Add Lasting Style To Your Home
Free Consultation For All Homeowners.
Copper Roofing Experts Over 20 Years Experience.
Fully Certified Fully Insured.
Full Coverage Warranty For Your Peace Of Mind.
How Long Does Copper Roofing Last?
Your copper roof could last up to 100 years with the proper care. It will provide a very distinct and memorable look and increase your curb appeal significantly.
Copper is a metal roofing system that has been commonly used for a very long time. Copper roof panels are chosen by local roofing contractors and homeowners because it is very durable, has the ability to resist corrosion and of course because of the aesthetic appeal that is so pleasing for many homeowners. Copper roofs have been around for many years and it dates back all the way to the 12th century and is still actively used today. With that being said, this shows the longevity of a copper roof. Copper roofs are one of the strongest materials on the market along with their high resistance to damage like scratches and blemishes. Copper sheets for roofing will increase a home’s energy efficiency by reflecting the sun’s UV rays rather than just absorbing them.
Why Do Copper Roofs Turn Green?
Copper is an active metal and when left exposed it reacts with the air and environment. Over time this process builds up a protective “patina”, which actually is a thin layer of corrosion. On steel, such corrosion can completely consume the metal. However, for copper it’s completely different. The oxidation layer forms a thin, stable coating. This coating protects the copper against any further degradation. Therefore, what is most interesting and remarkable is that copper corrosion is actually what makes it corrosion-resistant! When talking about moisture on the other hand, when copper is combined with airborne sulfur compounds it forms a protective copper sulfate coating. Once the compounds of copper and the sulfur are fully formed, the sulfate patina will significantly increase the copper’s sturdiness and the lifespan of any copper roofing and copper flashing by shielding it from atmospheric contaminants and corrosion.
The majority of the time, copper’s patina has an uneven appearance. Patina forms naturally on copper over time and this does not happen at a uniform rate. When professional roofing installers, install a copper roof at the same time as gutters and downspouts, they will not age at the same rate. Different levels of sun exposure, the angle of the copper roof installation along the amount of moisture can all cause differences in patina on a single roof. It’s better to allow the natural process of patina. If a homeowner decides to clean the copper to restore its original appearance, patina will eventually come back but commercial roofing contractors and roofing installers do not recommend attempting to halt the natural patina process. Some people decide to seal the material in order to preserve the shiny appearance of new copper. Commercial roofing contractors and roofing installers do not recommend this either, because the sealer will have to be reapplied and maintained again and again. Therefore unintentionally ending up with an uneven patina that diminishes the beauty of the roof.
How Long Does It Take A Copper Roof To Patina?
In order for copper patina to form, it greatly depends on the climate and environment. However if a copper material is located in an industrial area where there is a significant amount of fossil fuel burning increasing the quantity of sulfur dioxide with the air, therefore, patina would most likely form within just five to seven years. However, in rural areas, it may take twice that long. However if a copper roof is located in a dry climate, there would be a good chance that there would be insufficient moisture for the chemical conversion process to require a place, and a sulfate patina may never form.
Copper Roof Deterioration & Failure
Copper roofs are a very appealing roofing style, however just like any other roofing material, it will eventually fail. Patina may provide protection against corrosion, however copper copper is still vulnerable to be attacked by alkalis, some bituminous roofing cement and acid rain. If there is an excessive amount of moisture exposure to the copper with a lower PH level, there is a greater chance there will be damage to the copper.
Acid rain falls on many common roofing materials, such as tile, slate, asphalt, or wood shingles, generally is not neutralized, as it is when flowing over limestone or granite. Therefore, when this is collected and concentrated at your copper flashing or a gutter, it ends up deteriorating the copper, before the copper has any chance of developing a protective patina. If the leading edge of roof shingles rests directly on copper flashing, what ends up happening is a capillary action can provoke corrosion by retaining acidic moisture at the edge of the shingle. The resulting deterioration of the copper flashing is known as line corrosion. The solution is to raise the leading edge of the shingles using a cant strip to break the capillary action and reduce acidic moisture dwell time at the copper flashing.
Since copper is basically a soft metal, it is prone to damage. Here are some of the things that can cause some damages and lead to premature failure, dripping water, hail, rough sheathing cables and other abrasive forces wears away at the copper.
