There are several types of downspout straps that we can use to fasten the downspouts to the wall, ranging from minimalist wraparound straps to elaborate, custom made decorative brackets. The type of strap you choose should be proportionate to the budget and proportionate to the architectural style of the home. Depending on the project, the strap may be chosen based on it’s historic accuracy.
There are a few things for both homeowners and installers to keep in mind regarding the types of straps / brackets that are chosen:
- Budget – Let’s face it, copper gutters and downspouts are not cheap. There are things we can do to keep costs lower, including the use of a more basic downspout strap. A basic wraparound 1.25″ width wraparound strap sheared from copper flat stock will function well and let the aesthetics of the actual downspout speak for itself. Large, elaborate hand-fabricated brackets that fit around the outside of the downspout can cost $100 or more and a relatively small home could easily require 20 straps.
- Aesthetics – Choose a downspout bracket that fits the aesthetic of the project. A large elaborate bracket on a smaller structure can sometimes gaudy and out-of-place. An inconspicuous bracket will often work with the full gamut of architectural styles. Out of site, out of mind, so to speak.
- Copper Rack, Key, and Drive brackets are a very clean looking option that can last for a very, very long time. Many of the 100 year old downspouts that we remove are solidly fastened to the wall using a rack, key, and drive system. There are different types of drives for different types of walls you are fastening to. The drive is inserted into the wall, the rack is fastened with #44 pop rivets or zip screws to the back of the downspouts, and once the downspouts is in place on the wall the key is inserted to hold the downspout in place. The key acts like a wedge between the rack and key to lock everything together. You cannot see this fastener from the front of the downspout, so it does provide a clean look. The system projects the downspouts away from the wall about a half inch, which is something to keep in mind.
- Ornamental Copper Brackets can range from machined copper pipe bands in the $3 range (not a huge fan of the way these look on round downspouts), to handmade ornamental soldered copper brackets in the $100 range. As a very basic rule of thumb, I like to save the larger brackets for larger homes (think “Castle Revival,” if there is such a thing). If the installer isn’t able to fabricate the brackets in house, the owner or owner’s rep, or the installer, can hire a sheet metal shop to fabricate these. Designs can be found online or mimic existing brackets on a remodel job