Copper is a roofing material that has been used for a very long time. Like any technology, sheet metal made of this metal has both its advantages and disadvantages, so nothing you decide to roof replacement, you should know both sides of the coin. Only after proper factual preparation will your decision be an informed one. In this case, is copper roof worth it?
Pros of Copper Roofs
At the outset, let’s look at the advantages of copper:
Basically, one of the biggest advantages of copper roofs is their total resistance to corrosion. Unlike aluminum and galvanized steel, no rust or snow will appear on your roof even many years after installation. Of course, copper sheeting will cover itself with patina, one this phenomenon does not affect the durability of your roof in any way.
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In addition to its resistance to corrosion, copper sheet is also characterized by its overall durability – in most cases, the pressure of snow, hailstorms and UV rays do not cause any problems. The natural resistance also means that copper roofs do not require waterproofing or painting.
Copper roofs are also very safe – unlike asphalt shingles, the sheathing is completely non-combustible. In addition, the sheet metal can be quite thin which makes the weight of the entire structure relatively low – another key advantage. We should also add that no harmful chemicals are released during the processing and operation of metal roofs.
Although tastes are a debatable thing and there is no roof that appeals to everyone, many projects using copper, especially in combination with slate, are colossally impressive. Copper roofs are often installed on expensive and very grand houses, which further enhances the aesthetic value of the projects. The social aspect is also not insignificant – people are aware that copper is one of the most expensive roofing materials, which necessarily makes them perceive houses covered with it better.
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Cons of Copper Roofs
Unfortunately, nothing is perfect. Also, this magnificent and noble material has some disadvantages that you must take into account.
The material we are discussing is not cheap – installation costs often exceed $100,000, and the price differences between copper and slate or asphalt shingles are really pronounced. For this reason, many homeowners do not choose to cover their roof with only sheet metal – it is used, for example, to make flashings or other decorative elements. We have to admit that in combination with natural or synthetic slate, copper looks great!
Poor Sound Insulation Properties
Although few people pay attention to it, it is important to be aware that metal roofs as a rule are much louder than those made of cedar or asphalt shingles. Although copper dampens sound much better than, for example, stainless steel and aluminum. This property is very important if the attic in your house is to be used as living space – you have to reckon with a distinctive sound when it rains, and inferior sound attenuation in the local street.
This problem can be partially solved – a good quality underlayment has soundproofing properties, and if you decide to install an additional layer of mineral wool insulation, the underlayment will be even quieter. You just have to expect additional costs.
Inferior Heat Insulation Properties
Copper is an excellent conductor of electricity and heat. In many cases this is a huge advantage, but when we are talking about roofing, the situation becomes more complicated. The more heat your roof lets through, the more you will come to spend on heating and cooling your home – physics is inexorable. In addition to the cost itself, you have to reckon with less thermal stability, because the whole building will cool down and heat up quickly, and such a phenomenon is not very comfortable for the residents.
Of course, there are many solutions to this problem. For example, the use of insulating membranes can reduce heat loss by up to 50%, and when combined with mineral wool or PUR foam, we can expect up to 70% lower energy consumption. As with sound insulation, this problem can in principle be eliminated – it’s just that it’s more costly than other materials, such as asphalt or cedar.
Is it Worth Choosing Copper Roof?
Generally speaking: yes, if you are able to afford the costs involved. The initial investment cost for this type of roof is very high, but in return, maintenance and operation are essentially trouble-free and extremely inexpensive. If you are looking for a roof that will last 50, 70 or even 100 years, copper is the material you are looking for.
Contrary to appearances, copper also provides quite a lot of opportunities for personalization. Of course, sheet metal always looks practically the same, but there are many ways to form the connections and many decorations. As we have already mentioned, many homeowners choose to use two different materials in such a way that copper is found only on lintels, ridges or on flashings. The possibilities are indeed many, and a talented designer will easily find an aesthetic solution to suit your needs and requirements.