Copper Roof Restoration
When a copper roof installation is deteriorating it should be looked at by an experienced, professional roofing installer or commercial roofing contractor if it’s a commercial roof in order to determine whether the roof can be saved. However, if the roof is not able to be salvaged, the damaged areas would have to be removed and replaced with a completely new copper of the same temper and ounce weight. When a qualified roofing contractor replaces a portion of a patinated copper roof, the majority of the time it is necessary to treat the entire roof therefore allowing the roof to repatinate more uniformly. A diluted solution of phosphoric and nitric acids is applied to the copper and then neutralized with sodium bicarbonate and ammonium oxalate.
When the roof is properly designed, the sealants are generally unnecessary on copper roofs. The reason is because the lifespan of a copper roof is a lot longer compared to most sealants. If a roofing contractor decided to use sealant on a copper roof, a routine inspection is very important. What also has to happen is that the copper roof needs to be maintained and replaced, adding substantially to maintenance demands to keep its look. However, when having a low-slope flat seam roof, solder should be used rather than sealant. For rehabilitation application purposes, any local roofing contractor would prefer to open the seam, then remove the existing solder, and re-form and solder the joint. However solder is not the solution to every copper repair problem.
What are the different types of copper roofs?
Continuous Copper Roofing
Continuous copper roofing is considered to be a specialty application and it is designed and fabricated for an exact job. The way that the continuous copper works is that the sheets of copper are laid out on a roofing substrate where it gets assembled in one piece without joints or seams. Besides a copper flashing, continuous copper roofing is actually one of the most expensive, and thus, least common options.
On the other hand, copper roofing panels compared to continuous sheets are far less expensive. Copper panels have a sectional sheet that comes in a standard width and is hand installed with noticeable seams. Commonly, the roofing seams are secured by a process that is called standing seam copper roofing. This is different compared to other roofing seams because the others are brazed or welded onsite.
Copper Roofing Shingles
Copper roofing shingles are one of most commonly used roofing material because of its lower cost. Compared to its counterparts continuous copper roofing and copper panels, copper shingles, they are hand-applied just like ordinary shingle roofing products. However, copper in general has a soft surface, therefore, when installing there has to be a lot of care because it will most likely damage. With installing copper roofing shingles, copper fasteners are required in order to prevent metallurgical reactions that would occur when other metal products are in contact with the copper roofing.
How Long Does It Take A Copper Roof To Patina?
When copper is exposed to moisture after a lengthy time frame the copper’s color goes to green and turquoise. Without stimulating the patina process, in a dry climate it takes patina to develop in 20 years or more. However, it is possible for someone to accelerate the old copper roof appearance using an artificial aging solution. When homeowners request a contractor to accelerate their copper, the roofer is using a concoction of mild acids and other chemicals. When these chemicals and acids are used it dramatically ages the copper in a short time period, usually a day or two once applied. One thing about this method is that it can be applied before or after the copper roof installation, however it is recommended that a skilled and experienced roofing contractor do the application. The roofing contractor can immediately replicate the appearance of a copper roof with decades of exposure.
The Benefits Of Copper Roofing
Copper roofing is one of the most beneficial roofing materials compared to asphalt and slate. Regular care and maintenance is a big help to ensure the long life expectancy of copper roofing. If the copper roof is well maintained it can easily exceed its standard life expectancy by up to fifty years. Along with being beneficial and having a life expectancy of fifty years, copper roofing is able to be resistant to the elements. Thereby, copper roofing would be less likely to be affected by rainfall, hail and mildew, and it’s one of the most fireproof materials available. Another thing is that it is highly resistant to thermal changes, therefore, the copper would not deteriorate as quickly.
Many commercial roofing contractors are continuously looking for more energy efficient and environmentally friendly ways of sustaining the life of a roof. However, copper roofing is one of the most widely used roofs in recent years. Because metal reflects heat rather than absorb it, copper roofs make it easier to control the cost of heating and cooling of the homeowners property. Copper can be recycled, therefore, copper is highly recommended as a way to reduce your environmental footprint. It is also a very lightweight material which makes it quick and easy to install. Along with being lightweight, the copper roof is flexible, with that flexibility of the copper it makes it easier for the contractors to install whether it’s an uneven or irregular roof shape.
