Do Copper Gutters Eventually Turn Green?

Copper gutters are quite the fashion statement.

They are bold, shiny, and beautiful. But do copper gutters turn green after a while?

Yes, copper gutters will turn green after 5-20 years. Oxidation forms on the surface of the copper gutters which develops a green patina.

The copper gutters will go through several color changes over their lifespan. Starting with the gold look, then to light brown, to dark brown, to a dark green, to finally a light green patina.

Depending on the climate it can shorter or longer time. In dryer climates, the oxidation will take longer. While in wetter climates, the green patina will form faster.

How to Prevent Copper Gutters from Turning Green

Not all homeowners wants their copper gutters to form the green patina.

It can look uneven and sometimes lower curb appeal.

If you enjoy the bold penny-like look of copper gutters and want them to remain shiny, you are in luck.

You can coat your gutters to prevent the green patina.

The coating will prevent oxygen from touching the copper surface of your gutters. This will stop any oxidation from occurring, keeping your gutters shiny.

The coating will need to get reapplied every few years depending on the climate in your area.

This added maintenance keeps some from buying copper gutters. While others enjoy watching their copper gutters age and seeing the color change.

copper gutter weathering phases

How Long Does it Take for Copper Gutters to Turn Green?

It will take between 5-20 years for the entire green patina to form. Although you may see some small areas of patina form sooner.

The patina can form faster or slower depending on the climate. In areas with a lot of moisture and humidity, the patina will form faster. While in dry climates, it will take longer.

If you enjoy the patina, there is an awkward looking phase you should be aware of.

This phase occurs before the copper gutters are fully enveloped in patina. The gutters will have a irregular pattern of the green patina develop. It will look like splotches of rust are forming.

The awkward phase can hurt curb appeal in the short term until the entire gutters turn green.

The copper does not immediately turn green either. They will go through several shades of brown first then turn a dark green before turning light green.

Here is a breakdown of the colors:

What Do Green Copper Gutters Look Like?

Green copper gutters can add a nice accent of color to your home.

They look rustic and have a beautiful aesthetic than can only get formed with age.

Copper gutters can be found in older Victorian homes. The copper patina accents the aesthetic.

Some modern homes also enjoy the copper look, especially with monochromatic green designs. You will also see them on homes with stone veneer siding.

The most common place to find copper gutters is on homes with tile roofing.

If you plan on getting copper gutters, make sure it accents the look of your home. In some neighborhoods, they can look out of place and you might struggle to get approval from your HOA.

But in the right scenarios, nothing beats copper gutters.

Why Do Copper Gutters Turn Green?

Copper gutters turn green due to a mix of oxidation and exposure to sulfur.

Similar to how aluminum gutters will rust, copper gutters turn green and form a patina.

It’s normal for copper to turn green from long-term exposure to weather.

The blue-green patina is from the corrosive elements in our atmosphere such as sulfur. With the mix of water vapor, the sulfur creates an acid that reacts with the copper surface.

This forms the patina on the surface of your copper gutters.

How to Make Copper Gutters Shiny Again

It’s possible to remove the patina and reverse the effects of oxidation. But it is not easy.

The surface of the weathered copper will to get scrubbed with a vinegar and water solution.

To do so, grab a bucket and mix in equal parts flour, vinegar, and water. After mixing, a paste will form.

Apply the paste to your gutters making sure to use an even coat.

Then scrub the copper gutters with a brush until the tarnish gets removed.

Once the original copper color shines through, move onto the next section.

After completing this project, spray down the gutters with water to remove any debris.

Now to prevent any future oxidation, you can apply an antioxidant coating. Using several coats will make it last longer (2-3 coats is ideal).

Do Copper Gutters Last Longer than Aluminum Gutters?

Yes, copper gutters last longer than aluminum gutters. On average, aluminum gutters will last around 30 years before needing replacement. Copper gutters can last for 60 years or more.

Copper gutters are sturdier and can withstand more weight before bending or breaking. They are a great option if you want gutters that last for the long-haul.

The green patina that forms can actually protect your copper gutters from wear and tear. This will make them last a long time. Unlike aluminum gutters that will rust and fall apart.

When compared to vinyl gutters, that last 10-15 years, copper gutters can 4x longer (or more!).

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