So what’s so good about this roofing option?
- Life Span: Copper oxidizes to form a highly tough/durable roofing product. Because copper oxides are so durable, the erosion rate is very low, often >4mm over 200 years (in rural areas). If this sounds dubious, check out the St Mary’s Cathedral in Hildesheim – the copper roof is dated at 1280 AD and is still functioning today!
- No Maintenance: Copper usually doesn’t require any cleaning or maintenance, as such it is very useful when roofing large areas, or spaces that may be difficult to get to do maintenance.
- Lightweight: Up to a quarter of the weight of roofing tiles when used over the same roofing area.
- Fire Resistant.
- Design Uses: Depending of whether a finish is applied or if an alloy is used, a copper roof can have numerous possible appearances; anywhere from rustic brown to a green patina. However, those who prefer the green patina look may have to wait a while after installation for it to appear so, as it is the result of the copper oxidising with the air.
- Anti-microbial. This means you will not be having to try scrape or kill off the moulds that can commonly accumulate on other roofing types e.g. lichen
- Eco Friendly: most copper used in roofing has been at least partially recycled! This recyclable potential combined with its longevity gives copper roofing a eco-friendly image.
What types of products are available?
There are 3 main ways in which copper can be used in roofing- sheet, tile or panels, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
- Copper Sheets are pre-cut off site. While this can be seen as time-saving, it can be fairly expensive to transport, etc.
- Panels are the compromise between sheet and tile. Like Sheets, they are favoured by architects for design aesthetic, as the appearance is ultimately the same or very similar.
- Tiles: Tiles are seen as a more traditional form of copper roofing, and are often preferred for their light weight, as opposed to alternate tiling products.
It all sounds too good to be true- what’s the catch?
Unfortunately there is one major drawback to copper roofing- its cost! US estimates lie at about 15 USD a square foot, while asphalt tiles can be as low as 1 USD per square foot. This makes copper roofing products a big investment to make, however a copper roof will long outlast any other roofing product, making it highly cost-effective long-term.
To make a copper roof last, installation is key. As such, you want experienced tradespeople on the job who have the training and knowledge to implement your roofing to the highest quality. There is no substitute for experience.
Before employing a copper roofer ask for testimonials and examples of previous workmanship. You can’t be to cautious. With such a significant investment it pays to do your research.