The construction of copper roofing typically uses 16 oz or 20 oz of cold rolled copper sheets. These copper sheets can be either preformed or formed in the field into pans. With the pans that are about 20 feet are considered to be short pans. With that the pans that are up to 10 feet long have to be designed to accommodate additional movement at the end of the pans.
Preparation for copper roofing systems is quite similar to many other roofing types. A professional copper roofing contractor will ensure that the decking is dry, smooth and free of any projecting screws or other imperfections. The entire surface that is being applied should be covered with an underlayment that is fit for a copper roof, and it should be secured with copper nails and washers. The purpose of the underlayment for any roofing system is to act as a cushion and provide a temporary weather protection for the roof deck.
In copper roofing it is particularly important for a copper roofing contractor to apply a sheet of building paper over the felt. The reason for this is because the copper naturally conducts heat, if the temperature elevates it can cause the asphalt in the underlayment to bond the copper to the roof deck. If this happens this can inhibit the movement of the copper roof and result in a premature fatigue within the roof. Therefore, the purpose of the building paper acting as a slip sheet is to prevent this bonding.
Standing Seam Copper Roofing
Standing seam copper roofing holds a great reputation when it comes to shedding rain and snow. It’s an excellent roofing material for when it comes to wetter and colder climates. With traditional roofing shingles they can resist the water from rain or melted snow, still the roofing shingles will not necessarily shed snow as easily. Roofing shingles may be able to shed snow when snow has fallen, but metal rooftops won’t frequently allow snow to collect in the first place.
Standing seam copper roofing material is nearly consistent in the terms of material composition. There are however, different forms of copper roofing that should be noticed. For instance there is a snap-lock standing seam copper roofing that is popular, as well as it is one of the most popular forms of copper roofing that appears in most locations. The purpose of snap-lock panels is so that they interlock with one another. Therefore this prevents a need for external fasteners, allowing roofing materials to be locked together into a single roof sufficient panel. With this, it makes it easy to install, mainly within a large area, however it is less suitable for irregular rooftops.
However, when we look at mechanical-lock copper roofing it’s a little more complex when compared to snap lock standing seam copper roofing. This roof material requires additional tools to lock panels. Mechanical-lock roof materials require the use of additional tools to lock panels together. A downfall is that it makes it unfitting for steeply sloped rooftops, but it allows them to interlock more tightly than snap-lock standing seam copper roofs. With the tighter grip it provides a thorough weather protection. This can make it a better choice when roofing installers are available for it and the basic roof profile is suitable.
Installing A Copper Bay Window Roof
Before a copper bay window roof is installed, the window has to be measured. An accurate measurement is required so that the panels can be properly made to size and therefore making the window panels true standing seam copper roof panels to match the rest of the roof. Before the copper roof is laid, a copper roofing contractor puts down a high-temperature ice guard. The ice-guard would cover 100 percent of the roof deck. When applying siding to the property, if a homeowner is looking into a brick home, what would happen is that copper flashing would be added as a joint. With vinyl siding, the siding will come down over the top of the copper giving it a watertight seal.
The longevity on this roof could be anywhere between 70-90 years. After about 6-months, the weather will turn the roof a bronze color. After about 10-15 years, it will turn into a patina green as mentioned before. Copper roofs are constantly weathering and changing as time progresses.
Is Copper Flashing Worth The Expense?
Copper roof flashing has surpassed aluminum and steel flashing as a metal flashing material because of the life expectancy and the way it adds a custom look to a roofline. Typically, copper roofing installers install copper flashing in valleys, around dormers, skylights and chimneys. Copper roofing installers will even install in high-drainage areas of the roofline to add an extra protection. Copper roofing materials are able to last up to 100 years.
Copper flashing is normally used in conjunction with other copper roofing materials, such as copper roofing shingles and gutters. However, it can also be used with many other roofing materials. Over time copper flashing, just as copper roofing, it will change colors. It will go from bright and shiny to dark greenish because of the patina.
When copper flashing is installed properly it can outlast the majority of roofing materials. Only a trained copper roofing installer should install copper flashing, simply because an untrained local roofing company can install it improperly, shortening its lifespan significantly. Copper flashing is installed much the same as the other metal flashing products and in similar places. Typically, copper roof flashing must be installed wherever two different surfaces meet, or at penetration in the roof.