Copper Lining

We planned to start at the ends of the trough and work toward the middle, running two full-length pieces on each side, with two 44-inch lengths in the middle of the 39-foot gutter, where we would also create an expansion joint. To make all of the necessary bends, hems, and cuts, we used a Tapco Port-o-Bender Pro 2 brake and a cut-off wheel.

Each panel was formed with a trough in the middle and an upper and lower leg. On the 6-inch-long roof-side leg, we formed a 1/2-inch upturned hem that would receive the copper cleats that hold the panel in place. It’s important to gap this hem a little less than 1/8 inch to allow for movement when the copper expands and contracts. On the 4-inch-long crown-side leg, we made a 1/2-inch down-turned hem.

Prior to installing copper liner, we ran a continuous copper drip-edge along the top of the crown molding. Starting at one end of the gutter, we fit the panel in the plywood trough and then crimped the crown-side edge over the drip strip with an offset hand seamer tool. Once this was done, we fastened the roof-side hem off with the cleats, securing the 1 1/2-inch-wide copper cleats 24 inches on-center with 1 1/2-inch-long copper nails.

We overlapped the next liner panel by 3 inches, then soldered the seam (see Soldering Seams).

Without an expansion joint on a gutter this long, the solder joints would likely fail (the 20-foot run has the potential to expand approximately 1/4 inch, moving from the fixed end point toward the center). We began it by soldering a vertical “dam” in the trough. With the dam in place, we switched sides and fitted the three panels (two full-length panels and one 44-inch piece) at the other end.

We left a gap of a couple of inches between the two 44-inch-long panels. To receive the expansion-joint cap, we bent a 1-inch hem on the ends of the legs running up the roof and at the crown cap. Also, we bent on the top edge of dams 90° with an offset hand seamer.

We installed the cap in two pieces, bending its hemmed edges over the hemmed edges in the panels…

…then soldering only the horizontal seam between the piece running up the roof and the one covering the trough. The unsoldered hemmed edges would act as slip joints as the gutter expanded and contracted.

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