A Roofing Material That is Truly Elemental

Living near the Pacific coast, while highly desirable, presents a unique set of environmental challenges for houses and other man-made structures.

Coastal homes face a relentless assault from the elements, including salt-laden air, fog, storms, and rainfall, creating a situation that tests the resilience of every architectural component.

coastal home in monterey county california

In this dynamic climate, the importance of using the right roofing material and gutters should not be underestimated.

Aside from their aesthetic qualities, roofs and gutter systems function as the first line of defense against harsh elements, protecting your home’s structure and foundation.

How Do Roofing Materials and Gutters Protect Your Coastal Home?

The primary function of rain gutters is to protect a house from water damage in adverse weather conditions. Gutters are designed to capture rainwater and direct it away from the house. This prevents water from pooling around the foundation, which could lead to erosion, basement flooding, or foundation damage.

With that in mind, consider the impact over time of constant exposure to the elements, along with normal wear and tear. Quite often, these effects aren’t even discovered until long after the damage has been done.

A good roofing and gutter system, when properly installed, will guard against these threats. But for how long will depend on the quality of materials, as well as the design and installation.

copper gutter system installed on coastal home in monterey california

Corrosion and Errosion In Coastal Environments

While it doesn’t get much better than living in places like Monterey or Carmel by the Sea, the corrosion problem in these coastal communities is real. Typical rain gutters, facing the constant barrage of salty air, can start showing signs of wear a lot faster than most people realize.

You are most likely to notice this when a storm hits and leakage becomes noticeable. If left unchecked, the continued exposure to wind and rain will further weaken the structural integrity of your home. But it doesn’t end there.

Standard gutters, designed for more typical inland weather, can struggle to cope with the deluge from coastal storms. They clog up, overflow, and, before you know it, you’ve got water pooling around your home.

What starts out as a mere inconvenience can soon develop into serious damage.

What Types of Roofing Metal Will Corrode

The types of metal roofing materials that are most susceptible to corrosion include most ferrous metals, such as plain steel and iron. These metals are prone to rust when exposed to moisture, especially in corrosive environments like coastal areas where salt-laden air accelerates the corrosion process.

Galvanized steel, while coated with a layer of zinc for added protection, can still be vulnerable over time, particularly if the zinc coating wears off. Additionally, aluminum, while generally considered corrosion-resistant, can still experience corrosion in coastal environments due to the aggressive nature of salt air.

What Makes Copper the Best Choice For Coastal Homes?

In short, copper is what’s called a noble metal. This is any type of metal that does not easily corrode or degrade due to a chemical reaction or contact with acids.

Just for comparison, this group of metals would also include gold, silver and platinum. But, outside of Abu Dhabi, when was the last time you saw anyone with a gold roof? Of these noble metals, copper is also clearly the most cost-effective.

copper leader head with aged patina coat for gutter system installed on monterey california home

While regular metal or steel gutters struggle to resist corrosion from salty coastal air, copper gutters actually thrive in this environment, performing just as well no matter how close you are to the ocean.

Copper’s durability and resilience make it the perfect choice for gutters, downspouts, leaderheads, shrouds, rain chains, or just about any other roofing component of your coastal home.

Not only will copper provide long-term protection but also delivers a lasting aesthetic quality. Over time the shiny copper-colored surface will transform into a lovely and protective brownish-green patina as it reacts to the outside air around it.


Although the cost of copper roofing materials and gutters may be a bit higher, it is the clear winner for roofing and gutter materials on coastal homes, maximizing your property’s value for years to come.

The ability of copper to resist corrosion helps protect against the damaging effects of salty air, ensures that it remains durable and long lasting no matter what the weather conditions may be.

The graceful aging process of copper adds a timeless charm to homes, enhancing their aesthetic appeal and beauty as the years go by.

Copper’s low-maintenance nature eases the financial burden on homeowners by providing a solution that requires minimal upkeep.

Aside from all these benefits, copper is the best choice for sustainable building practices as it can be fully recycled and is environmentally friendly.

Choosing copper for roofing and gutters for coastal homes is a single solution that combines strength, durability, aesthetic appeal and environmental responsibility. It is protection for your home that will last for years, if not generations.

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