Copper roofs have been around for centuries all over the world. They’ve adorned some of the world’s finest buildings and over the years, copper turns a wonderful shade of green to give a verdigris finish. Copper roofs are eye-catching but you don’t often see them on houses unless they’re on older buildings constructed a long time ago. As a roofing material for modern houses, they’re simply out of the financial range of most of the population which is a shame since they endure very well and are far more lightweight that most roofing materials.
Types of Copper Roof
There are 3 different types of copper roofing. You can buy a continuous covering of copper that’s pre-measured to the size of a roof. Alternatively, there are copper panels that are riveted together or you could choose to use copper shingles.
Asphalt shingles, the most common and cheapest form of house roofing, needs to be re-covered every few years with a periodic tear-off that includes replacing the plywood and tarpaper, while copper roofing lasts for much longer.
The chances are that a copper roof will actually outlast your house. It can be extremely tough and durable, especially for its weight. This gives a copper roof extra value. If a house eventually has to be demolished, you can sell the copper roof to a salvage company who will remove and recycle it. However, copper shingles, which consist of a copper coating over asphalt shingles, have a more limited life of 30 to 40 years. The copper itself can also be recycled.
A copper roof is notoriously expensive and rates as the most expensive roofing material you can buy. Normal asphalt shingles cost, on average, $1 per square foot. If you decide to buy copper shingles, you should expect to pay about $4 per square foot although the cost will vary with the world price of copper.
Even this is cheap when compared to a solid copper roof that’s pre-measured and cut. This will cost you around $15 per square foot which is far beyond the reach of most people. You can buy used materials but even these will be at least double the cost of asphalt shingles.
Bear in mind that this just covers the cost of the materials. Few roofers have the specialist skills and equipment necessary to install a copper roof properly, especially the continuous coverage type. This means the cost of putting on a copper roof will be much higher than for an asphalt or plastic roof.
If you put a copper roof on a house when it’s built then over the entire lifetime of the house, copper can prove to be the cheapest option since it will never need to be replaced. Unfortunately, most people aren’t able to take that type of long term commitment since they may eventually sell the house and won’t receive the full benefits of the copper roof.
That said, a copper roof is a good selling point for a house because of its properties and appearance and will add to the home’s resale value. It’s doubtful that the added value would be enough to cover the cost of the copper roof, however.