structures. Copper gutters have a lifespan of 60 to 90 years, according to the Virginia Beach Gutters website. Copper gutters can also be recycled, which make them an environmentally-friendly choice for home construction.

    Copper Gutter Construction

    • Copper guttering is riveted and soldered together, which gives it superior strength and durability. However, when repairs are needed, this type of construction requires longer periods working on ladders. Unless you are accustomed to working on ladders, you may prefer to leave these repairs to a professional. Do-it-yourselfers should enlist an assistant to help with materials and steady the ladder to prevent accidents.

    Repair Materials

    • When repairing gutters, you should always use materials that match the original -- that is, use aluminum for aluminum gutters, copper for copper gutters, according to home improvement expert Merle Henkenius of the This Old House website. Do not simply caulk the gutter, because caulk will not contract and expand with the metal and will contribute to further deterioration.

    Copper Gutter Repair Methods

    • Seams should be fastened with rivets and soldered together to create an integrated connection. They should be sweat soldered together -- that is, one piece should be laid over another after fluxing -- with at least 1/2 inch penetration for best results. To repair holes, cut a patch of the sheet copper slightly larger than the hole and hammer it into the shape of the gutter. Rivet the patch into place, and secure the patch with solder to form a tight seal. Copper can be easily dented by pressure from the ladder or from leaning against the gutters, so care should be taken to prevent damage to the metal.