How to Install a Copper Roof

What You'll Need
Plywood decking
Brass or copper nails
Roofing Hammer
16 oz. Copper roofing sheets
Slip sheet membrane
Crimping Tools
Metal cutting shears

A copper roof is time consuming to install. Most skilled roofers should be able to install a copper roof in about twice as much time as it takes to install standard asphalt shingles. It depends on how many dips, rises and valleys that you have on your roof. The plainer the roof, the easier the copper shingles will be to install. A copper roof, when properly installed, has a lifetime of about 75 years. Here is what you will need in order to complete this project.

Step 1: Apply Decking

Ensure that the plywood decking on the roof is in great condition. The copper roofing shingles last a long time. You don't want to worry about replacing rotted or weak plywood at a later time. The time and expense of replacing it now outweighs the time and expense that you will incur if you need to do it later. Sometimes replacing all of the decking is the way to go.

Step 2: Asphalt Weather Protection

Use asphalt roofing paper to help prepare a protective waterproof barrier between the shingles and the plywood. This will keep your decking from coming in contact with water, which can rot your roof over time.

Step 3: Slip Sheet Protection

Apply a slip sheet membrane. It does three things: it's a second precaution against weather proofing, it collects the condensation that develops on the backside of the copper and it provides a barrier between the asphalt paper and the copper shingles. If the copper and the asphalt were allowed to come into contact, the condensation that occurs on the backside of the copper would have a chemical reaction with the asphalt. The chemical reaction would form sulfuric acid and would corrode the roof.

Step 4: Apply the Copper Sheeting

Lay out your copper sheeting. You will need to align the male and female seams so that they interlock. Once the first one is set in place, use the copper nails to secure it. Then connect the next piece. As you go along you will need to crimp the seams together. A standard seam requires a double crimping process. The first crimp attaches the two pieces together and the second crimp folds over the seam a second time, for premium weather protection.

Step 5: Finishing the Edges

At the roof edge you will leave enough copper to overlap the roof by about two inches. Then you will fold the copper under and around the lip of the roof. Next you will use your crimping tool to finish off the edge of the shingle. By finishing the edge you get rid of sharp edges and complete the look of the roof.

With time and attention to detail you will have a copper roof that will last for decades to come.