Replace Now or Wait? The Case for Replacing Metal Downspouts Before Thieves Do...

Replace Now or Wait? The Case for Replacing Metal Downspouts Before Thieves Do...

As a building manager or owner, safeguarding your property against potential risks is paramount. One often overlooked vulnerability is the theft of metal downspouts, which not only poses a financial loss but can also cause significant damage to your property. This blog post explores the pros and cons of proactively replacing metal downspouts with more secure materials, like plastic, before thieves strike.

Pros of Proactive Replacement

  1. Controlled Removal Reduces Damage: By choosing to replace metal downspouts proactively, you ensure that the removal is done carefully and professionally. This controlled approach prevents the damage typically caused by thieves, who are more likely to rip out the downspouts carelessly, damaging the building's exterior and potentially compromising its structural integrity.
  2. Recapture the Recycling Value: Metal downspouts have significant recycle value, which is precisely why they are targeted for theft. By proactively replacing them, you can recycle the metal yourself, recovering some of the costs and depriving potential thieves of their illicit gains.
  3. Enhanced Security and Peace of Mind: Replacing metal downspouts with theft-resistant materials like plastic can significantly lower the risk of theft. This change not only secures your property but also offers peace of mind, knowing that you are less likely to deal with the disruptions and expenses that follow a theft.
  4. Reduced Long-term Maintenance Costs: Plastic downspouts typically require less maintenance than metal ones, which may corrode or require repainting over time. By switching to plastic, you reduce ongoing maintenance costs and the need for future replacements due to damage or theft.

Cons of Proactive Replacement

  1. Upfront Costs: The initial cost of replacing existing downspouts can be significant, especially for large buildings or complexes. This upfront investment may be a deterrent, particularly if the current downspouts are still in good condition.
  2. Perceived Need vs. Actual Risk: Depending on the location and security of your property, the risk of downspout theft may actually be low. Replacing functional downspouts might seem unnecessary if theft has never been an issue in your area.
  3. Environmental Impact: While recycling metal downspouts is beneficial, the process of manufacturing new downspouts, whether metal or plastic, has an environmental impact. This factor needs consideration, especially if sustainability is a priority for your management practices.


Deciding whether to proactively replace metal downspouts hinges on weighing the potential risks against the immediate costs and impacts. For properties in areas prone to metal theft, the benefits of replacing metal downspouts with a more secure material likely outweigh the cons. Not only does this approach mitigate the risk of theft and associated damages, but it also aligns with proactive property management strategies that prioritize long-term savings and security.

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