How to Repair Damaged Copper Gutters
Copper gutters carry water away from the edge of a roof. Water runs down the roof, into the gutter then the downspout. A downspout, angled from the base of the house, moves the water away from the foundation of the house to prevent the water from entering. Copper gutters begin as a bright and shiny reddish color, and over time, they age. Copper gutters develop a green color, known as a patina. Homeowners install copper gutters for both durability and beauty. Copper will outlast other types of metal gutters but are not impervious to damage.
Climb a ladder to gain access to the gutter.
Use a wire brush to remove any dirt and debris from the area around the hole on the inside of the gutter.
Cut a piece of copper sheet with metal snips 2 inches larger than the hole. Rub the surface of the damaged area and the patch with an emery cloth until the copper is bright and shiny.
Fit the patch over the hole. Tap the copper sheet patch with a mallet to make it conform to the inside shape of the gutter.
Clamp the patch in place with spring clamps. Drill pilot holes 1 inch apart around the entire perimeter of the patch.
Load a pop-rivet gun with copper rivets. Align the rivet to a pilot hole and squeeze the handle of the pop-rivet gun to deploy the rivet through the hole and secure the patch in place tightly. Do this for the other pilot holes you drilled.
Brush flux over the outer edge of the patch, coating the entire edge generously. Paint flux under the edge of the patch onto the existing gutter.
Position the solder at the edge of the patch and touch it with a hot soldering iron. Move the solder around the edge of the patch and continue to touch it with the hot soldering iron until you have a silver border around the entire edge of the patch. Capillary action will pull the solder between the patch and existing gutter to form a tight seal.
- "Working With Metal"; Time Life Editors; 1981
- "Reader's Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual"; Family Handyman Magazine Editors; 2005
- If you have experience with a torch, insert a fireproof blanket between the gutter and the house to cover a section of the roof. Light a propane torch and move the flame over the edge of the patch until the copper turns a bright red color. Keep the torch moving, while heating the copper, to avoid damaging the patch or gutter. Turn the torch off. Touch silver solder to the edge of the patch. Move the silver solder around the patch to run a full bead of solder. Capillary action will allow the solder to move around the copper patch, but you will still need to move the solder around to ensure a tight seal.
- Wear heat-resistant gloves when soldering.
Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.