The initial cost of installing copper is substantially greater than aluminum. However, a properly installed copper gutter or roof should last at least 70 years. The cathedral at Hildeshein, Germany was roofed with copper in 1230. It remained in good working order until destroyed by Allied bombings in World War II. That is over 700 years of service.
Of all the metals only copper and gold contain natural color. Over the years, and in fact over decades; copper turns from bright copper to brown, bronze, and eventually forms a uniform green patina.
Copper is very easy to form. Other metals with comparable or near comparable longevity to copper have some drawbacks in this area. Zinc will fracture if formed in temperature below 45 degrees F. Stainless Steel is a very hard metal, and although it has a long life span, has a very sterile appearance.
Few metals have the corrosion resistance of copper. In Urban Coastal environments (one of the most severe environments), only titanium, 316 Stainless Steel, and Monel (Nickel Copper) have higher comparable rates. Titanium, to date, is very expensive. 316 Stainless Steel is difficult to form. Monel is not cost effective for the additional corrosion resistance.
- Copper has been in use for about 8,000 years.
- Copper is the third most used metal in construction after steel and aluminum.
- Copper has superior durability, malleability, and corrosion resistance.
- Copper is the only metal, other than gold, that naturally possesses color.
- Copper has a specific gravity of 8.96, making it more dense than iron (7.87).
- Only silver has higher electrical conductivity amongst metals.
- Copper has the highest recycling rate of any engineered material.
- Copper is eco-toxic and is often used on boat hulls and cedar roofs to kill algae.
- All animals need copper in their systems to survive.
- A copper nail can kill a tree.
- Copper is not toxic to humans and animals.